Release 8.4

19 April 2022 by Aaron Ballagh in Release Notes

Release 8.4
Updated Professional Workspaces, Trial Accounts, Scholarly data improvements, improved Term Date Calculations for patents and more!

New Features and Improvements

Professional Workspaces

The Lens provides all registered users a Personal Account with a Professional Workspace, providing access to tools and features on the platform, and built on open shareable metadata to support many use cases and use-types across industry and the research and innovation sectors.

With this release, we are requiring registered users to re-confirm the category of their use of The Lens (i.e. commercial / non-commercial) for compliance with The Lens Terms of Use. The Lens requires that users who are using the platform for commercial purposes obtain a license through a commercial use agreement. Doing so will ensure that your use is in compliance with the terms of use and helps maintain the sustainability of the platform. Users who are using the platform for commercial purposes will now have a 2-week window to take up a commercial use license or their work area will be disabled.

The use-type categories and definitions are:

  • Non-commercial use: Non-commercial use: For students or staff affiliated with a public-good | non-profit institution or using The Lens for non-commercial purposes. This includes any user affiliated with a non-profit or legal entity that is incorporated primarily for public-good and not for private benefit. This includes legally incorporated entities whose principal purpose is stated as advancing the public-good; for instance government agencies and organisations (including public libraries and schools), research and teaching institutions, philanthropic foundations, etc.
  • Commercial use: For professional users using, or planning to use, The Lens platform or metadata for commercial purposes or in the course of their employment for a business. If you use The Lens in the course of your work for a for-profit entity, or providing services to a for-profit entity, we define this as Commercial Use. Individual users who currently use or plan to use The Lens platform or metadata for commercial purposes must have a commercial use license to do so. N.B. Commercial users that do not subscribe to a commercial use license within 14 days of confirming their use-type will have the work area disabled and will not be able to access it again until they subscribe.

The use-type category is also now required when registering for an account, with an additional option for users to register for a Trial account. Trial accounts allow users to evaluate the professional workspace and will remain active for 2 weeks, after which time the work area will be disabled unless a commercial use license is taken.

Please note, if your circumstances have changed and you need to revise your confirmed use-type or you wish to delete your Lens account, you can submit a request for a change to your use-type or account deletion from your Account settings.

The LEAP Guarantee

The Lens Equitable Access Program (LEAP) guarantees that no one will be disadvantaged by lack of access to The Lens platform and tools. If a user legitimately needs these tools, and can demonstrate that they cannot afford the suggested price, The Lens commits to finding a way to subsidise the price or otherwise provide access.

Read more about LEAP | Professional Workspaces


With this release, we completed a refactor of all the UI content in the main search apps in preparation for translation as part of a partnership with Universidad de Colima to accelerate innovation across Latin America. The partnership will facilitate the localisation of the user interface into Spanish, translating support topics and developing training videos and support material in Spanish that are aimed at the research and innovation communities across Latin America.

Legal Status Calculation Improvements

The following improvements were made to the calculation of Legal Status and Granted Dates for patents:

  • The "Rejection of a Request for Patent Term Extension" event is now considered in the term date calculation and applied to the expiry date as received from INPADOC, overriding the term extension in those cases e.g.

Other Improvements and Changes

The Lens is a work in progress and with each release, The Lens team improves on certain features or perfects the quality of the data and the service to provide you with the most comprehensive data we can source. While often these changes stem from users' feedback, they also originate from improved data processing and improvements in the source data. In this release, here is the list of other improvements and changes that were implemented:

  • Added Tags and Notes flags to the scholar/patent search results list to indicate records that you have added a tag or note to.
  • Added an option to the Account settings to allow registered users to request their account be deleted.
  • Added an option to the Account settings to allow registered users to request a change to their confirmed use-type (i.e. commercial / non-commercial) if circumstances have changed.
  • Exports of >10,000 records in JSONL file format are now compressed to a .gz file format for faster downloads.


  • Fix sort order for patent exports
  • Fix JSON file export failing
  • Aligned the JSONL export format with the API data schema, including adding these missing export fields to the JSONL export file:
    • Patent exports: biblio.parties.applicants.residence, biblio.parties.inventor.residence, biblio.parties.applicant.residence
    • Scholar exports: scholarly_citations
    • N.B. Field selection for JSONL export files is no longer available.
  • Removed the extra line from the end of JSONL export files.
  • Fixed responsive tab navigation on individual scholarly works.
  • Fixed API reminder emails from being sent multiple times.

API & Data Improvements:

  • API: Added email notifications for expiring API tokens, which will be sent 2 weeks before the token expires.
  • Patents:
    • Update the Classification explorer to the latest CPC and IPC schemas (version 2022.02)
    • Improved address extraction from patent documents increasing the coverage of party address information, including applicant.address, owner_all.address and inventor.address.
  • Scholarly Works:
    • Added Stemming support on individual scholar fields including: title, abstract,, source.title and fulltext
    • Improved the merging of Scholarly Works MetaRecords resulting in 3.4M duplicate records being merged.
    • Adjusted the Crossref reference extraction logic to utilise both unstructured and structured DOI information.

N.B. For guidance navigating the API, please check the API Documentation, and to report bugs/issues, usability related questions, or to request features, please use our GitHub issue tracker.

Support Centre & Knowledge Base

INew and updated support posts with this release include:

  • External Posts and Coverage: list of external training material and videos (including non-English training resources), scholarly works covering The Lens or the data sources used, libguides and blogs on The Lens.
  • Webinar: Prior Art Searching: The Lens supports IP Academy in Singapore through their training courses including How to Perform Prior Art Searches. This is a recording of The Lens contribution to one of those training courses delivered in March 2022.

Interested in helping us improve?

  • Collective Action needs connected actors. The Collective Action Project provides a number of different activities for all stakeholders to participate in collective problem solving. See how you can participate.
  • Interested in volunteering your expertise and time to support The Lens? We welcome expressions of interest, please contact us at We are happy to learn more about your skill set to see if there is alignment of expertise and timing to contribute to The Lens and support collective action. The Lens lists open volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch.
  • Contact your librarians and let them know about Lens for Institutions and the Institutional Toolkits.
  • If you have published using Lens tools or data, or created an application using the API or data from the Lens, please share your work with us so we can share it with others on Lens Labs to help improve The Lens as a public resource.
  • Share your use case with us and explore how The Lens can help you and keep sending us your feedback on The Lens features and functionality.

The Lens is a public good project run by Cambia, a global social enterprise that is committed to making the innovation process more transparent, inclusive and effective for those seeking to solve problems and make a social impact and thus, we welcome your active engagement, participation, and support.

See our 8.4 Release Newsletter