What is Freedom to operate Search?
The Freedom to Operate search ensures a patent applicant that the product is cleared to be commercialized and/or used. It helps you avoid potential patent infringement and also facilitate the decisioning for patent licensing or formulating / adopting alternate strategies. Freedom to Operate Search is also commonly referred as Right to Use search or Clearance Search.
Core objective of Freedom to Operate Search is to determine if your idea infringes with any existing patents, and if so, serves as fore-warning not the head in that direction, but change course and protect your R&D interests. If you potentially infringe someone's patent(s), there is a good possibility that they will attempt to invalidate those claims. So, if you know ahead of time there is such a likelihood, you can work-around, redesign or abandon your idea.
Typically, details of Freedom to Operate Search report includes:
Search of unexpired patents
Search expired patents as well as pending or abandoned patent applications
Patent references and relevancy
Legal status of all patents