You have developed – or you are about to develop – new technology that will provide great value to your customers and will bring you commercial success. Perhaps you even have your own patents that will protect your competitive advantage. But you are not the only one playing that game. Can you be certain that your new product does not infringe the rights of others? Freedom to Operate (FTO) is a question of risk management. You want to know as much as possible, plan for success, prepare for disaster, and you want it all to be cost effective. And Zacco is ready to help you.
Freedom to Operate search: A freedom to operate search is different from our other search services. We are no longer searching for the technical content of a publication or publications originating from a particular owner or inventor. Instead we are searching for patents based on what they protect. This is very difficult because the scope is defined by patent claims – and limited by each feature included in a patent claim. This means that even a patent claim with many relevant features becomes irrelevant by the inclusion of irrelevant features. It is impossible to do computerized searches based on the non-existence of irrelevant features in the patent claims, so a freedom to operate search is a two-step process: First we do a computerized search for potentially problematic patents, then we process all the potential hits manually to weed out the irrelevant ones. The remaining list of patents includes the ones that may limit your freedom to operate.
This process will only be efficient and of high quality if the people performing the manual processing are experts on the relevant technology as well as on patent law. At Zacco we have those experts.
Freedom to Operate analysis: A freedom to operate search produces a list of potentially problematic patents. A freedom to operate analysis takes that list (or a list of patents that you already know about) and compares them all with your product or your planned activities. Our report will never conclude that you do or do not infringe a patent. Instead we will give you a description of activities that we believe are risk free, and activities that increase the risk. Sometimes we may advice that an infringement analysis is performed with respect to specific patents.
Freedom to Operate searches and analysis will often be limited to patents and pending patent applications in the jurisdictions you plan to have activities.
Zacco offers tailor made searches adapted to your specific needs. We have our own search experts, we have access to a wide range of databases of patent publications as well as technical and academic publications, and we also have a number of preferred external search providers that we use. Our ambition is to provide you with the best search results for your needs, and we do this by using the resources that best match your requirements.