There are many reasons why a company may want to avoid patenting a particular invention, e.B cost or the fact that the invention may not meet the criteria for patentability. An alternative sometimes used by companies is “defensive publishing” or technical disclosure. This is in stark contrast to being kept as a trade secret. If the patent search reveals that no patent is blocking market access and that a new technology is likely to meet the patentability criteria, a business owner may want to apply for patent protection for the new technology to ensure a higher level of operational freedom rather than preserve it as a trade secret. Agreements of this type have become a common practice in some sectors, as companies want to ensure that their products, processes and services do not infringe the patent rights of others. Patent litigation can be a costly, uncertain and risky affair, and as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. This article explores various strategies that companies can consider to reduce these risks and maximize their freedom of action. The WIPO magazine is designed to help the public better understand ip and the work of WIPO, and is not an official WIPO document. The designations used in this publication and the presentation of the material do not imply the expression of an opinion of WIPO on the legal status of any country, territory or its authorities or on the demarcation of its borders or borders. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. Mentioning certain companies or products of manufacturers does not mean that they are approved or recommended by WIPO, rather than others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.
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Systematically assessing a company`s freedom of action before launching a new product is therefore a way to minimize the risk of a patent infringing on the patents of others. It will also improve a company`s chances of finding business partners and attracting investors to support its business development plans. An FTO analysis based on the patent literature search is only the first step. If the patent search reveals that one or more patents restrict a company`s freedom of action, the company must decide how to proceed. Assuming that the blocking patent is valid, you can do the following: purchase the patent or license. Licensing involves obtaining written permission from the patent owner to use the patented technology for certain actions, in certain markets and for a specified period of time. The appropriateness of such an agreement depends to a large extent on the terms of the proposed licence. Although there is a potential loss of autonomy and the patent owner requires the payment of a lump sum and/or regular royalties, this may be the easiest way to pave the way for the commercialization of a new technology or product. Cross-licensing. Two or more companies exchange licenses in order to be able to use certain patents of the other parties. To cross-license, a company needs a patent portfolio that is well protected and useful for potential licensing partners. If you start evaluating options early, you can save time and money.
While an absolute guarantee of freedom to operate is never feasible, there are ways to minimize risks that can save a company significant resources. When searching and analyzing FTO, it should be borne in mind that some of the limitations of patents also offer potential opportunities. For example: invent around. A third option is to “invent” the invention. This means controlling research or making changes to the product or process to avoid infringing on another`s patents. For example, if the freedom to operate is restricted by a process patent, a company may be able to develop another method to achieve a similar end result and thus be able to commercialize the invention without having to pay a royalty to someone else. In September 2003, three pharmaceutical companies, Cambridge Antibody Technology, Micromet AG and Enzon Pharmaceuticals, announced the signing of a non-exclusive cross-licensing agreement. The agreement gave the three parties considerable “freedom to operate”, allowing each other to use some of their respective patented technologies. This has enabled them to conduct research and develop a defined number of antibody-based therapeutic and diagnostic products. Without exception, a Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis begins with searching for patents in the literature on granted or pending patents and obtaining legal advice on whether a product, process or service can be considered an infringement of the patents of others.
Many private law or intellectual property law firms offer their clients such analyses as part of their legal services. Some national intellectual property offices (e.B the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property) also offer such services for a fee. Whenever a company plans to develop and launch a new product, a major risk, especially in technology sectors where there are large patents, is that commercialization may be blocked by a competitor who views a patent as a technology integrated into that product. For this reason, many companies try to guarantee their “freedom to operate” at an early stage, i.e. to ensure that the commercial production, marketing and use of their new product, process or service does not infringe the intellectual property rights of others. Legends: A cross-licensing agreement could help ensure freedom to operate. However, there is a clear limit to the extent to which the patent owner has the freedom to act. A patent in itself does not offer the right to commercialize the protected technology, but only to prevent others from commercializing it. While the distinction may seem subtle, it is crucial. For example, a third party may have an even broader patent that includes the subject matter of the first company`s patent.
In any case, freedom of work is one of the reasons why companies apply for patent protection. Although granting a patent in itself is not enough to pave the way for commercialization, it is a useful step that can prevent problems at a later stage. Patent pools. It is a mechanism whereby two or more companies practicing related technologies register their patents in a pool to set up a patent rights exchange center. A well-known example of a patent pool is the patent pool formed by Sony, Philips and Pioneer for inventions that are essential for compliance with certain standard DVD-Video and DVD-ROM specifications. They are highly sensitive, private and sexually passive; They like a partner who takes the lead. Music, soft lights and romantic thoughts turn you on. They fantasize, but do not tend to fall in love easily. When you are in love, you are romantic, idealistic, pasty and extremely intense. You enjoy it when your senses and feelings are stimulated, irritated, and teased. You are a great flirt.. .