I came across one completed product that is already patented (based on 2-3 parts).

Will it be a problem for the vendor if it sells the kits (non-patentable parts) instead of complete patented product that would allow the customer to put the parts together that will work exactly the same as the patented product?

Your thoughts, please.

Reference (different): Criteria for patenting an item whose main part uses the design of a patent's part but whose function is diffrent


Yes. It's called induced infringement and selling a kit for someone to infringe a patent is exactly that.

See https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/inducement_of_infringement

Any person who actively induces infringement of a patent is liable as an infringer.  See 35 U.S.C. § 271(b). 

Infringement by inducement is a form of secondary liability for patent infringement.  A person who does not commit direct infringement but asks or induces another to do so, or sells a product with advertising or instructions about an infringing use may be held liable for inducing infringement.

That doesn't apply if your selling the parts just as such though just because they could be used to infringe a patent. It comes down to you advertising for putting them together or somehow else inducing the infringement.

  • Thanks for pointing out that "induced infringement". ------------------- Is there a way to get around that issue? My thoughts: ================= Patented product using parts: A + B + C = Patented Product. ================= Vendor sells parts as part of the kit such as: A+B AND Missing C - Vendor "indirectly" advises the customer to get that part from other sources. (or customer needs to figure out for themselves?) ------------------- So, is this kit package with just one missing part considered as induced infringement? – Robert Rademacher Sep 23 '17 at 15:01
  • @RobertRademacher the way I see it, it still is induced infringement. It doesn't matter if you supply everything, it matters that you intent to enable someone to infringe a patent. A “workaround“ is not to do that. You can sell all parts as parts but people will have to figure out how to break the law all by themself. – DonQuiKong Sep 23 '17 at 15:06
  • Thanks (you're really good!). It looks like I will need to consult with the patent attorney regarding this matter as I want to help the vendor on solving this sticky "induced infringement" problem. – Robert Rademacher Sep 23 '17 at 15:23
  • @RobertRademacher thanks. I don't think you can just “solve“ the “sticky problem“ - what you're proposing is infringement, maybe acquiring a license is the way to go. (But go ahead consult an attorney, maybe the patent isn't even infringed, can be challenged or there's something else). – DonQuiKong Sep 23 '17 at 15:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.