Innovations in an industrial or technical area can be protected by way of the different registration modalities at our disposal: patents, utility models and industrial designs.
One of the main advantages of registration is that it grants a temporary exclusive right, a state-guaranteed monopoly that facilitates generating a return on innovative effort and excludes competitors whilst this exclusive right is in force.
Similarly, if an innovation cannot be protected due to legal constraints, or due to a matter of opportunity, the possibility of obtaining unregistered protection should also be taken into consideration, for example, as a trade secret or know-how.
Patents are a fundamental tool for economic development and they contribute immensely to the generation of technological capital and added value. The protection they offer is but another aspect of the many strategic opportunities that they represent as intangible assets or as sources of technological information.
Patents and utility models grant an exclusive right over a technical invention, which allows the owner to prevent third parties from using said invention without its consent within a specific time period.
Freedom of Use or Freedom to Operate (FTO) reports are an effective and preventive method for anticipating possible third-party infringement of patents or industrial designs. These studies are aimed at determining whether what is known as the ‘Freedom to Act’’ applies, which means ensuring that the production, marketing and use of a new product, process or service does not infringe upon third-party intellectual property rights.
A technological patent report is particularly useful for, amongst other things, identifying new commercial niches in different territories or business areas, identifying strategic changes to the competitive environment, analysing the level of interest for an emerging technology, or filtering out those technological areas with greater potential for development of new products or lines of research.
In the current technological, financial and competitive environment, establishing a technological watch system that enables the gathering of up-to-date information is essential for those companies and organisations whose added value lies in their capacity to innovate and create new products or services.