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Freedom to operate (FTO) may not be the first thing that comes to mind while developing a new product, but it is an important step that should not be overlooked, particularly when launching a product.
Costly legal fights, ruined relationships with customers and business partners, and the loss of an otherwise promising product are all risks that come with neglecting to do a thorough freedom-to-operate search. Clearance, cost savings in development and marketing, licensing opportunities, and commercial success are all advantages of doing freedom to operate search, early in the product development process.
So, what is freedom to operate, what is the need of Freedom to Operate search report, how do you do FTO effectively and which six things to remember about Freedom to operate search.
Clearance Search is the other term used for Freedom to Operate Search. The search determines whether the product or process infringe on any patent claim or not. In simple terms, it is used to determine whether an invention/product can be used or marketed freely in a specific country from a legal standpoint.
If the Freedom to Operate search report is negative, the organization can pursue one of the following options to operate the invention:
The FTO search results, analysis, and opinion are frequently included in a Freedom to Operate search report. It can be a helpful resource for an inventor or corporation in the product or process development, and if FTO report indicates the patent infringement, it allows adequate time to work around and minimize loss of resources.
Results from Freedom to Operate search report can be quite useful in reducing risk. For example, FTO provides:
You probably already keep an eye on your competitors’ activities and believe you have a good notion of what they’re working on; you may even have looked into what patents they’ve filed. Whatever the case may be, a complete freedom-to-operate search must go far further.
To begin, examine both granted and pending patents, as well as the databases of various national and regional patent offices.
You should check a patent’s expiry date and whether it is still valid; many issued patents are allowed to lapse before their 20-year term expires, while others are cancelled after a lawsuit. Examining the claims of issued patents is also important since they may provide more protection than the products on the market indicate. Furthermore, not all patents are available in English, thus translation will be required in some circumstances.
It’s also crucial to look beyond your direct competition. Many high-tech firms do research with wide-ranging implications and file patent applications as a result. This means they can collect royalties from businesses in entirely different sectors. Based on technological classification and keywords, a good freedom-to-operate search will uncover such patents.
When it comes to FTO, always ensure that you:
If you’re looking to Freedom to Operate search service or are looking to file a patent, design patent, trademark or any other form of intellectual property, we are the experts to get in touch with. We understand your business context and provide patent services that are tailored to your specific requirements. Our team works for you to lower your legal risks and take the stress out of intellectual property management.
We invite you to get in touch with us if you have any questions about Freedom to Operate search report and Patents. And if you are in need of other patent services, you can call us to talk about things like Patent Portfolio Management, patent litigation, Due Diligence, and more.