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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
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