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Freedom to operate

Freedom to operate


The aim of a freedom to operate (FTO) study is to check if an activity such as commercialisation, importation or manufacture of a product infringes an intellectual property right. By extension, an FTO study can also be applied to check the dependency of a patented invention in relation to patents owned by third parties.

Checking the risks of freedom to operate is a delicate task, with major challenges.
IP TRUST has developed extensive expertise for these missions, assisting its customers in defining the goals and scope of the study, to optimise the mission’s cost:

  • Restricting the rights owned by competitors identified as being a source of potential risk
  • Geographic restriction taking into account the reality of the planned use
  • Restricting critical characteristics

This approach helps focus the study (and the allocated finances) on the patents presenting the greatest risk. It extends the analysis of their scope, validity and opposability without needless dispersal.


Objective consideration for risks and the quantification of their impact as well as their probability represent a key factor in an investor’s decision and in financial evaluation.

This is why we have developed a methodology which is particularly designed for enlightening financial decision-makers, taking into account the often short time-frames for producing such a study. We then assist all parties in organising guarantee formalities (liability guarantees, other financial tools for risk protection) and reducing risks (validation of alternative technical solutions, evasive strategies, etc.).

We have also developed educational presentations to help explain often very technical concepts, using highly informative and graphic designs.


For the launch of an innovative project or industrial and commercial product production, two situations arise:

Need for patent mapping: in this case, we proceed by identifying patents in the specific technical field and the major owners, with mapping of the identified patents.
Detailed analysis of one or several known patents or patents owned by a sensitive competitor: in this case, we proceed with an in-depth analysis of the scope, validity and opposability of the patents with anticipation of the estimated scope when the patent application is not yet granted, to provide a clear indication of the possible risks. We use decision tree presentations and scenarios to help a director make enlightened decisions with full knowledge of the risk factors.

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