FTO and Patents: all the information you need

Freedom To Operate And Patents: All The Information You Need To Know

Freedom to Operate (FTO) is the ability to advertise and sell your idea without worrying about infringing on the patents of others.

You must first perform an FTO search to determine if your product has FTO.

FTO Searches are also known as patent clearances, infringement clearances, and searches for patent infringement. An FTO Search is primarily used to evaluate the likelihood of patent infringement associated with a particular product.

These searches may be extensive, but they are necessary. We should also note that risks may still exist even after an investigation reveals no possibility of patent infringement.

A freedom to operate opinion is what?

An FTO opinion is a legal declaration that your innovation does not violate a particular patent received from a registered patent attorney in a specific jurisdiction. Can use this legal document to defend against claims of “willful infringement” by providing evidence of “best intention.”.

The Freedom To Operate search efficiently conducts, but more is required. Once the relevant registered patent attorney should carefully analyses them and seek a legal opinion, remember that an FTO opinion prepares the foundations for defence.

What Sets an FTO Search Apart from a Patentability Search?

Because they concentrate on identifying what is innovative about the proposed invention, patentability searches frequently ignore patent claims in favour of the patent description. FTO searches focus on patent claims to assess infringement problems and compare designs to claims.

How to Reduce the Risk of FTO

You must locate patents that apply to your innovation if you want to be sure you have FTO. The next step is determining whether your design violates the patents’ claims.

Here are two actions you can do to guarantee that your FTO Search is as cost-efficient and effective as possible:

What Is the Price of an FTO Search?

  1. Make sure to limit your FTO search to the marketplaces in the nation where you plan to sell, manufacture, and engage in R&D. Focus on the markets where selling the products could result in legal action if you intend to sell them in numerous nations. 
  2. Additionally, to cut down on the expense of the FTO Search, focus your search on the fields and competitors you believe I pose the most significant risk of the lawsuit rather than looking across all relevant areas and rivals.

Search and analysis are the first two steps of the FTO search process (which can result in legal opinion). Always be sure to determine the costs for each stage. For instance, while the analysis stage focuses on specific patents and applications and can you evaluated in per-unit or per-hour prices, the search stage involves working with large amounts of the prior art and is essentially quoted hourly. By contrast, the analysis stage involves working with individual patents and applications and might analyse the price per hour or unit. 

Only relevant patents should be submitted for a legal opinion, including pertinent case law and arguments from the study. The most expensive part is the legal opinion because it requires the expertise of experienced legal professionals (patent attorneys).

Therefore, the cost depends on the amount of prior art searched for, the amount of research done, and the amount of legal work done. In the end, it might get rather pricey.

The high stakes cause this—the number of product prices typically determined by requiring FTO and the number of independent claims.

What Situations Call for an FTO Search?

The most excellent time to conduct an FTO Search is when your company introduces a new product with cutting-edge features. You should be aware of potential dangers and characteristics you should not use or infringe upon even before creation. Before making the product available to the general public, Examining the final design is necessary. It would help if you first determined whether your product will violate any already-held patents.

An FTO Search only makes sense for some products, though, due to the time and expense involved in the procedure. Freedom To Operate Searches are ultimately all about risk reduction. If you want to launch your product knowing that you are ready for any potential infringement accusations, should they emerge, it may be worth the cost.

Making Strategic Use of FTO Searches

The early stages of development are typically when FTO Searches are most helpful. In this manner, you can alter your work to prevent the chance of infringing on a third party’s patent.

Additionally, consider analysing patents comparable to your idea early on. In that case, you can design around them or discover subtle differences in their claims that still need to be fully exploited. With this approach, the Freedom To Operate Search adds value by unearthing fresh, unexplored concepts rather than lowering the likelihood of being sued for infringement in the future.

While an FTO Search cannot guarantee that your invention won’t violate a third party’s patent, reducing the likelihood is vital. FTO searches can also locate unclaimed designs and strategically develop your product to alter the course of development and make an infringement unnecessary.

Levin Consulting Group’s Capabilities

Consider that you want to register a medical device patent, a design patent, a trademark, or any other kind of intellectual property. You can also do a Freedom to Operate (non-infringement) search. We are the specialists to contact in that situation. We are aware of your company’s environment and provide patent services that are appropriate for it. To lower your legal risks and alleviate the stress associated with managing your intellectual property, our team works for you.

If you have any inquiries about FTO and Patents, we invite you to contact us. And if you need additional patent services, call us to discuss things like Intellectual Property Rights Due Diligence, Medical Device Patents, or Patent Portfolio Management.