Patent rights give an inventor the right to exclude others from making, selling,
importing, or otherwise profiting from an invention without the inventor’s
permission. Doing so is considered an infringement on the rights of the patent
holder, and he or she may be able to recover a remedy.
Indirect patent infringement occurs when someone induces another person
to commit an act of patent infringement by actively soliciting or assisting
such infringement. One basic requirement for liability for inducement to
infringe is that there must be an actual case of direct infringement by another
For example, offering to sell the parts and instructions necessary to build
a patented invention does not in itself amount to inducement to infringe.
If someone accepts the offer to buy these parts and subsequently builds the
however, the seller of the parts has induced the act of infringement.
form of indirect infringement is contributory infringement. If a person sells,
offers to sell, or imports an important part of a patented
that has no substantial use except for in the patented invention, they
may be liable for contributory infringement. As with inducement to infringe,
for contributory infringement depends upon an actual act of infringement
taking place. Moreover, the seller of the part must know that the person to
item being sold intends to use it in such a way that a patent will likely