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What is patent infringement?

Patent infringement is the main dispute that arises over a patent. Infringement occurs when someone violates the rights an inventor has as a result of holding a patent, without that inventor’s permission (or, if the patent has been licensed, in a way not permitted by the license). For example, if you have a patent for a widget, and Meglo Corporation starts selling widgets without your permission, Meglo Corporation is infringing your patent. Specifically, that would be “direct infringement,” which is one of several ways a patent can be infringed.

Unlike copyright infringement, a patent can be infringed even if the new product was not actually copied from the patented product. In other words, a patent can be infringed even if the “copier” did not know about the patent.