Exceptional and accessible legal representation across Kentucky and Nationwide

Exceptional and accessible legal representation across Kentucky and Nationwide


What are the different types of patent infringement?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Patents |

Innovators and businesses working to protect their innovative ideas and inventions often obtain patents, which are essential for safeguarding their intellectual property. However, unscrupulous entities may engage in patent infringement, posing significant threats to the rights and interests of patent holders.

Understanding the different types of patent infringement can help you identify and address potential infringements more effectively. This can help better protect your intellectual property and preserve your competitive advantage in the market.

Contributory infringement

Contributory infringement occurs when a party provides, sells or offers to sell a component or material that is specially designed for use in an infringing product and that component has no substantial non-infringing use. Even if the contributory infringer does not directly infringe the patent themselves, they can still be held liable for facilitating the infringement.

Direct infringement

Direct infringement refers to the unauthorized use of a patented invention. It occurs when someone performs one or more of the actions covered by the patent without the patent owner’s permission. This type of infringement is more straightforward than contributory infringement, as it involves the direct violation of the exclusive rights given to the patent holder. Identifying instances of direct infringement often involves comparing the patented claims with the allegedly infringing product or process to determine if there is a literal or equivalent infringement.


This occurs when someone knowingly aids, encourages or induces another party to infringe a patent. Unlike direct infringement, where the infringing actions are carried out by the infringer themselves, inducement involves persuading or influencing someone else to commit the infringement. This can include actions such as actively promoting or facilitating the use of a patented invention in a way that violates the patent holder’s rights.

If you are a patent owner facing potential infringement, seeking legal counsel can help you understand the intricacies of patent law and take appropriate action to safeguard your rights and interests.

FindLaw Network