Initiative for Open Innovation

Well, its been a busy few months since my last post. I’ve been constantly traveling to meetings and working with prospective partners to try to generalize our work.

It now seems that the fundamental power of a harmonized patent informatics platform and a facility for supporting open innovation work has become widely appreciated. We’ll be going to scale soon with a sector-agnostic activity we call the Initiative for Open Innovation (IOI) under which the Patent Lens will be a prominent platform.

I’ll write extensively over the next weeks about this, but briefly the idea is to form a worldwide open access capability to integrate, parse, visualize and analyze patent data over all nations and all innovation sectors. We will develop – collaboratively – open source, community participation web apps which will allow creation and curation of ‘landscapes’ of key IP areas, for instance, influenza vaccines, RNAi technologies, cancer diagnostics, agricultural genetic resources and so on.

However, its now becoming clear that this should extend well beyond the life sciences, as indeed virtually all innovation activity is facing the complexities of a patent system in meltdown. Transparency really is critical, but the transparency must provide for high level oversight, not just the piecemeal ability to search for patents. Rather it will be critical that all interested citizens, scientists, business people and policy makers should be able to visualize and appreciate the nature and extent of current and projected patent coverage over areas of particular interest. This will require highly professional curation, annotation and involvement, but it will be greatly facilitated by sophisticated informatics.

Our intention is to work with many nations to digitize and integrate their own patent information so it can be searched in their own languages, and with natural language translation where possible, to open it for inspection to all citizens, everywhere. Of course, APIs provision and mirroring in diverse locations is part of the plan; but the foundation of the platform – the Patent Lens – is anticipated to become an enabling facility for open innovation.

Much more to come in future posts.

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