Indirect infringement of patents
Indirect infringement of patents

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Indirect infringement of patents
  • Introduction to infringement
  • Types of infringement
  • Indirect/contributory infringement under PA 1977, s 60(2)
  • PA 1977, s 60(2) case law
  • Means essential
  • Whether the 'means essential' are suitable for putting the invention into effect
  • Knowledge/obviousness that the 'means essential' are intended to put the invention into effect
  • Common law contributory infringement
  • Procuring or inducing infringement
  • more

Introduction to infringement

A patent owner has to prove two elements against someone before it can secure an infringement finding (and then an injunction, damages, etc) from the court. First, the patent owner has to prove that the alleged infringer has been engaging in particular commercial activities. Second, the patent owner has to prove that the things the infringer is dealing in fall within the technical claims of the patent. This Practice Note is about the commercial activities, particularly the less straightforward ones. For more details about proving infringement in the technical sense, see Practice Note: Patent infringement.

Types of infringement

There are several different commercial activities that could give rise to a finding of patent infringement. Deciding which type of infringement is happening matters. First, it affects how a patent owner has to present its case in its documents when launching infringement proceedings. Secondly, it can affect which of the supposed infringers are legally deemed to infringe in the UK because their activities happen in the UK. Thirdly, once a company is found to infringe, the type of infringement in which it is engaged may affect how much compensation it must pay to the patent owner for infringing.

Direct infringement

Direct infringement is the closest dealing with the product or process that is under patent protection. Direct infringement