Patent systems commonly empower courts to order accused or adjudged infringers to refrain from continuing infringing conduct in the future. Some patentees file suit for the primary purpose of obtaining and enforcing an injunction against infringement by a competitor, and even in cases in which the patentee is willing to license an invention to an accused infringer for an agreed price, the indirect monetary value of an injunction against future infringement can dwarf the amount a finder of fact is likely to award as compensation for past infringement. In some of these cases, an injunction, if granted, would impose costs on accused infringers or third parties that go well beyond the more intrinsic value of the patented technology. This chapter explores the theory behind injunctive relief in patent cases, surveys the availability of this remedy in major patent systems, and suggests a general framework for courts to use when deciding whether injunctive relief is appropriate in individual cases.
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