Teaching patents and design novelty to engineering students: A narrative case study based approach

Daniel Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Teaching Design to Engineering students is challenging, especially inventive Design where the novelty requirements of the patent process of new, useful and nonobvious contributions over the prior art are a statutory requirement for receiving a patent. Complicating this process is that while most students have had an exposure to the fundamentals of scientific theory and method in laboratory practice, they have not been exposed to the rigors of a research-based, designerly form of problem framing and solving in creative practice. Inventive problem solving relies heavily on the interplay of designerly methods of inquiry arising from the foundational disciplines and methods of technology, with the additional requirements of discovery and novelty. This paper proposes a teaching methodology for introducing students to this designerly practice of design and invention through the use of case study presentation and studio experiences. The combined lecture and studio experience around a well-known case example, allows participants to learn the lessons of the patent regimen in an immersive experience. The studio experience builds on the narrative of the inventive history of Barbed Wire, and participants are challenged as teams to strategically address the design challenge in a novel and inventive new knowledge space, what I have referred to in my teaching and practice, as the technical "white space".

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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