Patent Information Users Group, Inc.

The International Society for Patent Information Professionals

PIUG Freedom to Operate Fundamentals: Comprehensive Techniques for Researching Freedom to Operate

A patent search to discover Freedom to Operate (FTO) or Freedom to Practice is one of the fundamental searches an Intellectual Property searcher must learn to master. FTO searches provide details on what is legally protected and can yield insight into making informed business decisions.

Freedom to Operate Fundamentals is taught by highly experienced PIUG members with many years of searching and training experience. Instructor bios are attached here. The course will build understanding of the fundamental concepts of FTO, and develop general techniques based on current patent law into focused strategies for performing FTO searches in the engineering, chemical, and biotech areas. It will demonstrate best practices for searching in each area and case studies of complete searches.

Discover targeted approaches that will help you be more effective by saving time and providing more accurate results. Learn how to utilize freely accessible resources for searching and how to determine what is legally in-force, including INPADOC, national patent office registers, and vendor offerings. This lecture-based course will include slide presentations, live examples of focused searches, and a printed handout.

Freedom to Operate Fundamentals is being offered on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. Registration is scheduled to open September 12, 2016. PIUG members are eligible for discounted rates. If you are not a member and wish to take advantage of the discounted rate, it is suggested to wait until October 1 to Join PIUG which will entitle you to membership for the fourth quarter of 2016 and all of 2017. After that, you will be eligible for member rates for this course and all other course offerings through December 2017 and for discounted rates for all three 2017 conferences. Find more information and register for the course here.

Topics covered include:

  • Understanding what steps are needed for a FTO search and identifying differences versus a prior art and other types of patent searches
  • Identifying resources for FTO searches and best practices for comprehensive search results
  • Search tips for performing FTO searches more efficiently and cost effectively
  • Working search examples and case studies in focused technology areas
  • Determining what patents are still in-force including finding patent term adjustments and extensions
  • Providing additional considerations for searching FTO outside the US
  • Best methods for reporting search results

Whether you are new to performing FTO searches or more experienced, this course will provide techniques to take your FTO research skills to the next level, and help advance your career.


Time Activity
8:00 - 8:30 am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45 am Welcome, Course Overview and Introductions
John Zabilski, Course Director
8:45 - 9:45 am An Introduction to FTO Searching
Dominic DeMarco
9:45 - 10:30 am Resources for FTO Determination
John Zabilski
10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 am - 12:15 pm Determining FTO in the Engineering Area
Dominic DeMarco
12:15 - 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 - 2:30 pm Determining FTO in the Chemical Area
John Zabilski
2:30 - 2:45 pm Break
2:45 - 4:15 pm Determining FTO in the Biotech Area
Greg Roland
4:15 - 4:30 pm Closing Remarks and Course Evaluations

If you perform Freedom to Operate (FTO) research, don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your conceptual understanding of FTO, and your skills, by attending this one-day course offered by the Patent Information Users Group (PIUG). The course will be held in the Haas Room at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Register Now

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Hotel Arrangements:

PIUG has made arrangements with the Best Western Plus: Independence Park Hotel, which is located less than one block from the Chemical Heritage Foundation. The PIUG room block covers both November 8th and 9th. Rooms must be reserved by Monday, October 17, 2016 at Noon by either calling 1-215-922-4443 and identifying yourself as being part of the "Patent Information Users Group" or by booking online. The group rate is $174/night for Deluxe Queen Accommodations and includes a Complimentary Hot Breakfast Buffet in their glass enclosed lower lobby along with Afternoon Tea and Snacks in their main lobby.

When this hotel room block is used up, other options can be found at this link provided by the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Please follow instructions provided on their page so you can get the best rates.

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