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The Lens is an open global cyberinfrastructure to make the innovation system more efficient and fair, more transparent and inclusive.

The Lens is building an open, integrative basis for Innovation Cartography. Specifically, the Lens serves nearly all of the patent documents in the world as open, annotatable digital public goods that are integrated with scholarly and technical literature along with regulatory and business data. The Lens will allow document collections, aggregations, and analyses to be shared, annotated, and embedded to forge open mapping of the world of knowledge-directed innovation. Ultimately, this will restore the role of the patent system as a teaching resource to inspire and inform entrepreneurs, citizens and policy makers.

Within the next two years, we expect to host over 95% of the world's patent information and link to most of the scholarly literature, creating open public innovation portfolios of individuals and institutions. Using all open source components, we are working to create open schemas by which patent documents can be used to teach and communicate, rather than confuse and intimidate.

Underlying data and analytics will be available to the public with APIs. By creating and freely sharing APIs and by building modular, standardized specifications, we can envision growing public use of innovation cartography to decrease fear, uncertainty and doubt hindering investment and enthusiasm.


  • The European Patent Office’s DocDB bibliographic data from 1907 – present: 81+ Million documents from nearly 100 jurisdictions.

  • USPTO Applications from 2001 – present with full text and images.

  • USPTO Grants from 1976 – present with full text and images.

  • USPTO Assignments (14+ Million).

  • European Patent Office (EP) Grants from 1980 – present with full text and images.

  • WIPO PCT Applications from 1978 – present with full text and images.

  • Australian Patent Full Text from IP Australia


All of the software that comprises the Lens application itself is Open Source and free to use. The following is a brief overview of the main technologies and frameworks that make up the Lens:

  • Lens servers run within the Amazon EC2 cloud-computing platform
  • Images are stored and served using Amazon S3
  • Apache HTTP Servers are used for proxies and load balancing
  • The UI and data services are served by Apache Tomcat
  • Apache Lucene is used for indexing and searching text

Structured Search Tips

Using the structured search tools on the right you can create specific search queries, filtering by dates, jurisdictions and document type. You can also alter default search parameters such as stemming, family grouping, query language and whether to only include documents with full text.

Structured search also allows you to limit your search terms to specific sections of documents. These sections include Inventors, Owners (US), Title, Abstract, Claims, Applicants, Non Patent Citations, Publication Number, and Filing Number. By searching for terms only within a given field, you can greatly reduce the number of extraneous results. For example, searching for an inventor’s name only within the Inventor field will eliminate documents that happen to mention the inventor in passing.

To begin a search on a topic, it is therefore often best to begin by searching within the Title, Abstractor Claims to capture the broadest range of topical documents. Searching within Applicants may be useful for determining which entities hold which patent documents, but keep in mind that patents may change ownership and this change may not be recorded, and that patents held by a subsidiary will not appear in a search for patents held by the parent company.

Help Resources
Basic Help

Search Results

Result Views

Document Views

Advanced Document Views


Biological Tools

Patent Sequence Tools

Other Pages

Common Questions

What does the Lens do?

The Lens allows you to search and explore the world’s patent literature – one of the largest free bodies of public information. Use the Lens to search for patents, explore / collect / analyse patent landscapes, build and share patent collections, explore biological patents with advanced tools, and so much more. We are adding new features all the time and we will always be free for everyone.

Where can I learn more about patents?

We have a number of educational articles on our Knowledge Database section of the Support Center. For starters check out the Top Ten Facts You Need To Know About Patents and our How to Read a Patent pages.

How do I report bugs or leave feedback?

The Lens is currently in beta, so we still have bugs floating around occasionally. We appreciate and use each and every bug report and feedback email we receive, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at

How do I share my work with others?

There are many ways you can share your work on The Lens with your colleagues. One way is to publish your collections to make them public. You can also embed search result charts on any website you like with our helpful embed links.

Who has access to my search history?

Only you. We will never look at any of your private information, from search history or collections. Read more at our policies page.

Why are you building The Lens?

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. Read more About Us.

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