Frequently Asked Questions

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In the wake of several major Supreme Court patent decisions such as Commil and Halo, clear best practices are emerging that strongly advise early stage patent risk assessment for all companies with marketable products. Clearstone FTO was built to provide a home for that effort in an intuitive and collaborative environment that helps navigate patent risk while creating a demonstrable record of diligence. It facilitates getting the right information to the right people at the right time, with the ultimate goal of accelerating innovation.he right time, with the ultimate goal of accelerating innovation.
A patent review can take many forms in many contexts. In Clearstone FTO, we are referring broadly to claim-based infringement analysis. This includes activities like product clearance, freedom-to-operate, risk assessment, competitive intelligence, evidence of use, third-party patent analysis, patent monetization or enforcement, licensing assessment, portfolio management, etc. The common thread is an analysis that compares a particular product against the claims of a set of patents. We refer to all of these activities broadly as FTO because freedom-to-operate is the essence of each of these analyses, though the entity whose freedom we are considering may be different. FTO activities contrast with prior art or invalidity analysis, in which the claims of a single patent are compared against the universe of prior art, which can include patent and non-patent literature, known products, publications, or general knowledge of those skilled in the art. Clearstone FTO is purpose-built to construct, perform, store, and transport claim-based patent reviews quickly and intuitively. The core components of a patent review in Clearstone FTO include a subject product, a set of patents, their claims, claim determinations along with claim-specific work product, document-specific work product, and any collateral documents. Clearstone FTO packages all this information into a convenient, interactive, and portable electronic format.
Many of our customers have adopted a "hub and spoke" sharing model to maximize collaboration among a team while keeping costs minimal. Clearstone FTO enables any user (the "hub") to share a review that they created with any number of other users (the "spokes"). The "hub" user can also control read/write access among the share recipients. At the same time, all users can receive an unlimited number of shared reviews. These capabilities apply to all account levels, whether free or paid. The benefits of this model are especially advantageous when the "hub" is a Professional-level account user. This is usually the point person, custodian, or manager of FTO records within the organization. Since the Professional user can create unlimited reviews and has full access to the Clearstone FTO Project Management module, the "hub and spoke" model effectively enables full team collaboration and record-keeping capabilities at the price of a single seat. This is just one way that ClearstoneIP is thinking innovatively about delivering the most value to our customers.
If you’ve used Google Docs to share documents, sharing in Clearstone FTO will come naturally to you. After clicking the sharing button, simply enter the email address of someone with whom you would like to share a review, select the level of access (“can edit” or “can view only”) and add an optional message. They will receive an email notifying them that you’ve shared a review. Registered Clearstone FTO users, whether standard or premium, can receive an unlimited number of shared reviews. You can also share reviews on a read-only basis with unregistered users via a public URL, if you so choose.
You may have legacy FTO and patent clearance systems. Your company may not be ready to migrate to a hosted environment. You’ve never heard of an FTO management system before. We’ve been there before; we understand. Use Clearstone FTO Standard at no charge, ever, to accelerate and harmonize all aspects of your existing FTO processes. You will be able to create and perform patent claim reviews up to twice as fast as conventional methods. Export your work to an Excel spreadsheet instantly and save it to your existing management system. When you are ready to make Clearstone FTO your full-time management system and repository, all your historical work product will be ready for you in its native environment to modify, share, and collaborate. Clearstone FTO Standard includes an intuitive patent review module that makes it easy to assemble and analyze patent claims. The review interface enables comprehensive annotation and mark-up capabilities including claim-by-claim determinations, text highlighting, commenting on both the document and claim level, tagging, and attaching documents. Share reviews instantly with colleagues, clients, or outside counsel for seamless collaboration. You can create an unlimited number of patent reviews, but only three may remain active. Archived reviews are available forever with read-only access, and can be reactivated by upgrading to Clearstone FTO Professional or Team.
Clearstone FTO Professional is the right choice when you are responsible for the continuing maintenance of freedom-to-operate with respect to products, product lines, or technology areas. This premium level account includes advanced product management features, unlimited active reviews, and our unique patent review history feature that instantly detects, aggregates and displays all your historical work product associated with a particular patent, throughout all prior reviews. Clearstone FTO Professional also includes our advanced multi-product review functionality that allows you to review a set of patents against multiple products at the same time. This feature is especially powerful when you need to analyze several products that share similar features or when you are assessing patent risk with respect to different variations of a single product.
Clearstone FTO Enterprise & Law Firm includes all of the features of Professional and is likewise ideal for managing the continuous freedom-to-operate process for products, product lines, or technology areas. In addition, Team includes enhanced collaboration and workflow features that make it easy for larger patent groups to stay on the same page in their clearance efforts. Member responsibilities can be allocated on the project or review levels, and the system helps usher patent reviews along internal approval processes. Clearstone FTO Enterprise & Law Firm is the answer for unparalleled visibility into freedom-to-operate processes having multiple stakeholders, and for the agility to respond to business demands at cyber speeds.
We strive to make Clearstone FTO compatible with all modern browsers, though some features may perform better in some than others. We do extensive testing and optimize for use primarily in Google Chrome, but Clearstone FTO is also compatible with the latest versions of Firefox, Safari, and Edge. For security and compatibility reasons, we do not have plans to support Internet Explorer and older browsers.