Freedom to Operate

How do you know if your invention is free to use? You could be a counterfeiter of a competitor’s patent without knowing it. It is therefore important to conduct a freedom to operate (FTO) study in order to be able to commercialize safely.

Your stakes

You innovate, you may protect yourself by filing patents… but so do your competitors! 

It is therefore important to make sure that you are not counterfeiting one or more of your competitors’ patents, without knowing it. The consequences could be disastrous: seizure of your products, marketing ban, damages, legal fees in case of litigation, not to mention the brand image damage for your company. 


A FTO study to remove your doubts

To remove this sword of Damocles, investors, private or public, as well as company managers have a FTO study carried out on each new project to check the existing patents of competitors, to ensure their validity or the means of bypassing them, and thus secure their investments. Our industrial property attorneys, accredited by INPI and European Patent Attorneys, are at your disposal to carry out any type of FTO study, validity study of an embarrassing patent, or a complete study for a fund raising

Contact us and we will be happy to prepare a personalized and cost-effective quotation.

Even acting in good faith, you might be a counterfeiter

It is not easy to be the first one on a market, and even less to be the first one to file a patent in order to protect your invention. Also, you are not guaranteed that a competitor has not, before you, already filed a patent application on an invention similar to yours.

You are not necessarily informed of this despite your market study. Indeed, patents are not published on databases until 18 months after they have been filed and a patent is not necessarily advertised by the inventor, nor exploited.

This is the reason why, without a FTO study, it is possible that you are an infringer, and condemned as such by a court, even if you are in good faith. As the saying goes: “No one is supposed to ignore the law”! 

Patent validity

When a patent is granted, it is granted in the country or countries chosen by the patentee for a period of 20 years. The patent allows you to have exclusive rights on an invention. If you are using a technical solution that a competitor has patented before you in the last 20 years, in the same territory, you are a counterfeiter and may be punished by a court of law. 

If you have already carried out a FTO study on an invention in France, it is important to update it regularly, in case a new patent has been published and in particular during the international development of your company to verify the presence of troublesome patents in these countries. It is important to know, for example, that more than one million patents have been filed in China in 2020! Before going to a new market, think about ordering a FTO study from YesMyPatent to check that your product is not protected by one of the (many) patents issued.