What Is A Freedom-To-Operate Opinion And Why Is It Important
A qualified intellectual property attorney can provide a legal opinion called a freedom to operate (FTO) opinion. This opinion determines whether a proposed commercial product or process can be made, used, sold or offered for sale without infringing another party’s intellectual property rights.
Benefits Of Obtaining and FTO Opinion
While there is no law mandating a company to get an FTO opinion prior to launching a new product, service, or process, it can prove helpful as a proactive measure to protect the company against claims of intentional infringement and reduce the risk of treble damages in case of patent litigation. Moreover, having an FTO opinion can assuage potential investors about the marketability of the company’s offering by lowering risks associated with legal disputes.
What is involved in a Clearance or Non-infringement Search?
Understand Clearance Or Non-Infringement Searches
Once the patent search is complete, a clearance or non-infringement report is prepared. This report will contain an analysis of the identified patents and any other relevant information. It will detail whether a patent infringement risk exists with respect to the product or service being assessed.
Identifying And Analyzing Relevant Patents During A Non-Infringement Search
The next step is the analysis of the identified patents. This involves a review of the patent claims, prior art references, and any other relevant information regarding each patent. The aim is to determine whether there is an infringement risk posed by the product or service being assessed relative to the claims in each patent.
Understanding The Scope Of A Clearance or Non-Infringement Search
The scope of a clearance or non-infringement search will depend on the type of product or service being assessed. Generally, such searches are conducted within a specific jurisdiction and exclude patents that have not been issued in that jurisdiction. Also, it is important to understand the impact any prior art references may have on the analysis.
Contact Credible Law for comprehensive Patent Invalidity and Freedom-To-Operate Analysis advice and representation.
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