Freedom to operate (APIC)

Finding IP risk with respect to planned product/process/countries-combination. Search, filter and present of all alive patent rights (pending, or granted) within context of the planned product or process and the envisaged countries for production, promotion or sales.


After completing this module the participant is able to expert execute FTO-searches


Advanced tips -FUNdamentals- and tricks for clearance searching, including mostly infringement search + and consequently possible validity search:

  • Intake discussion with the customer to understand scope of the search (also what to exclude); countries of production/market, competition
  • Analyze and understand inter-operability of technical features of product/process; translation of important features into a search strategy
  • Generalize and specialize technical features; broadening and narrowing the search regarding the technical features
  • Essentials; search for the essence; what is the problem-solution per feature; when was this problem first disclosed?
  • Search for technical feature on a timeline. Determining time scale for searching potentially in force patents
  • Reasoning and being creative through the different search strategies. Manage search scope details
  • Claim analysis
  • Knowledge on identifying product features in claim language
  • Evaluating claims to assess relevancy
  • Determining the status of a patent to determine whether it is still in force
  • Search-checks about precision, recall and so completeness - know when to stop
  • Finalize search results


Ton de Graaff