To succeed on a claim of induced infringement, a patent owner must show that the accused infringer (1) actively encouraged infringement, (2) knew that the acts they induced constituted patent infringement, and (3) actuated direct patent infringement by those encouraging acts. In many courts, the knowledge requirement can be satisfied by service of a complaint for patent infringement itself. So, the accused infringer can start to incur liability at the onset of litigation. In the minority of courts, only pre-suit knowledge can satisfy the knowledge requirement. In those jurisdictions, the plaintiff must show the accused infringer knew about the alleged infringement before the onset of litigation. The amount of evidence required to show pre-suit knowledge at the pleading phase is an open question.

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