Freedom To Operate or FTO, as the name suggests is done to check that when we are testing or commercializing our product in the market, we are doing it without infringing the intellectual rights of others. It identifies patents with claims that cover the entire technology. Through this we identify list of competitors, patent holders or patent that may be relevant to your product.
FTO searches which are also sometimes referred to as ‘clearance searches’ are mostly conducted in cases where a release of product is aimed for.
This type of search primarily identifies potential patent barriers to the commercialization of products or technologies; and is typically conducted as an IP due diligence effort to prevent potential infringement.
This search assists a company in understanding whether a proposed product or invention does not violate any active patent. The evidence may also be used to ensure that one must be aware of possible infringement to take appropriate business actions.
The clearance search is very useful in uncovering certain applications that are in the patent pending status, which if eventually are granted patent rights, might be potentially infringed by the solution or the product that is currently in question.