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An infringement is a violation, a breach, or an unauthorized act. Infringement occurs in various situations. A harm to one’s right is an infringement. A violation of a statute is also an infringement. In a commercial contract, an infringement happens when one of the contracting parties breaches the terms stated in the contract. In intellectual property areas, an infringement refers to an unauthorized use of a copyrighted or patented invention. (see also: trademark infringement, patent infringement, and copyright infringement.)

When an infringement happens, the party being harmed usually will file a claim against the harming party. In this case, the infringing party is the defendant, and the harmed party is the plaintiff. If the court decides that the infringement does exit, the court will order remedies for the harmed party. 

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]