Presented by
Management Forum

Freedom-to-Operate Searching

Get to grips with the fundamentals of FTO searching, understand the scope of a search and analyse the types of rights you will encounter.

11 Apr 2022 + 1 more date

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  • Format: Live online
  • CPD: 6 hours for your records
  • Certificate of completion

Course overview

To excel in your searching role you need to get to grips with the fundamentals of FTO, understand the scope of a search and analyse the types of rights you will encounter. Critically, you also need to understand how to interpret and evaluate the results from an FTO perspective. Are you up to date with the latest searching methods and technologies? Can you verify the status of patents and report your FTO search accurately?

This must-attend, value-rich event, led by an expert in the field, will answer all your queries and ensure you’re working effectively and comprehensively to get the best results for your business or client.

Who should attend?

  • All those working in IP or patent information or patent engineer roles either in industry or legal businesses, including:
    • IP managers
    • Patent research specialists and analysts
    • Patent attorneys
  • R&D scientists and engineers wanting to ensure they are not ‘re-inventing the wheel’
  • Customer service and training representatives in the commercial information provider community who want to know more about what their customers do with patent data
  • All those wanting to consolidate and enhance their skills in searching

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The Freedom-to-Operate Searching course will cover:

Background and motivations to freedom-to-operate searching

  • Understanding the background to a search
  • Extent and definitions
  • Terminology variation and search objectives
  • Types of infringement
  • Clearance
  • Duties of the searcher
  • Timescales and scope

Fundamentals of FTO search scope

  • Considerations for source selection
  • Understanding terminology in the prior art
  • Analysing the search question: multiple aspects or features
  • Understanding the results from an FTO perspective and interpreting claims: multiple aspects or features

Methods for searching for claimed features; full text and text segments, extended classifications

  • Stages of the search
  • The subject matter
  • Scope and sequence
  • Source selection and searchable claims
  • Full text and text segments searching techniques
  • Extended classifications and navigating the hierarchy
  • Limitation of results
  • Using basic legal status tools to assist evaluation – finding amended claims
  • After the subect search – verifying status of patents

Reporting aspects for an FTO search

  • Form of the report
  • What to report – content and scope
  • How to report it
  • Follow-up possibilities

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Stephen Adams

Stephen Adams is Director of Magister Ltd, a patents documentation consultancy and training service. For a number of years, he worked as a technical information searcher in the field of food science at the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food. Following a period as editor of ‘International Packaging Abstracts’ at Pira International, he moved to ICI Agrochemicals (later Zeneca Agrochemicals) to become their principal patent searcher. He founded Magister Limited in 1997. Between 2002 and 2006, Stephen served as the first non-US ‘Director at Large’ for the Patent Information Users Group (PIUG Inc). In 2014, he was re-elected as Vice-Chair of the same organisation. In May 2008, he received a Special Recognition Award from the PIUG. He is also on the editorial board of ‘World Patent Information’, the international journal for industrial property documentation, information, classification and statistics. In 2012 Stephen was named as the IPI-Award recipient by the Selection Board of the International Patent Information Award for that year. He is the author of ‘Information Sources in Patents’, as well as numerous publications and articles.

More details

Book Freedom-to-Operate Searching Live online training

11 Apr 2022

Live online

09:30-17:00 UK (London) (UTC+01)
10:30-18:00 Paris (UTC+02)
04:30-12:00 New York (UTC-04)
Course code 11558

  • GBP 499 599
  • EUR 719 859
  • USD 814 970

Until 07 Mar

In your basket 

13 Oct 2022

Live online

09:00-17:00 UK (London) (UTC+01)
10:00-18:00 Paris (UTC+02)
04:00-12:00 New York (UTC-04)
Course code 11722

  • GBP 499 599
  • EUR 719 859
  • USD 814 970

Until 08 Sep

In your basket 

Reviews of IPI's Freedom-to-Operate Searching training course

Very comprehensive talk, with great content.

Feb 25 2021

Luke Townsend
IP Researcher, Oxford Biomedica

Feb 28 2020

Stephen Adams was excellent. He has experience in the field, was easy to follow and gave a good answer to difficult questions.

Shire Elmi
Examiner, Patentstyret

Oct 11 2018

The speaker was clearly extremely knowledgable and delivered the material in a fun way.

Kapil Agashi
Patent Advisor, Boots UK Ltd

Feb 9 2017

Enjoyed the course and found very useful. Would recommend.

Alan Hazzard
Head of Intellectual Property, Pilkington Technology Management Limited

Feb 9 2017

The course was well structured and delivered by a very experienced person. It delivered what I had expected in a clear and concise manner – I am happy.

Peter O'Donoghue
Technology Partner, De Beers UK Ltd

Feb 9 2017

Very well-structured course with interesting subject matter.

Dionysios Athanassiou
IP Enforcement Engineer, BIC VIolex S.A

Oct 5 2016

Content was well covered and the speaker addressed questions in a very clear way.

Montserrat Vasquez
Senior Scientist, Proctor & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd

Oct 5 2016

Everything was up to my highest satisfaction!

Kaushalya Perera
IP Analyst, MAS Innovation


  • Appleyard Lees IP LLP
  • Boots UK Ltd
  • British American Tobacco
  • De Beers UK Ltd
  • De La Rue plc
  • Innovia Films Limited
  • Oxford Biomedica
  • Pilkington Technology Management Limited
  • Proctor & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd
  • William Blythe Ltd
  • Wolviston Group Ltd


  • Coloplast
  • Coloplast A/S
  • Inspicos A/S
  • Patrade A/S
  • Terma A/S


  • GEA Food Solutions Bakel B.V.
  • Innoenergy
  • IZI Patents
  • KIC InnoEnergy S.E


  • GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH
  • Gulde & Partner
  • Umicore


  • Colorobbia España S.A.
  • MTG
  • Torner, Juncosa i Associats, S.L.


  • Umicore
  • Umicore Research & Development


  • Industrie De Nora S.p.A
  • Pirelli Tyre


  • Norwegian Industrial Property Office
  • Patentstyret


  • Unilab Inc
  • Unilab Inc.


  • AB Tetra Pak
  • AstraZeneca AB


  • Enterprise Estonia


  • Papula-Nevinpat


  • BIC VIolex S.A

Sri Lanka

  • MAS Innovation


  • sophia genetics

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Multiple colleagues?
Talk to one of our training experts to discuss how to:

Run this course conveniently and cost-effectively in-house for your staff and colleagues

Aleksandra BEER
Training expert

+44 (0)20 7749 4749