Before you begin the commercialization of your product/technology, it is essential to conduct a freedom to operate (FTO) search to ensure that the desired product can be safely launched in a specific market (countries or regions) without infringing or violating third party intellectual property rights within that particular jurisdiction. It can be conducted at any stage of product life cycle to determine the direction of product/technology development.
To establish an FTO, we first conduct a Clearance Search or non-infringement Search locate any granted and alive (in-force) patents or patent applications. Most companies engage a reputable IP Analytics firm to conduct this search.
A FTO also comes in handy if there are valid intellectual property rights of someone else that might be infringed by any actions you plan to take. You could possibly get a freedom to operate with respect to any one of those rights by reaching some sort of agreement for a license with the owner of those IP rights.
FTO helps to mitigate the litigation costs that may be incurred due to an unintentional and unknown infringement in a new market space. IP assessment of third parties in a particular technology domain and within a given jurisdiction helps to evaluate the risk of market entry. Thereafter, the companies can decide which markets to enter and which to refrain from.
Tracking patent expirations (legal status analysis) i.e. when the potentially relevant and threatening third party IP rights expire, could also help devise the timing of entry into market.
A Clearance/ non-infringement search could play a vital role in potential licensing and mergers or acquisitions among the top players in a technology field. It helps explore potential licensing requirements by identifying third parties whose IP rights (patents) could be considered for buying or licensing. At the same time, it also helps understand what potential clients or assignees might be interested to buy or invest in the desired product/technology.
Finally, analysis of already existing products/patents gives an understanding of un-crowded areas in a technology domain. Therefore, freedom to operate search could guide and orient the research and development programs for companies willing to enter a new domain.
At TT Consultants, we have a fruitful and enriching working experience in several technology domains ranging from Biotechnology, Biomedical, Healthcare, Mechanical, Chemical, Pharma, Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunication, Metallurgy, Information Technology, etc.
An extensive patent search is conducted on several databases (with a global coverage), along with search on country specific regional databases (especially to determine the legal status). To ensure accuracy of the legal status, we do not completely rely on the automatic databases, instead we manually cross-verify the legal history on each country specific databases (like DPMA register, KIPRIS, SIPO, USPTO etc.).
Through an in-house native language search team, located in the Taiwan office, we have capabilities to drill down the original language documents for most Asian countries including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese.
So whenever you want to launch your product in the market it is highly recommended to conduct Freedom to operate seach or Clearance/ Non-infringement Search. You can also contact us to get the proffesional advice of our experts.