December 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 21)
Strong Points: Aggressive approach
Weak Points: Nothing significant
I like the opening page of the Patent Lens Home. Prominently displayed at the top of the page are symbols that resemble both the number 101 (as in the numbers of an elementary college course) and the letters IOI (as in the Initiative for Open Innovation). It is the latter that the site’s designers are referring to and it is effective. The Patent Lens site has a sort of “plain Jane” interface on the opening page with only a simple text-box entry providing access to a search engine. Under the hood, however, there are mountains of information free for access. They include search technologies that are independent of language; protein/DNA sequence searching (over 51,000,000 sequences in worldwide patent databases); free PDF downloads for all U.S., Australian, PCT, and European patent documents; and searches for lapsed/expired/abandoned U.S. patents. The aim of the site is to make patent claims both transparent and navigable and provide users with understanding of freedom to operate with respect to patents. Is it effective? You be the judge.