Freedom to Operate Search Made Easy


FTO is the right to sell your product without infringing any existing rights. Freedom to operate search is also known as a patent clearance search or right to use search. However, the main aim is to prevent patent infringements.

In other words, the FTO search determines if the product is unique or similar to any existing product.

Related articleFTO searches for an industrial patent.

When to conduct an Freedom to operate search?

Carry out an FTO search in the earlier stage of product development. However, some organization conducts it before a new product launch. Benefits of an early FTO search:

  1. Saves time and money. It helps in better use of resources.
  2. Lessen the risk of infringement and future lawsuit.
  3. It helps in changing the approach while developing the product.

With the help of an FTO search, Firms can secure some existing patents to prevent future infringement. Successful FTO searches can attract potential investors and stakeholders.

What is the exact meaning of FTO Search?

An FTO patent search covers existing patients only. It must cover all potential markets i.e. Conduct search in every country and jurisdiction where a company intends to run business.

However, this increases the cost but is vital for long term success.

Comparison: Patentability search and FTO search

People often mix up both the searches but they are different. Both have different goals and cos. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Patentability search:  A wide search covering previous patents and non-patent literature. It gives fast results and the process is economical. It determines if the patent is unique or not.

Freedom to operate search: It focuses on active patents only to avoid lawsuits however in some cases, it covers pending applications also. These searches are more complex, costly, and take a long period.

The Freedom to operate search focuses on the claims made by the inventor. It does not focus on the drawings and specifications of the product.

Firms need professional and subject matter experts to study the claims. This needs a vast industrial knowledge. It also increases the cost of an FTO search.

Related article:  Patentability search basics: Things you should know

What is an FTO search report?

A Freedom to operate search reports consists of search results, analysis, and opinions.

An FTO opinion is a legal opinion of a patent attorney about any infringements. It becomes important if a firm aims to attract investors.

FTO search report is vital for product development. A report prepared by a professional can save resources and time. Most importantly, it attracts investors and builds trust.

Additional information to include:

  1. Non-infringement opinion: It provides an idea of whether the product is similar to any other patent. It provides a better understanding and judges the patent’s strength.
  2. Invalidity opinion: It gives an idea about the validity of the patent. Invalidity opinion helps in defense as well as a counterclaim in case of an infringement lawsuit.

Cost of an FTO search?

Freedom to operate search is expensive in comparison to other searches. However, it saves a lot of resources, time, and money. Therefore it is vital and not conducting an FTO search is more costly.

An FTO search cost rises to US $50,000 or more. Average price is US $10,000 to $20,000.

In conclusion, Firms must hire a professional to conduct an FTO search. Efficient freedom to operate search is a must in the early stages of the product.

Want to conduct an effective FTO search? – The Patent Search firm

The Patent search firm has more than 8 years of experience in the IP field. Our team consists of experts from almost every technical field. We serve over 1200+ clients in 45+ countries. Moreover, we ensure 100 % customer satisfaction at optimal pricing. To know more, Visit our service page: The Patent Search Firm.

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