Hey all,

I’m sitting at my desk reviewing my materials for the PIUG FTO course I’m co-teaching in a couple of months (Link) and I’m happy to report that there is more online material for all of us to access these days for self-education! (But don’t limit yourself to self-education, come join us for the interactive class as well…)

One of the difficult topics I like to cover in class is “what is actually being cleared”. There is a myth out there that every clearance or FTO search covers A, B, C, and D when the search focus is A+B+C+D. However, in the real world, you have to figure out what’s actually new and what’s actually in need of clearing.

One of our resident PIUG experts, Tom Wolff, gave a talk on this subject at the PIUG 2017 NorthEast Conference and since then he has tightened up his thinking and turned it into a paper. And it’s posted online for all of us to access for free during the month of August! Go grab it now while you can! LINK!

Btw, for those of you who have never taken the PIUG FTO course, Tom’s earlier paper from 2008 (Link) is one of the seminal articles on the subject written from the perspective of a searcher and is incorporated into the classroom material. He is definitely on the list of folks whom I've met only because of PIUG and has had a profound influence on how I approach my work and better help my clients.


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  1. Thanks for sharing the Link Dominic, and congratulations Tom on an excellent article.

  2. Fantastic article, love how in-depth it is! Well done Tom Wolff!!! I'll share it on social media to spread the word about it.

  3. Thanks to you all. I couldn't be doing the work or have learned how to do it without my PIUG colleagues and friends.

    I own the copyrights to my articles but I won't have the right to post the latest one on my website until October after the 3-month exclusionary period that I gave to InfoToday. InfoToday and editor Marydee Ojala are terrific to write for. The latest FTO article will be available on my publications page at that time. I will post the link again here too.


  4. I think the article is a fine example of what it takes to be a true Patent Information Professional.


  5. Very impressive work, Tom! 

    Great insight on how to prioritize the product components/aspects so that the search scope is manageable for FTO. Very different from validity searching.

  6. Very nice comprehensive article. I like the emphasis put on understanding the client's needs.

  7. Nice job explaining the complexities of infringement work Tom.  FTO is definitely the most intricate of patent research objectives.  

  8. Great article Tom.  Love the examples!  I agree with Elliott's comments, the article demonstrates a true Patent Information Professional.