FREEDOM TO OPERATE (FTO) SEARCH

FREEDOM TO OPERATE (FTO) search also known as Clearance Search. FTO search is all about risk analysis.

With the increase in competition in business, Intellectual Property has gained a crucial role. FTO search is a process to determine the possibility of a company or inventors to launch those product or process in the market without the fear of infringement.

However Patentability search does not cover FTO search. It is done on a detail analysis of product or process in the market on all different databases. If any risk seems to occur in the path of patentability, it helps to resolve the problem or minimize the risk of infringement. An infringement for a company is a huge blow on the reputation, effort as well as on finance. Thus, FTO search should be done at each point of product development.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Awareness on Patent infringement risk
  • Track down where the risk lie
  • Evaluate how to manage such risk.

It is mainly done to operate such product or process in the market in a particular territorial jurisdiction. Unlike Novelty search, it is not imp to have a global search. For e.g.: if the product or process is launched in India, FTO search will be conducted only on India market. It is done only on patent database (site). Thus only live patent are to be examined with respect to the new product or process. Hence, search can be restricted to last 20-22 years patent search. PCT applications are also to be examined in this search. PCT Application is available in WIPO website.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Awareness on Patent infringement risk
  • Track down where the risk lie
  • Evaluate how to manage such risk.

PROCEDURE OF FTO SEARCH:

STEP 1: to know where or in which country does the product or process shall be used or commercialised.

STEP 2: to identify the keyword as well as its use which will help in such search or analysis.

STEP 3: to identify the site of different countries, where the patent will be commercialised, to get the database.

STEP 4: to start the search and identify “blocking patent”

STEP 5: to prepare a FTO opinion based on the search.