Learn about the first step in the direct patent-infringement inquiry: construing a patent’s claims using a hierarchy of intrinsic and extrinsic evidence.
Because the claims are the metes and bounds of an owner’s right to exclude, the first step in any patent-infringement action is to figure out what the claims mean. Infringement is determined on a claim-by-claim basis. In other words, a defendant doesn’t have to infringe all of the claims in a patent to be liable. Infringement of just one claim is sufficient to impose liability. Typically, an owner’s complaint for patent infringement specifies which claims in the patent a defendant is accused...