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Freedom To Operate

Freedom to Operate (FTO) studies are rapidly becoming a must. The proliferation of patents and patent-related litigation makes commercializing an invention without an FTO clearance a risky strategy. But traditional FTO studies are expensive and fail to provide guidance beyond the narrow scope of the opinion.

The Schwegman Patent Intelligence process (SPI) is a revolutionary approach to FTO and landscape analysis that not only slashes the costs of such studies, but provides a far more useful work product that serves as a tool to guide future development efforts.

FTO: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Although receiving a patent allows you to exclude others from practicing your invention, it does not give you the exclusive right to practice your own invention. For example, a third-party may have an even broader (“dominant”) patent that encompasses your invention. A “Freedom to Operate” (FTO) determination can help ascertain whether your product or method can be practiced without infringing potentially valid patent rights of another.

Commercializing your invention will involve a considerable expense. Therefore, risk management is extremely important. The risk of being blocked from making, using, selling, or importing your invention can be best managed by performing an FTO investigation early and often before or during product development to provide a roadmap that can help you steer clear of such risks.

FTO: A Revolutionary Process Change

To help you establish “Freedom to Operate,” Schwegman has invested a significant amount of resources to develop an efficient, cost effective FTO charting software (ClaimScape®) and corresponding process. ClaimScape® claim charts can be updated, are reusable, interactive, and provide a strategic FTO knowledge base that can grow with your business and become a valuable asset.

Schwegman’s charting software focuses on reducing sets of patent claims to a set of constituent “Scope Concepts” that represent the limitations recited in the various claims. These scope concepts can provide a powerful categorization, filtering, and search­ing mechanism for quickly and accurately analyzing large numbers of patent claims concurrently against an unlimited number of your target products or methods.

Beyond FTO, ClaimScape® claim charts can be leveraged for:

  • Due Diligence
  • Offensive Assertion Investigations
  • Coverage Review
  • Invalidity Investigations
  • Reveal Unclaimed Subject Matter
  • Categorization