The feature interaction problem in telecommunications systems increasingly ob-structs the evolution of such systems. We develop formal detection criteria whichrender a necessary (but less than sufficient) condition for feature interactions. It can be checked mechanically and points out all potentially critical spots. Thesehave to be analysed manually. The resulting resolution decisions are incorporatedformally. Some prototype tool support is already available. A prerequisite forformal criteria is a formal definition of the problem. Since the notions of featureand feature interaction are often used in a rather fuzzy way, we attempt a formaldefinition first and discuss which aspects can be included in a formalization (andtherefore in a detection method). This paper describes ongoing work.