Freedom-to-operate (FTO) Search

Freedom-to-operate (FTO) Search | FTO Search | Delhi IP

Freedom-to-operate (FTO) Search

A Freedom-to-Operate (FTO) is a type of Patent search which is carried out to ascertain whether commercial launch of any product/service involves any potential risk of infringing someone else’s active/enforceable patent rights. Huge amount of money is involved in launching new product/service and it can be devastating to know later on that the same is covered by someone else’s patent rights. Therefore, it is always advisable to get an exhaustively conducted freedom-to-operate (FTO) search, before launching a product/service at commercial level irrespective of the patented product/services or generic product/services.

Freedom-to-operate (FTO) search involves searching relevant patent documents (active/enforceable patents and pending patent applications) from relevant patent authorities, analyzing claims and carrying out product/service to claim mapping. Freedom-to-operate (FTO) search also help in identifying commercial opportunities by confirming the limits in existing patents. Some ways in which we helped our clients in identifying commercial opportunities are:

  • The patent owner is required to pay patent renewal fees every year throughout the period of 20 years. If the patent owner does not pay patent renewal fees, then the patent gets expired and falls into the public domain and can be used by anyone without risk of infringement. FTO search helps in identifying these types of patents and associated business opportunities;
  • FTO search also helps in identifying technologies whose patent has been expired and which can be used by anyone risk free; and
  • Freedom-to-operate (FTO) search also helps in identifying parts of invention which are not protected by patent and which can be used by anyone without any risk of infringement.

We at Delhi IP have patent professional who are experts in conducting freedom-to-operate (FTO) searches along with our Patent Agents/Attorneys who can provide expert opinion based upon those searches.

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