Freedom To Practice
A freedom to practice opinion is based on a type of search that is focused on a product that you might want to sell, and asks whether somebody already owns the patent for it. We define the product exactly, and then search the relevant patent database (U.S. patents for a product that you want to sell in the U.S.) If the holder of a patent feels you are infringing their patent, the opinion does not stop them from taking you to court. It does provide evidence, among other things, that you acted in good faith in taking your product to market.
Note that in this type of search we a looking at the claims of prior art patents, as that is what we would be infringing if we found a problem.
Establishing if a patent will be infringed may involve some interpretation of the relevant art. It is clear if a patent will be infringed exactly – your intended commercial product falls exactly within the scope of the claims of somebody’s patent. There is a legal “doctrine of equivalents” that says that if you are close enough in certain regards to somebody’s claims, you may also have a problem. This situation has to be examined on a case by case basis in light of case law.
I can do right to practice searches and write opinions based on those searches for you in the U.S.