IP Freedom To Operate Put Simply, With The 6T’s: Phase 1 – Preparing For And Conducting The Search

Author:Mr Duncan Bucknell
Profession:Duncan Bucknell

Take home

How confident are you that your next product launch or commercial innovation does not infringe anyone else's intellectual property rights? The fact that you're reading this article suggests that you are well aware that this is universally a bad (and usually expensive) mistake to make.

However, obtaining certainty about freedom to operate can be a complex and expensive process. The better you understand how the intellectual property landscape is structured, the better you can manage this risk and utilize resources necessary to do this.

Using the 6T's framework, you can quickly get a sense of the potential magnitude of a freedom to operate issue. This will help you to make faster and more effective business decisions, and potentially save a lot of time and money.

There are essentially two phases to a freedom to operate analysis. First you need to prepare for and conduct the search, and then you need to analyse the search results to see whether they may in fact stop you, and if necessary, what you can do about it.

This is the first of a two-part series on freedom to operate put simply with the 6T's framework. In the second part, we will look at how the 6T's framework assists with the analysis phase.

Just to read cap, the 6T's are: Type of IP, Time (until expiry), Territory, Terminated (the status of the IP right), Technical scope of the monopoly, True monopoly? (validity).

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My two most recent articles were:

Multi-country IP disputes in a single court - intriguing but unlikely for now

There's an exception to every simple rule in IP Strategy (Zyprexa).html

Other articles in the '6Ts' series:

IP Due Diligence - put simply (with the 6 T's)

Analysing IP - put simply

The Global Lipitor Patent Scorecard has recently been updated - click here.


Phase 1 -preparing for and conducting the search

Type of IP

Intellectual property rights have a habit of overlapping in the protection that they can provide for a given good or service. The message here is to be careful. It may not be enough to have only a patent or trademark search undertaken for your next product launch - as expensive as that may be.

For example if the product is of a particular shape or design it may be necessary to search also for design registrations (designed patents), and of...

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