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Freedom to operate issues for startups. IAAE pre-conference workshop Gold Coast QLD :: 12 August 2006 Carol Nottenburg PhD JD. Freedom-to-operate (FTO). What’s FTO? Ability to research, develop, and commercialise a product without infringing on someone else’s rights.

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Freedom to operate issues for startups

Freedom to operate issues for startups

IAAE pre-conference workshop

Gold Coast QLD :: 12 August 2006

Carol Nottenburg PhD JD


Freedom to operate fto
Freedom-to-operate (FTO)

  • What’s FTO?

    • Ability to research, develop, and commercialise a product without infringing on someone else’s rights


Ways that rights are conferred
Ways that rights are conferred

  • Patents, plant breeders’ rights

  • Material transfer agreements (MTAs)

  • Licenses, including “shrink-wrap” contracts

  • Technology and research agreements

  • Genetic restrictions (e.g. GURTs, hybrids)


Need for fto analysis
Need for FTO Analysis

  • Ability to sell commercialised product

    • Patent owner can exclude you from making, using, selling, offering for sell, or importing her patented invention or product of patented method

  • Research and development planning

  • Identify potential partners

  • Obtain funding or investments


Ip audit
IP Audit

  • Review all contracts and licenses for limitations

    • employment Ks

    • grants from funding agencies

    • MTAs

    • collaborative agreements

  • Patent landscape analysis of technologies used


Technology landscape analysis
Technology landscape analysis

  • Determine technology area at issue

  • Search for IP rights that control technology

    • Identify patent owners, other key players

  • Predict probable meaning of patent claims

    • Determine relevance to start-up

  • Monitor pending patents and update search and analysis


Find ways to avoid infringment
Find ways to avoid infringment

  • License technology

  • Use alternative technologies

  • Partner / collaborate / merge with others

  • Confine R&D and commercialisation to countries without patents on technology


Major challenges and strategies
Major challenges and strategies

  • Education about patents, contracts, licenses,

  • Understand your rights

    • Know when / why you need to obtain a license

  • Enhance negotiation skills

    • Decide what you want and what you are willing to give up

  • Get assistance

    • PIIPA: public interest IP professionals helping in IP matters of LDCs; www.piipa.org


Thank you

Thank you

www.cougarlaw.com

[email protected]


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