Owning a patent does not mean that you are entitled to commercialise the product or process that is covered by that patent. You must have “freedom to operate.
The purpose of an FTO analysis is to determine if there are any existing third-party patents or patent applications that could potentially be infringed by the proposed product or process. The analysis involves conducting a thorough search of potentially relevant patents, reviewing their scope of protection, and determining if that scope covers the proposed product or process.
FTO analysis carried out at an early stage in the product development cycle provides companies with the opportunity to either license third party technologies, or modify their design to avoid infringement.
We have extensive experience of working with clients to provide strategic FTO advice. Complex legal issues such as the ‘doctrine of equivalents’ mean that determining the scope of patent protection is not an easy task, and requires both a technical and legal understanding of the issues, as well as the ability to conduct a balanced assessment of risk, that comes only with experience.