This paper presents a new crowdsourcing approach to the construction of patent clusters, and systematically benchmarks it against previous expert and algorithmic approaches. Patent databases should be rich sources of inspiration which could lead engineering designers to novel solutions for creative problems. However, the sheer volume and complexity of patent information means that this potential is rarely realised. Rather than the keyword driven searches common in commercial systems, designers need tools that help them to understand patents in the context of the problem they are considering. This paper presents an approach to address this problem by using crowd intelligence for effective generation of patent clusters at lower cost and with greater rationale. A systematic study was carried out to compare the crowd’s efficiency with both expert and algorithmic patent clusters, with the results indicating that the crowd was able to create 80% more patent pairs with appropriate rationale.
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