Structuring Freedom to Operate Opinions: Reducing Risk of Patent Infringement

Combating Troubling FTO Results, Overcoming Potential Roadblocks, Addressing Impact of Post-Grant Process on FTO Opinions

A live 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, February 11, 2022

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide patent counsel preparing freedom to operate (FTO) opinions for companies developing new products. The panel will outline best practices for drafting FTO opinions to reduce infringement risks and exposure to potential damages awards.


Patent FTO searching and analysis is a critical component in developing a product. Counsel must prepare product inventors to document information for sound decisions regarding whether they have the FTO in a particular technology area.

The Federal Circuit has emphasized the continuing relevance and importance of FTO opinions for avoiding enhanced damages in post-Halo cases like Omega Patents v. CalAmp. The Supreme Court also underscored the importance of non-infringement opinions as a defense to active inducement of infringement in its decision in Commil USA v. Cisco Sys.

Companies should work with counsel to develop an FTO opinion before proceeding with research, development, and commercialization of a product or service to minimize the risk of infringing another's patent rights. Further, counsel should anticipate and prepare for potential post-grant validity or patentability challenges and their potential impact on FTO analysis.

Listen as our authoritative panel of patent attorneys discusses best practices when drafting FTO opinions for companies planning to develop new products. The panel will discuss the impact of post-grant challenges and strategies for employing FTO opinions.



  1. The value of FTO opinions
    1. Legal and business benefits
    2. Use of advice of counsel in litigation defense
    3. Privilege and confidentiality
  2. Strategies for drafting and developing FTO opinions
    1. When should FTO opinions be prepared?
    2. Who are the audiences for an FTO opinion?
    3. How should an FTO opinion be structured?
    4. Avoiding common mistakes
    5. Alternative resolutions
  3. Relation of post-grant proceedings to FTO opinions


The panel will review these and other crucial issues:

  • What legal framework is used to assess a party's intent for willfulness/enhanced damages and inducement of infringement, and what aspects are still unsettled?
  • What are best practices for patent counsel when analyzing FTO issues and structuring FTO opinions?
  • When should counsel seek FTO opinions to protect new research and products from infringement claims?
  • What is the impact of the post-grant process on FTO opinions?


Zuege, Austen
Austen Zuege

Intellectual Property Attorney
Westman Champlin & Koehler

Mr. Zuege focuses his practice on intellectual property law in both transactional and litigation settings, including...  |  Read More

Additional faculty
to be announced.
Attend on March 10

Early Discount (through 02/11/22)

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Early Discount (through 02/11/22)

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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