Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search

Patent Clearance Search

Freedom to Operate (FTO) search is an imperative due diligence step to be performed for any organization during the early research stage of product/technology development, or prior to commercialization of a product or technology.

A Freedom to Operate (FTO) search involves conducting a search of patent literature for issued or pending patent publications, and obtaining a legal opinion on whether or not a product, process or technology may be considered to be infringing existing patent(s) owned by others. A Freedom to Operate search is also known as Clearance search, Infringement search, Third party right search or Right to use study.

Getting a Freedom to Operate search will open up avenues for licensing, designing around patented features, or getting the go-ahead to commercialize the product or technology.

SciTech Patent Art conducts Freedom to Operate (FTO) searches to answer questions such as the following:

Do you see any obstacles in my commercialization plan? If so, what are my commercialization options?

SciTech Patent Art conducts a Freedom to Operate / Right-to-Use / Infringement study for our clients before they launch a new product / technology in a new market to assess infringement risks or to identify licensing opportunities. It could also be used to understand if a competitor’s product /process is infringing your own Intellectual Property (IP). Such studies are business-critical as they directly impact the IP strategy adopted. Hence, a high level of expertise is required from the search service provider. SciTech Patent Art’s scientists are experts in Freedom to Operate / Infringement studies. We thoroughly analyze patent claims, compare the product / technology in question against the claims of active patents and provide our technical assessment. Our reports are typically accompanied by visuals that help you understand the rationale for our assessment. During the whole analysis stage, we work closely with you to ensure that we understand your needs.

Our Methodology for a Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search:

An effective Freedom to Operate study is conducted by collecting and analyzing information during the initiation of the study. The quality of the information gathered plays an important role in making the study effective. SciTech Patent Art has been conducting Freedom to Operate searches for over two decades and has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), including unique approaches that often result in identifying good prior-art and potential blocking patents. Our Standard Operating Procedure includes:

  • Spend significant time early on to understand the technology in detail
  • Identify key features of the product / process
  • Develop multiple search strategies using appropriate keywords and classification codes
  • Conduct multiple searches across various databases
  • Screen search results based on well-defined criteria to identify most relevant documents
  • Analyze and categorize documents as per relevancy and verify legal status
  • Provide comprehensive and intuitive report with technical analysis

Report format of a Freedom to Operate (FTO) search:

Our typical Freedom to Operate search report is in an Excel format that includes

Project Methodology

Project description along with key features identified for the search, screening criteria and technical fields for analysis

Relevant patents

The highly relevant/peripheral references identified are presented in the report with bibliographic details and claim-based technical analysis. Legal status of all family members of most

Search Strategies

Multiple search strategies are formulated based on appropriate keywords, CAS registry numbers, EC numbers and classification codes (CPC, IPC)

The relevant patents are classified into two categories:

Category A

Highly relevant patents to the disclosed technology, based on the main / independent claim of the claimed invention

Category B

Peripheral patents which deviate from the disclosed technology, based on the main / independent claim of the claimed invention

We also provide custom reports to our clients based on their specific requirements. For example, a PowerPoint report with visual representation of a technical analysis and claim charts of relevant references are included.

Why SciTech Patent Art?

  • For over 20 years, our team of searchers have been conducting Freedom to Operate searches for clients worldwide.
  • Our team of searches are subject-matter experts across wide range of disciplines in science and engineering.
  • Our searchers are well-versed with patent laws of different jurisdictions.
  • Our Interactive and tailored work process ensures frequent interactions, and is flexible to change direction as needed.
  • We provide follow-on services as needed.
  • We work as per the needs of our client’s timeline, and offer pricing to fit their budget as well.
Why SciTech Patent Art

Examples of Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search

FREEDOM TO OPERATE (FTO) SEARCH
Freedom to Operate (FTO) search

Related Case Studies

PATENT PORTFOLIO ANALYSIS FOR AN AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY COMPANY

The client engaged SPA to conduct a due diligence of its patent portfolio in the area of Industrial Valves. The study was aimed at comparing the company’s patents with those of its competitors and possibility…

EVIDENCE OF USE FOR A JAPANESE INNOVATION COMPANY

The client engaged SPA to create Evidence of Use (EoU) in the area of imaging technology. The study was aimed at identifying patent infringement/ evidence for infringement through commercial…

FREEDOM TO OPERATE STUDY FOR A JAPANESE MEDICAL DEVICES COMPANY

The client partnered with SPA to identify potential patents that could block the right to use of their multi-functional surgical device.

FAQ

Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search, is known as Clearance Search, Infringement search, Right to Use or Right to Market. An FTO search is conducted to determine whether an entity is infringing upon any active patents or published applications.

A FTO search helps in seamless implementation of a product/technology commercialization plan by ensuring the entity is free from infringement of Intellectual property (IP) rights of others.  While an early-stage FTO will allow businesses to take decisions such as how key product/process parameters need to be fine-tuned to remove any obstacles to commercial exploitation of a new idea.

The scope of a FTO search varies by the definition of the search request, industry, and other factors. Please contact us to discuss your request and obtain a free estimate of cost.

The time required to conduct a FTO search will depend on the scope of the request. On an average it will take between 3 to 4 weeks.