Freedom to Operate


A freedom to operate (FTO) 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.

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