According to a survey carried out by Derwent in Europe, over 70% of the companies involved in the survey admitted that they had spent money on R&D and patent developments and later found that the product or technology in development was already protected by a competitor’s patent.
Freedom to Operate search is performed to identify the patents and applications which may cover a proposed or existing product or method. This search is jurisdiction sensitive and involves the current legal status of the identified patents. It ensures that the proposed product/method does not infringe any in-force patents. In case it does, appropriate business actions can be taken, before launching the respective product in a particular jurisdiction.
It also opens doors for some design-around before the launch of the product to avoid any future litigations. Similarly, licensing options can be explored for providing a safe platform for the launch of the product. It helps in formulating the risk assessment related to infringement of granted patents and potential infringement of pending patent applications.