Photo: iStockphoto

Basis for Freedom to Operate

Do I have freedom to operate, or am I infringing the rights of others?

A Basis for Freedom to Operate (FTO) will provide you with a list of patents that may be significant for your scope to act in relation to a particular technology. This provides a good basis on which to assess the risk of infringement, and for navigating in areas where others already have established rights.

Discover possible obstacles

Patents owned by others can easily obstruct further product development. With a Basis for FTO within a particular technical area you will receive information concerning related patents.

Any relevant patents we discover do not necessarily pose an obstacle to free operation. If you would like us to check if they are still valid and in which countries, we can do this as an additional service.

Use a Basis for FTO if you

  • are in the process of launching a new product
  • will be launching an existing product in new markets
  • wish to identify the risk before investing in a business with patented technology
  • need clarification on similar, existing rights before filing a patent application
  • need inspiration for further development

Content and quality

  • The examination is done by patent examiners who specialise in the technical areas concerned. You can have a dialogue with this person before, during and after the preliminary examination.
  • You will receive a written report containing findings and comments. The report can be used as a basis for further analysis. If your company does not work with IPR on a daily basis, we recommend using a patent agency for the actual analysis to clarify whether you have "freedom to operate".

Which databases do we search in?

Our patent examiners use databases and tools to which only national patent offices have access.

We search in publicly available information. This means that national and international patent applications that are within the secrecy period of 18 months cannot be included in the assessments.

Checklist for ordering

  1. Description of what the purpose of the examination is, for example:
    • Identifying freedom to operate and risk of infringement prior to launch
    • Analysing the rights of others when launching in new markets
    • Clarifying the position before a new patent application is filed
    • Gaining inspiration for further development
    • Navigating outside patented areas
    • Basis for establishing assets in investment or sale
  2. Describe the technical area you want to have surveyed. Include adjacent areas that are relevant.
  3. Specify related patents and patent applications you are aware of. Ideally include technical expressions or keywords used in databases.
  4. Set a geographical limit – if there are particular countries that are more relevant than others.
  5. Specify players or competitors you are particularly interested in analysing.
  6. View websites, articles, drawings or other information that shed light on what you want to discover.

Ordering and delivery

You will usually receive the results of the preliminary examination within 10 working days.


We observe the statutory duty of secrecy in all preliminary examinations, and treat purchases of preliminary examinations confidentially.

Thank you for your feedback! If you need an answer, call +47 22 38 73 00 and talk to our Customer Service Centre.
This page was last modified: