“Induced infringement” under patent law means a party may be found liable for patent infringement even if it did not itself infringe a patent claim, if it induced another (the “direct” infringer) to infringe a patent claim. For method claims, patent litigators for many years operated under a body of law that required showing that a direct infringer carried out all steps of the claim, and that the inducer encouraged and enabled the infringement by the direct infringer.
The definiteness requirement under 35 U.S.C. Section 112, paragraph 2 – which requires the claims at the end of a patent to particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention of the patent – has always been difficult to apply in litigation. Attorneys could state the standard – claim terms that were “insolubly ambiguous” or “not amenable to construction” were indefinite – but courts and lawyers alike struggled with those standards in application.
“Why would I want to spend $15,000 on an application for a patent I won’t see for two years, when every penny counts right now?” Startups are right to ask this question. With HIPLegal still in its startup days, we also hate to spend money we don’t need to spend; we scrutinize every expense to ensure it is justified. We understand why this question is asked and how difficult it is to make these spending choices. We hope this blog convinces you that sometimes, but not always, you should spend that kind of money to obtain a strong patent.