Infringe (on) a patent?

JulianStuart

Senior Member
English (UK then US)
Some recent headlines (in the SF Chronicle, no more, no less) caught my eye because they used the phrase "infringed on X's patent" rather than what my brain said should have been "infringed X's patent" (as in breaking it, or a law or a copyright) as a simple transitive. So I looked in the dictionaries and they generally support this position, with "infringe on X" being the definition "to encroach on X" (someone's privacy, or rights, for examples) as an intransitive. These seem to have become confused - wading through G**gle's returns to the end cites about 400 each for "infringe * patent" and "infringe on * patent" Do we need to revise the dictionaries? :D

Or do I just accept I'm aging at the same speed as the dictionaries
.
 
  • Blew

    Member
    mexican spanish
    i think we do, i have been getting across definitions that are outdated way too often lately...a lot of english speaking people are criticized for our bad spelling, grammar, and what not, but i think it all goes back to not having the "right" or updated source.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think we do. I have been getting across definitions that are outdated way too often lately ... a lot of English-speaking people are criticized for our bad spelling, grammar, and what not, but I think it all goes back to not having the "right" or updated source.
    :rolleyes:

    (Sorry, Blew, I couldn't resist:D)
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I don't think one should worry about it. In BE the correct phrase is "to infringe a patent".

    Note: to expose the unreliability of frequency counts in Google, type "to infringe a patent" versus "to infringe on a patent". We get 48,000 and 7,800 respectively. Now type the same without "to". It then appears that "on a patent" is more common.

    In the American Corpus there is one example of "infringe on a patent" out of 154 examples of "infringe on". There are two examples of "infringe a", one of which is patent.

    Tentative conclusion: I don't know what to think!
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thanks all

    Dearest ewie - I knew it was happening, but please, enough with the bold full black text :( I went out on this internet thing but couldn't find any "Updates for JulianStuart" I'm stuck with v. 0.9!

    e2e4 - I think this was the first time I used * for a wildcard in G**gle AND went through to the end of the list (I learned that trick here) : initially there were 28,400ish and 4,0000ish for the terms in my post, but clicking through to the last pages of each list gave me 400ish for both (with the possibility of displaying the many more "very similar" - likely the same item quoted on different pages).
     
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