Consider the following canonical patent infringement scenario. A

[1] plaintiff owns a patent with one or more claims to the patent’s underlying technology. Under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a), this plaintiff has the rights to manufacture, sell, use, or import the technology delineated by those claims.1 The defendant manufactures, sells, uses, or imports what appears to be the same technology. Because the claim language is not entirely clear, a judge construes the exact meaning of the claims in a preliminary hearing.2 Assuming that the patent is upheld as valid, a jury then determines whether the defendant’s device meets the limitations of those claims, either literally or equivalently.