You have a new product ready to launch. But can you legally operate in your market without infringing on competitors' patents? Wise innovators turn to patent databases for freedom to operate (FTO) analysis before rollout. Follow these tips to utilize databases in your FTO assessments.
Run Broad Keyword Searches:
Start by brainstorming broad keywords on your product's technology, features and functions. Use these to run wide patent searches across databases like Espacenet, USPTO and CIPO. Analyze the results for relevant competing IP.
Drill Down with Advanced Search Techniques:
Employ operators like AND, OR and NOT to refine searches and drill down to the most applicable patents. For example "wireless AND (charging OR power) NOT pad" retrieves highly targeted results. Save search strings for iteration.
Study Patent Classifications:
Check what patent classifications your results fall under. Search directly within these specific technology subclasses to uncover all relevant patents grouped there, even those that don't match your keywords.
Analyze Claim Language:
Carefully study the claims of each patent to decipher what's definitively covered by the Intellectual Property(IP) rights. This reveals potential infringement risks not apparent from the keywords alone. Search claims directly for your product features.
Consult with Intellectual Property(IP) Counsel:
Have an IP lawyer assess your patent search results from an infringement perspective. Their expert legal eye can spot issues and evaluate your freedom to operate more accurately.
Conduct Ongoing Monitoring:
Set up search alerts for new applications so you can periodically check for IP activity in your market. Maintaining awareness helps avoid infringement down the road.
Leveraging patent databases for effective FTO analysis is crucial to your product's success. A rigorous search helps you operate freely without legal entanglements. Protect your investment and pave the way to market.