Freedom to Operate Investigations (FTO)
The purpose of a Freedom to Operate Investigation (FTO) is to investigate and assess the risk of possible patent infringement. FTOs are usually carried out before a new product is launched on the market. We investigate what patent protection your competitors have, what design protection exists and on which markets relevant protection exists or perhaps does not exist. This is done using a combination of database searches and analysis of the scope of protection in existing patents within the relevant technical field.
An FTO study can result in a decision to launch, or to delay launching, a product on a particular market, or perhaps to attempt to design around an existing patent in order to avoid infringement.