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Freedom to Operate FTO for Your Patent Technology


What is involved in a Clearance or Non-infringement Patent Search?

Freedom to Operate Patent Opinion For Your Researched Technology Idea

Research and development cost of a technology is very high and the risks of costly patent infringement litigation and subsequent damages claims by third party require business entities to ensure that they develop and maintain cost-effective Freedom to Operate (FTO) strategies. Freedom-to-operate (FTO) patent searches performed by an experience patent attorney includes a in-depth search of pending patent applications and granted patent applications in a particular jurisdiction where the company wants to launch or manufacture a technology. The clearance search will also include the current legal status of the patent applications identified while conducting the patent search.

The clearance / non-infringement patent search begins by considering the fact that in what all territorial jurisdiction the product or service will be sold. The main features of the technology product are identified. For example, a pentabolt locking device with two latches. In this technology, the identified features are fives bolts and two latches. Then a patent research is performed comprising the technology search scope identified above. Subsequently, close prior arts are identified for further analysis.

The legal patent status of the identified patents are then checked to determine whether their 20 years of protection has expired or patent maintenance fees has not been paid by the patent owner. After that, the identified prior art patents that are not expired, a detailed patent analysis is performed to determine whether such patents pose an infringement risk to the technical product at issue.

The detailed patent analysis includes defining the scope of the patent claims and the terms used within the patent claims. The patent claims are interpreted by reading the patent specification of the patent and reviewing the patent drawings. In many cases patent prosecution history of the patent can be studied to understand the scope of the patent claim elements.

While analysing the close prior arts, one has to keep in mind that the closer the patent claims are to the technology product in question, the patent claims have to interpreted in the best manner to determine whether the patent claims present an infringement risk.

Why is the FTO Opinion / IP Clearance Search so Important?

A FTO opinion by the patent attorney provides the company with a broader outlook of whether their technology is infringing someone else’s patented product. For a startup or medium sized enterprise there is so much investment involved in bringing a product to market. Therefore, hiring an experienced patent attorney and paying for a FTO opinion is the best investment for the company.

So based on the clients business goals the freedom-to-operate (FTO) patent search scope may be limited to USPTO patents and published applications if the client wants to launch the product in US. In another scenario, if the patent client wants to launch the product in US, India and Singapore the patent report will include patent search results from USPTO, India and Singapore patent database.

Analysis of the patent claims granted in respect of the patent specification has to taken into account to determine the scope of the identified patented innovation.

Hiring an experienced patent attorney and paying for a FTO opinion is the best investment for the company

Clearance Search | Freedom to Operate Search Strategy

-Reviewing the invention disclosure form provided by the client
-Identification of International Patent Classifications (IPCs) and US Patent Classifications
-Identify important Keywords and Synonyms
-Keyword based patent searching
-International Patent Classifications (IPCs) based patent searching
-US Patent Classification based patent searching (In case the client wants to launch a product in United States jurisdiction)
– Combination of Keywords and identified patent classes

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Patent Advocates & Indian IPR Attorneys

Leading IP firm in India with a team of experienced patent strategy consultants who assist startup businesses with patent filing, patent drafting, & protection of trademarks internationally under madrid protocol. Most recommended full service Intellectual Property & Commercial Patent Law firm in India. Direct representation of parties before WIPO and IPO, Coordination and management of Global IP Prosecution and Litigation matters with patent lawyers worldwide, Global IP Strategy and development of Intellectual Assets, Drafting, reviewing and negotiating IP and Technology Agreements (Licensing, Technology Transfer and Collaboration Agreements), Strong patent claim drafting, preparation and prosecution skills for international applications filed before USPTO, EPO, WIPO, UKIPO, MyIPO, IP Australia, & IPOS.