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In the most straightforward case of infringement of a method patent, all of the required steps of the claim are performed by the same actor. For example, a patent directed to a semiconductor fabrication process might require the separate steps of forming several layers, and each of those steps might be performed by a foundry that is manufacturing semiconductors. In that case, the foundry would be a direct infringer under 35 U.S.C. §271(a). In another example, a patent might be directed to a method of performing a certain surgical procedure, and each of the steps might be performed by physicians who conducted the procedure on their patients. Once again, each of the individual physicians would be a direct infringer.

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