United States: Induced Infringement Requires Active Encouragement That Results In Direct Infringement

To prove induced infringement a patent owner must show the accused infringer actively encouraged infringement, knowing that the acts they induced constituted patent infringement, and their encouraging acts actually resulted in direct patent infringement. Although inducement may be proven via circumstantial evidence, such as advertisements and user manuals, it must be found to have actually occurred.

In Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int'l, Inc., the Federal Circuit considered whether proof of induced infringement requires proof that the encouragement of infringement was successfully communicated to the direct infringer and actually resulted in direct infringement.


Fairchild and Power Integrations are competitors in the market for controller chips used in power supplies for various electronic devices, such as cellphones, laptops, and televisions. Power Integrations sued Fairchild for directly and indirectly infringing certain of its power supply patents. Fairchild filed counterclaims against Power Integrations asserting a set of its own power supply patents. After considering the evidence at trial, a jury found both parties liable for infringing at least some of the other's asserted patents.

On appeal, among other issues raised by both parties, Fairchild argued that (1) the jury's verdict should be vacated because the jury was improperly instructed that Fairchild may be liable for inducing infringement merely by taking steps to assist or encourage infringement to occur, "regardless of whether the encouragement succeeded, or was even received," and (2) Fairchild could not be liable for induced infringement of U.S. patents because it lacked the required specific intent to bring about infringement in the United States; it sold the accused controller chips to foreign distributors and therefore it had no knowledge of whether the accused controller chips would ultimately end up in the United States and infringe U.S. Patents.

The Power Integrations v. Fairchild Decision

The Federal Circuit agreed with Fairchild that the jury was improperly instructed and concluded that to be liable for induced infringement, Fairchild needed to successfully induce a third party to infringe. The court noted that according to a 2011 Supreme Court decision, the word "induce" means "to lean on; to influence; to prevail on; to move to persuasion." It then reasoned that each of these definitions require successful communication between the alleged inducer and the third-party direct infringer. And it noted that earlier Federal Circuit precedent stated that to prevail on a claim of inducement, patent owners need to show that an accused induced infringer's "actions led to direct infringement."

Having found that precedent requires actual inducement, and that the district court's instructions gave the jury an incorrect understanding on this requirement, the court vacated the jury's finding of induced infringement.

The court next considered Fairchild's alternative argument that it could not be liable for induced infringement because it only sells the accused controller chips to foreign distributors with no knowledge of whether they will ultimately end up in the United States.

There was no dispute that products containing Fairchild's chips were in fact imported into the United States. Power Integrations introduced as evidence three representative products containing Fairchild chips that it purchased in the United States—an HP printer, an Acer laptop and a Samsung laptop.

However, Fairchild claimed there was no evidence that it encouraged its accused chips to be incorporated into products bound for the U.S. with the specific intent to induce infringement. The court disagreed, noting that Fairchild was involved in activities related to the use of its products in the U.S.: Fairfield designed its products to meet certain U.S. energy standards, provided demonstration boards containing the infringing chips to customers and potential customers in the United States, and maintained a technical support center in the United States that provided support to customers based in the United States.

The court also rejected Fairchild's argument that Power Integrations was required to establish a nexus between Fairchild's inducement and the particular infringing products sold by HP, Acer, and Samsung products. According to the court, established law allows induced infringement to be based on circumstantial evidence of inducement, such as advertisements and user manuals directed to a class of direct infringers, without direct proof that any individual third-party direct infringer was actually persuaded to infringe by such materials. Accordingly, the court found that the representative acts of direct infringement were sufficient to allow a jury to find that Fairchild had induced its customers to infringe as a class. The court therefore remanded for further proceedings on the issue.

Strategy and Conclusion

To prove induced infringement a patent owner must show (1) the accused infringer actively encouraged infringement, knowing that the acts they induced constituted patent infringement, and (2) their encouraging acts actually resulted in direct patent infringement. Although inducement may be proven by circumstantial evidence such as advertisements and user manuals, it must be found to have actually occurred.

Further information

The Power Integrations v. Fairchild decision is available here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions