Freedom To Use Opinions

Freedom to Use, or Clearance opinions, are provided to establish if a particular device or activity infringes a patent.  They can be requested with respect to a particular patent, or a group of related patents.

A freedom to use opinion may be necessary if a company is worried that its practices may infringe the rights of one or more patent.  The opinion looks at the patent(s) and compares it to the device or activity of the company.  This involves analyzing each claim of the patent(s) in light of the specifications of the patent(s).  The analysis may require investigation into the file wrapper or prosecution history of the patent(s) in question.

Freedom to Use Opinions are very useful as they provide companies with a testament that due care and consideration was taken when deciding to proceed with a questioned activity.  These opinions are instrumental in lowering exposure to damages (e.g. treble damages) should infringement be proven.

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