Patent Infringement Law and Legal Definition

Patent infringement is a civil wrong causing commercial harm. Patent infringement consists of the unauthorized making, using, offering for sale or selling any patented invention within the United States or United States Territories, or importing into the United States of any patented invention during the term of the patent. Whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall also be liable as an infringer. In short it is the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. Permission is given by way of licenses. The definition of patent infringement may vary by jurisdiction.

When patent infringement happens, the patentee may sue for relief in the appropriate Federal court. The patentee may ask the court for an injunction to prevent the continuation of the patent infringement and may also ask the court for an award of damages because of the patent infringement.

No infringement action may be started until the patent is issued. However, pre-grant protection is available under 35 USCS § 154 (d), which allows a patent owner to obtain reasonable royalty damages for certain infringing activities that occurred before patent's date of issuance. In order to obtain provisional damages patent holder should show that the infringing activities occurred after the publication of the patent application; that the patented claims are substantially identical to the claims in the published application, and that the infringer had "actual notice" of the published patent application.