FTO / Clearance Searches are Most Critical Amongst Prior Art Searches

… and we fully understand the impact it can have on any business

Each patent search is unique, and the approach should vary not only on the basis of technology domain but also on the end objective of the search. Freedom to Operate/Clearance searches, become extremely critical in minimizing the risks of infringing unlicensed 3rd party IP rights. The best time to perform a FTO analysis, is prior to committing too many resources into Research & Development, as that would give ample time to strategize for next steps. Companies failing to do so could suffer dire consequences.

Freedom to Operate Studies / Clearance Searches should be focused on not just finding a good prior art, but to not miss that elusive broad patent, and we understand:

  • The future implications of FTO studies, and also include such patents which have a potential to enter that particular geography in due course.
  • The Jurisdictional differences in Law regarding infringement and assess limitations in claims to explore possible opportunities
  • That detailed latest legal status analysis for each member in a patent family across geographies can have vital influence
  • The need for a detailed claim analysis with precise explanations on the extent of infringement vis-à-vis the claims to identify potential workarounds
  • That there could be potential threats from other kinds of IPR beyond just patents, in some special cases, and ensure that there are no plant variety rights, trademarks or other IP rights that might block the product or, the process used to develop it, or the way you wish to market.
  • The importance of using Multi-Pronged lateral search strategies for Comprehensiveness including search for patents from prominent scientists in the field.
  • The kind of decision to be taken using our reports, therefore we present
    • a clear illustrative textual mapping and
    • analyst comments on similarities and dissimilarities to each identified prior art.

The Process…

Our FTO Process


  1. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree patents represent the most significant IP hurdle a company may face, but a complete FTO analysis should examine other types of IP, including copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress.

    When you offer complete consultancy to any company then a FTO study is linked to the launch of a product. In those cases a trademark search is an essential feature in order to avoid future litigation, owing to existing registered marks. For example: If you want to commercialize a new variety of seed in a country and even though you have no patents covering the technology, any other right such as plant variety rights / trademarks or other IP rights may invite future infringement suits. Feel free to contact us in case of any other queries.

  2. Hello there,
    First of all congratulations on writing article on FTO.
    Yes, one must to take care of all points mentioned in the article.
    I have been working in the field of around one decadd and performed manh FTO searches in various jurisdiction and foe several clients. My comment is with respect to Point no 5 (for other type of IP rights than patent).
    Its very good point to discuss further, ans never ever asked even by clients either to find any other IP than patent is out.
    I am trying to see how crucial it will be to find other IP right (e.g. trademark), will this stop our client on their freedom-to-operate right? I dont think so.
    Any other view / comment welcome. Regards – Paresh

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