For General Public

Freedom to Operate Introduced as a Tool for Technology Commercialization

By: France Almira Cristobal

The translation of researches through adoption and commercialization is the optimum aspirations of the researchers. However, before a specific technology can be adopted or commercialized, there are various challenges to face. To be able to legally commercialize a specific technology, a Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis is necessary in determining if there is already an existing patent, trademarks or other IP rights that cover that technology, the processes it undergoes and the marketing strategies used in promoting that technology. Thus, FTO assessment is a determining tool whether to pursue or forego the commercialization of a specific technology.

This application of FTO was launched by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-TAPI) during a two-day live-in training-workshop on Freedom to Operate (FTO) on 04-05 May 2017 at the B Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City in collaboration with the Association of PAQE Professionals, Inc. (APP). The training was conducted through the aggressive investments of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) to support its technology transfer activities. Among the projects implemented by DOST-TAPI that funded the training-workshop is the “Support to the preparation of Freedom to Operate (FTO) in the Technology Transfer Activities of PCAARRD-Funded Projects”.

Reputable speakers from the sole association of registered patent agents in the Philippines conducted the training-workshop led by the APP President Atty. Bayani B. Loste. Speakers who gave lectures on Importance of FTO, Patent Infringement, Procedure, Jurisprudence, Trademark, Copyright Infringement and the Elements of a Good FTO Analysis were Atty. Jose Eduardo T. Genilo, Atty. Anne Mariae Celeste V. Jumadla, Atty. Misael F. Costes and Atty. Criela D. Fragante.

Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena, Division Manager of the Invention Development Division (IDD) of DOST-TAPI and member of the Fairness Opinion Board Secretariat, reminded the participants of the importance of having FTO reports in obtaining favorable opinion during her welcome remarks. Since most of the participants are researchers and Technology Licensing Officers, she encouraged them to take the training by heart.

A total of twenty-five (25) participants from state universities and colleges, DOST-RDIs and government councils and offices attended the training. The participants were expected to submit an FTO assessment within two months (on or before 05 July 2017) after the training. The reports will be reviewed and validated by an external independent law firm for comments and recommendations.

Certificates of participation were awarded to each of the participants by Dr. Melvin B. Carlos, Chief of the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD) of PCAARRD and IDD Chief Atty. Decena.