Your source for expert commentary on IP management issues.
Patent Mining for Freedom to Operate (FTO) Analysis
Presented by: Stanley P Kowalski, J.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Law and Director,
International Technology Transfer Institute
at Pierce Law Center
Freedom to Operate (FTO) is the ability to proceed with the research, development and/or commercial production of a new product or process with a minimal risk of infringing the unlicensed intellectual property (IP) rights or tangible property (TP) rights of third parties. The procedure for assessing whether the product or process possesses FTO is called the FTO analysis, performed by meticulously dissecting the product or process into its fundamental components and then scrutinizing each for any attached IP or TP rights. The early preparations for an FTO analysis are crucial, because they will influence all that follows and hence determine the quality of the work product. Thorough preparation will lay a solid foundation, supporting a credible and reliable FTO analysis; this includes searching both the scientific and patent literature, and careful organization and analysis of results. This talk is presented in framework of FTO as a series of strategic steps in innovation management and risk assessment: from FTO analysis to FTO status to FTO opinion and then to FTO strategy, all within the context of accelerating global access to critical innovations in health and agriculture.