National patent offices require patent drawings in a very specific format. The “parts” of an invention must typically be numbered consistently, and always indicated with a solid line from each part number to the part.
I have found many applications can be represented well as SysML Parts Property symbols, and with convenient correct propagation of part numbers across diagrams (Single Source of Truth).
I have been re-appropriating Comment for this using the following diagramming “hack" in the MagicDraw/Cameo tool:
- Use the Documentation field of a Part Property to hold each unique part number.
- Use the Retrieve Documentation feature to display that part number in a Comment symbol (which is stereotyped «Documentation»).
- The HACK: hide the border of the Comment by making it white against white background, and also hide the stereotype.
But then you have to use an external image editing tool to tediously make the dashed lines all solid to meet the patent office's requirements.
Note that UML2.5.1 states:
'The connection to each annotatedElement is shown by a separate dashed line.’
A refinement of this proposal might involve creating a special new dedicated SysML element to achieve this, with a dedicated attribute for carrying the numbering.
It is beyond the scope of this initial proposal to specify how the capability might be achieved.
The proposal is not limited to numbering and indicating SysML Part Properties typed by Blocks, it could be applied to other Element kinds, but Part Properties lend themselves immediately to the purpose.
This proposal does not yet elaborate on how the numbering sequence might be handled (largely a tool feature matter).
The section '7 Model Elements' is a candidate for specification of the new proposed element.
[Diagrams illustrating the required result will be provided via JIRA once the proposal issue ticket is raised]
Reference: IP Australia: Best Practice Guide: Appendix: Examples of Drawings: https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/sites/g/files/net856/f/best_practice_guide_appendix_iv.pdf