Why are we doing it?
Our goal is to enable more people to make better decisions, informed by evidence and inspired by imagination. The Lens is the platform we are providing to help people do just that. The Lens enables cartography of the innovation landscape, allowing navigation from an idea to a product (or service) and back again. This makes producing new value in society quicker and more affordable. In short, our goal is to make the world’s innovation system navigable by anyone for anything.
The effects of the patent system as it works now do not match the original intent to benefit society.
The patent system was created to advance societal benefit by encouraging clearly defined public disclosure of inventions, in exchange for a strictly limited monopoly. The intent is that the invention may be used wherever and whenever the patent monopoly is not in force. The trouble is that unless information is readily available about whose patents are in force over what technology where, the system doesn't work well. People may unwittingly infringe patents they don't know about, avoid areas of innovation in which they are entitled to be creative, or make poor investments based on incomplete information about which rights are granted and who holds these rights.
We want to make it possible for more people – different people – to serve the public good.
The Lens is a first step. We created the Lens to create transparency in the patent system, and to serve the public worldwide as a platform to explore, understand and improve its impact on society. The Lens informatics tools can assist the user to determine the boundaries of intellectual property constraints on deliverable innovations, and usable building blocks for future innovations. The key to the Lens is that we are creating an integrated, worldwide, open-source and open access resource that will allow community-developed analytical tools, patent landscapes and decision support software to be created and shared. We want innovators worldwide to make better and more informed decisions.