Freedom To Operate

 

A freedom to operate search identifies potential roadblocks for the commercialization of products or technologies by identifying both unexpired (which are in-force or within the term of 20 years) patents and expired patents. Discovery of relevant un-expired patents allows you to analyze the existing intellectual property rights owned by others with regard to the product or technology of yours so that you can prevent infringement issues.

Additionally, analysis of expired patents helps you make a judgment whether the claimed technology is in the public domain and thus free to use.