The ability to commercialize a new product or process without violating the patent rights of others is known as the freedom to operate (FTO).
Penalties, legal action, and royalty payments may result from infringing goods’ commercialisation.
Freedom to search determines beforehand whether your product will violate a patent.
The Freedom to search report can be the foundation for developing a plan for the steps involved in a product launch.
Defining FTO Search
These are also referred to as clearance searches on occasion. These are typically carried out when a product release is a goal. A case of this nature is carried out as part of IP due diligence to prevent potential infringement. Knowing whether a proposed product or invention infringes on active patents aids a corporation. The companies can take the necessary business action if there are any potential infractions thanks to this search. These searches also reveal information about the patent applications that are still ongoing and that the target product may infringe upon if they are finally granted patent rights.
In essence, FTO searches are done to:
- Examine the competition: for their product.
- Recognize the market competition?
- Marketing techniques for devices,
- Pricing tactics for devices,
Relevant Clearance Search Elements:
- FTO searches are only allowed on active patents.
- Scientific journals, non-patent literature, and other materials are regarded as unimportant.
- Freedom to search is typically limited to claims.
- Interest jurisdiction is also taken into account,
- A time starting from the search date of about 20 years is considered.
- Each product component should be gauged using the existing patent references (separately and combined).
- Results from FTO searches offer a complete analysis of just awarded patents. Unpublished applications won’t be seen for this reason. As a result, such a search is typically recommended every six months.
- Conducting a Freedom to search early in the product development process is generally advised to avoid incurring significant development costs for creating infringing products and other infringement-related fines.
- Such a search will turn up expired patents containing a wealth of valuable technologies.
- The purchase of relevant patents may be considered an additional option.
- Great thought should be given to purchasing a license from the patent holder for a set time.
- It is possible to redesign the product to prevent infringement.