Conducting a freedom to operate (FTO) search can help protect your company from patent infringement claims. When you perform an FTO, the search will determine what IP rights and patents are in force within the country where you intend to produce or distribute your product. It's a considerable task, and it's not one you want to ignore. While there are costs involved in doing such a search, the costs of a patent infringement claim can be significantly more damaging to your business.
Maximizing the Effectiveness of the FTO
One of the first things you will want to do is limit the FTO search to countries where you plan to be commercially engaged. This makes maximum use of your resources and returns speedier results. It can also save you money.
Factors to Consider in an FTO
Remember that an FTO is not a guarantee. There is no such thing as 100% FTO when it comes to potential IP infringement. You should always be prepared for competitors to pursue an IP infringement claim for any number of reasons. While rare, it does happen and requires the advice of qualified legal counsel when it occurs.
Overcoming Challenges Uncovered in a Freedom to Operate Search
FTO searches frequently return results that can stymie your invention. However, that doesn't mean you're dead in the water. Indeed, there are still options available. These include purchasing or licensing the patent, cross-licensing, patent pools, and more commonly, inventing around. This last option allows you to amend the design of your product so that it doesn't infringe on any existing patent. In many cases, a few minor adjustments are sufficient to achieve this.
Contact Global Patent Solutions at (877) 236-8105 for more information about the freedom to operate searches we conduct for clients. It is our pleasure to help you conduct your search so that you can move forward with development, manufacture, and distribution.