Freedom-to-Operate Checklist

Freedom-to-Operate Checklist

Founder's Copilot

IP rights checklist for SaaS startups: Cover patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, and marketing.

About This Template

The goal of this checklist is to ensure that you are not infringing on any existing rights from other companies.

Important before we jump in: This is not legal advice. We recommend you seek advice from a legal counsel in your country of incorporation.

This involves checking for existing:

  1. Patents that protect inventions and innovation that you want to use in your product
  2. Trade secrets that protect proprietary information that you might use to build a product/business
  3. Copyrights that protect the rights of artistic work that you might use in your product
  4. Trademarks that protect brand-defining elements
  5. Components that limit your marketing


✅ Ensure that the technology you want to use in your product is not already patented by doing an initial patent search on Google Patents.

✅ As a student or academic researcher ensure that the university has no rights to your inventions during your time at University.

Trade secrets

✅ Founders and early employees have no existing non-compete clauses.

✅ The knowledge needed to build the product/business is not protected by any existing NDA

©️ Copyrights

✅ The artistic material (e.g. images, audio files) you are using in your product or website is not protected by copyrights. If they are make sure you license them.

™️ Trademarks

✅ Your brand/company/product name is not protected by any existing copyright

✅ For US trademarks check:

✅ For EU trademark check:

✅ For Swiss trademarks check:

✅ UK, Canada, Australia

📣 Freedom to market

✅ Do you have a brand/company/product name that is uniquely identifiable and Google searches for the name will not give any/few results?

✅ Is your .com / .ai / .io URL available?

✅ Are social media accounts/available for your search

Visit site

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and receive the resources SaaS founders find most valuable

Hero image for saas tools