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Infringement of a Patent

Written by Aneela Akbar on 15 April 2011

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This article focuses on patent infringement. A patent is a protection granted to new inventions. An invention that is new has an inventive step and therefore not obvious to one with knowledge and experience in the subject, it has to be competent enough to be used in a particular industry. If an idea is patented then it is protected up to a term of 20 years subject to a renewal every year after the fifth year.

A patent can only be infringed once an invention has been granted a patent on an application. One of the obvious ways a patent can be infringed is directly. Direct infringement occurs when someone other than the inventor who holds the rights makes uses or sells the patented invention.

Indirect infringement can occur in one of two ways;

Inducement; or

Contributory

A patent is infringed by inducement means that the inducer willingly and knowingly aided in the infringement but may or may not have specifically intended to violate a patent infringement.

Contributory infringement occurs when the sale of materials or components which have no other use other than their intended use by the patented invention takes place.

If patent infringement occurs, the inventor of the patent may go through the courts to seek relief and also ask the court for an injunction in order to stop the infringement from continuing. If you infringe a patent this will often end up with you paying a large sum of damages. Therefore, it is vital to protect you own invention by applying for a patent to avoid anyone at a later stage claiming that you have infringed their patented invention.

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