The space in the technological world is getting crowded every day. Each product, be it a small element of an automobile or a simple toy, all these are a combination of the diverse functional concepts and ideas that you should protect by the security of the patents, design registrations, and the utility models. For instance, even with simple Gillette Mach 3 razors, the company is protecting the product with more than 36 different patents with the engineering features.
In these circumstances, even before the initiation and development of any new product or technology designs, you should include a clear concept about the proprietary technologies centered on the product that needs development. Proprietary technology means all the product elements are protected by numerous intellectual properties such as patents or designs (functional or aesthetics features).
Table of Contents
- What is Freedom to Operate Search?
- Product Selection for Manufacturing
- Process Selection of the Manufacturing
- Design And Equipment Selection Of The Workflow And The Plant
- Label, Packaging And Other Detail Selection
- Country Wise Market Selection
- Technology Partner, Cross-Licensing Partner, And Strategic Alliance Partner Selection
- Growing Need of Freedom To Operate Search In Different Sectors
What is Freedom to Operate Search?
There will be an enormous risk if anyone launches a new technology or product with no freedom to operate a patent search. In these cases, the products or the technologies are quite vulnerable to the threat of infringement lawsuits that can put the company itself at risk. In this stage, the litigation cost of the IPR, the freedom to operate search cost, and the uncertainty are generally dangerous and might force the organization to withdraw the launch of the product altogether. So to avoid all these problems, it is better to undergo a thorough FTO search patent even before making any plans for setting up the plants for the production of the proposed products.
A very famous case that emphasizes the significance of freedom to operate search is Kodak vs. Polaroid. Kodak was already ruling the market when Pioneer made an entry into the camera industry. The latter made its name through the proprietary technology of instant photography. Kodak also decided to introduce their product for instant photography. But one week after Kodak introduced their product, Polaroid filed an infringement lawsuit against the former for copying their technology.
Later, the court proved that Kodak has breached the Polaroid Company’s patents and thus has to pay a 900 million dollars fine to them. It also forced Kodak to withdraw their business from this segment altogether.
This search helps the inventor to understand the freedom degrees that are present to the development team of the product while designing, marketing, and developing the new technology or the product. In other words, the freedom to operate a searching procedure proposes whether the product or the technology can be used, made, or offered for sale to the customers in the market with no infringement of another validly issued patent.
The result of freedom to operate analysis offers strategic importance in making all the following decisions.
Product Selection for Manufacturing
From the FTO search, you can understand the product launching feasibility in the market with the minimum threat of infringement.
Process Selection of the Manufacturing
Even when the technology or product is not new, you can manufacture a new way or process. In these cases, the analysis through Freedom to Operate search determines if the proposing process is infringing on some other systems or not. If you infringe on some other procedure, it also offers all the details of the companies with whom you need to arrange the licensing properties for the process.
Design And Equipment Selection Of The Workflow And The Plant
Freedom to Operate delivers insights on the way to design around the current proprietary technologies by selecting the non-infringing variables in the process’s entire flow.
Label, Packaging And Other Detail Selection
Labeling and packaging of the other proposed products come into play at a very late stage. Freedom to operate delivers detailed insights on whether to preclude the infringement possibilities of other intellectual property forms. It applies to the trademark and copyright of the technologies or products.
Country Wise Market Selection
Patents are mostly territorial. Thus an act that may be an infringement in one country may not be so in another one where no one can enforce a valid patent related to the process or product in question.
Technology Partner, Cross-Licensing Partner, And Strategic Alliance Partner Selection
In a difficult situation for a business, coming in contact with a non-infringing product or process is uncommon. In these scenarios, the development of the product becomes an effort for collaboration. Analysis of freedom to operate provides an overall idea of the organizations in the given product or technology segment with the specialties. In this way, you can make strategic decisions based on the cross-licensing and license with other companies depending on the freedom to operate search results.
Growing Need of Freedom To Operate Search In Different Sectors
There is a steady growing need to undergo the freedom to operate searches in the following sectors.
• Nuclear, wind, and solar energy sectors mainly in the Power and Energy industries
• Automobile industries in the manufacturing of electric and hybrid cars, fuel cells, and electric trains
• BioScience and pharmaceutical industries
• In the drug inventions for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Arthritis, Diabetes, and HIV
In today’s time, conducting successful freedom to operate search has become imperative to escape all the infringement lawsuits. An independent patent search company should conduct this under the supervision of the top patent attorney. It will offer you objective and impartial analysis. Furthermore, the findings of an FTO search by a professional company also act as evidence in the court proceedings against the lawsuits.
Thus never skip this search analysis before filing for a non-provisional patent application. In other words, the freedom to operate analysis plays a vital role in determining the product releasing route in the market for non-inventing organizations.