Intellectual Property, Patent & Trademark Law

Divided Patent Infringement: An Evolving Doctrine

Courts develop new tool to use when multiple entities are involved

A claim of a U.S. patent is directly infringed only if each of the elements of a patent claim are contained in an accused product or if all of the steps of a claimed method are performed. Indeed, establishing infringement liability, a strict liability determination, is relatively straight forward when one entity comprises all elements of an accused product or performs all of the steps. However, oftentimes today multiple entities may be involved. When that occurs, how is direct infringement determined, and who are the infringers?

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