Freedom-to-Operate (FTO) Analysis

During a Freedom-To-Operate Analysis, we check if there are technical IP rights which might block the development, manufacture and launch of a specific new product in a specific territory. For this, we analyze the scope of protection of published patent applications and granted patents as well as registered utility models with respect to their relevance for the planned new product.

A Freedom-to-Operate Analysis usually comprises three main steps. In a first step, all new technical features to be searched are defined. For this, we do analyze the product together with you and identify those technical features, which might cause a patent infringement. The results are summarized in a Technology Document, which forms the basis for the patent search. In this step, the territorial scope of the search is also determined, such as Austria or the German-speaking territory of Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

In a second step, a search is done for patents that have a scope of protection covering the technical features laid out in the Technology Document. The search is not limited to granted patents, but covers all pending or granted national patents or utility models, as well as European Patents and International Patent Applications (PCT), which could give rise to national rights within the investigated territory. The result of this search for IP rights protecting defined technical features is delivered in form of a spreadsheet. The relevance of identified IP rights is analyzed together with you.

Finally, in a third step, a classification and selection of the most relevant documents is done, as well as a specific analysis of their scope of protection and possible workarounds. For pending patent applications and relevant utility models, it is advisable to set up a further prior-art search, in order to assess if and in which scope the protective right might be valid or will be granted.

We regularly perform Freedom-to-Operate Analyses and would be happy to assist your company as well!

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