About the service

Prior to introducing a product or service to the market, it is crucial to conduct a Freedom to Operate (FTO) or Clearance Search within the relevant jurisdictions. This proactive step helps evaluate the risk of potential infringement and mitigates the possibility of future legal disputes. FTO searches typically focus on a specific jurisdiction, but it's advisable to extend the search to international applications that may potentially enter the target jurisdictions for comprehensive assurance. An FTO search entails a specific examination of patent claims to identify any that could apply to the features of the intended product or service. This process provides the confidence needed to confidently launch your offering.


The Methodology of Freedom to Operate (FTO) search involves broadly scoping, understanding, searching, analysis, and reporting.

Scope of the Project

The FTO search project encompasses patents and published patent applications worldwide, focusing on content available in the English language and machine translation.

The FTO search is conducted in three phases, following a structured approach :

Step 1

Understanding the Technology

In this initial phase, we immerse ourselves in the domain of interest, gaining a deep understanding of the technology.

Step 2


We perform a comprehensive search on patent databases.

Our search strategies encompass :

  • Keyword-based searching

  • Class-based searching, including IPC/USC/CPC classifications.

  • Assignee and inventor-based searching.

  • Citation searching, to identify related patents.

  • For patents, we harness databases like Orbit (from Questel, covering ~100 jurisdictions)., Derwent Innovation (covering ~100 jurisdictions worldwide), Google Patent, and Espacenet.

Step 3

Analysis and Reporting

We identify the relevant patent references on the basis of Title, Abstract, and Claims based screening.

Deliverable Format  The final deliverable is a structured MS Excel-based report. This report includes all references located during the search.
At Effectual Services, we follow a rigorous and systematic approach to FTO searches, ensuring that our clients receive a comprehensive and well-organized report that aids informed decision-making and innovation in their respective domains.

Why Choose us?

There are several compelling reasons to choose Effectual Services for your Freedom to Operate (FTO) search needs :

"At Effectual, we have successfully delivered 500+ Freedom to Operate (FTO) search projects worldwide in various branches of science for gathering and analyzing the latest advancements and innovations in specific scientific fields such as biotechnology, chemistry, environmental science, computer science, medical science, material science, agricultural science, neuroscience, energy science, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering searches etc.

As a leader in IP services, we bring proven expertise, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to your success.

"Unlock Innovation and Stay Ahead of the Curve! Choose Effectual Services for Your Freedom to Operate (FTO) Search Today.

Join hands with us and experience the difference. Contact us today to explore how we can make your projects a resounding success !

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Case Study

Sanitary Fitting Application


The client faced multiple challenges while seeking to improve sanitary fitting innovations. They were in search of a sanitary fitting device that featured an operating lever and cartridges for operation. Their goal was to expedite the product launch incorporating these innovations.


Our team performed a comprehensive exploration across multiple patent repositories, encompassing the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Leveraging advanced search algorithms and semantic analysis, we aimed to uncover patent records associated with sanitary fitting relevant to the sanitary fitting application.


We effectively pinpointed several patents associated with sanitary fittings that held promise for potential applications in the field. This enabled the client to steer clear of potential infringement concerns and gleaned valuable insights to inform their product development.

Tire Side Design


The client encountered numerous challenges during the product launch and expressed a desire to identify any existing patents related to these specific products.


Effectual Services delivered a comprehensive FTO Search report, providing vital solutions and insights for the client's needs. Key recommendations include defining the specific scope of the tire design, encompassing elements like tread patterns, materials, and manufacturing processes. The report emphasized conducting a thorough prior art search to uncover relevant patents, and applications. It also advised evaluating the validity and enforceability of identified patents and analyzing competitors' patent portfolios for potential risks or licensing prospects. Integrating FTO analysis into the client's overarching IP strategy was recommended, with the option to explore licensing or acquisition opportunities in case the analysis revealed significant challenges.

Client testimonial

"I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to Effectual Services for the outstanding Freedom to Operate (FTO) search services you provided to us. Your expertise and commitment to ensuring our tire technology is compliant with intellectual property regulations have been truly exceptional."

Tire Manufacturing Company

"I am truly grateful for the exceptional service and support we received from Effectual Services. Their dedication to precision, expertise, and customer satisfaction was evident in every interaction. I wholeheartedly recommend Effectual Services to anyone in need of FTO search services in the field of sanitary fitting applications."

Sanitary fitting Company


A Freedom to Operate (FTO) search is required in various situations, particularly when an individual or organization is planning to develop, manufacture, market, or use a new product, process, or technology. The primary purpose of an FTO search is to assess the legal risks associated with intellectual property (IP) infringement and to determine whether there are any existing patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other IP rights that might prevent the intended use or commercialization of the innovation

Conducting an FTO search is a proactive step to identify and mitigate legal risks associated with IP infringement. It allows you to make informed decisions, avoid costly legal disputes, and protect your investments in innovation and product development. Engaging with legal professionals, such as patent attorneys or IP experts, can be valuable in conducting thorough and accurate FTO analyses.

The FTO search helps the clients to :
  • Risk Mitigation : FTO searches help identify potential intellectual property (IP) risks and legal obstacles early in the innovation or product development process. This allows you to take proactive measures to mitigate these risks, reducing the likelihood of costly IP infringement lawsuits.
  • Protecting Investments : FTO analysis protects your investments in research, development, and product commercialization. It ensures that your resources are directed toward projects that are less likely to encounter IP-related setbacks.
  • Confidence in Innovation : Knowing that your innovation or product does not infringe on existing IP rights provides confidence in your ability to bring it to market successfully. It allows you to focus on innovation without the fear of legal repercussions.
  • Intellectual Property Strategy : FTO analysis informs your intellectual property strategy. It helps you make informed decisions about pursuing patents, trademarks, or copyrights for your own innovations and technologies.
  • Negotiating Licenses : If an FTO search identifies IP rights owned by others that are relevant to your business, it provides a basis for negotiating licensing agreements. This can enable you to legally use third-party technology or IP assets.
  • Investor and Stakeholder Confidence : Conducting FTO searches can enhance investor and stakeholder confidence. It demonstrates that you have considered and managed potential IP risks, making your business more attractive to investors and partners.
  • Strategic Decision-Making : FTO analysis informs strategic decision-making throughout your product development and market entry processes. It helps you determine whether to proceed with a particular project, make design modifications, or explore alternative technologies.
  • Compliance and Reputation : Demonstrating a commitment to respecting IP rights and legal compliance enhances your company's reputation. It reduces the risk of damaging your brand through legal disputes.

Yes, a Freedom to Operate (FTO) search can be tailored to specific geographic regions. In fact, customizing the scope of an FTO search to focus on particular geographic areas is a common and practical approach, especially when dealing with international markets or when the relevance of intellectual property (IP) rights varies by region.

The information obtained in a Freedom to Operate (FTO) search is typically treated as confidential and subject to strict confidentiality agreements between the client and the professionals conducting the search.
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