Clearance Search (Freedom To Operate)

A Clearance Search or Freedom-To-Operate Search or Right-to-use Search establishes whether - and where - you can legally bring your invention to market.

How Clearance Search differs from Infringement Search

Clearance Searches and Infringement Searches both seek to ensure that new or planned products can be brought to market without fear of litigation from patent-holders. However, an infringement search limits itself to enforceable patents (or pending applications) solely in the country where you plan to market the product. A Clearance Search goes further - it seeks to establish where in the world the product could be marketed without infringing unexpired patents.

Using Clearance Search to exploit your invention

In an era of globalisation, a Clearance Search can be seen as an important method for expanding the potential of your product. Each new territory where you have "freedom to operate" represents a possible lucrative new market for your invention.

What to search in a Clearance Search

In scope, a Clearance Search can be seen as a combination of a Patentability Search and an Infringement Search. Consequently, a Clearance Search includes:

  • Granted patents (expired and unexpired)
  • Published patent applications
  • Non-patent literature.

Learn more about Searching

Learn more about our other Patent Search services or contact Filament today to discuss your Clearance Search requirements.

establish whether - and where - you can legally operate