- Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of
legal instrumentin the form of an open letterissued by a monarchor government, granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or to some entity such as a corporation. The opposite of "letters patent" (Lat. "litterae patentes") is " letters close" (Lat. "litterae clausae"), which are personal in nature and sealed so that only the recipient can read their contents. Due to the Latin idiom involved, a single document is not a "letter patent" but still "letters patent."
Letters patent often start with a salutation such as "To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting" or "To all to whom these presents shall come or whom the same may in any way concern, GREETING:" or even just "To all and singular, greeting." However, a document starting with such a clause may merely be a
deed poll. Letters patent can be used for the granting of city status or coats of arms, for the creation of corporations, or by a monarchto create an office. They are also common in printed diplomasand academic degrees from educational institutions.
A particular form of letters patent has evolved into the modern
patentgranting exclusive rights in an invention.
United Kingdomand some Commonwealth realms (where letters patent may be issued by the Governor-General), letters patent are issued under the Royal Prerogativeand constitute a rare, if significant, form of legislationwithout the consent of Parliament. Letters patent may also be used to grant royal assentto acts of Parliament.
United States, the forgeryof letters patent granted by the President of the United Statesis a crimesubject to fine and/or imprisonmentup to ten years (UnitedStatesCode|18|497). Without letters patent a person is unable to assume an appointed office. Such prompted the " Marbury v. Madison" suit where William Marburyand three others petitioned the United States Supreme Courtto order James Madisonto deliver their letters for appointments made under the previous administration.
Lettre de cachet
Letter of marque
Patent of Toleration
Statute of Monopolies 1623, an attempt to rein in the abuse of letters patent in England
* [http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/item.asp?sdID=84 Letters Patent from Queen Victoria establishing the Governor-General of Australia]
**Now revoked by [http://www.statusquo.org/aru_html/html/GovGen.html Letters patent from Queen Elizabeth II dated
21 August 1984as amended]
* [http://www.province-canada.anglican.org/canons/letters.shtml Letters Patent of Anglican Church of Canada]
* [http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Rapids/3330/constitution/1876lp.htm Letters patent of Governor and Commander in Chief of Newfoundland, 1876]
* [http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/LettersPatent.html Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General of Canada]
* [http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/cabinet/manual/letters_patent_constituting.html Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor-General of New Zealand]
* [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=76 Research Guide on Letters Patent]
* [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1992/Uksi_19921730_en_2.htm Letters Patent granting Peerages and Royal Warrants]
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Letters Patent — von Queen Victoria Letters Patent (lat.: litterae patentes) (deutsch: offener Brief) bezeichnet im englischen Sprachraum ein Dokument, über welches ein Herrscher oder eine entsprechend autorisierte Institution … Deutsch Wikipedia
letters patent — see letter 2 Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. letters patent … Law dictionary
letters patent — UK US noun [plural] ► LAW a formal document from a king, queen, or government that gives someone a particular right: »The coat of arms was granted by letters patent of Edward IV … Financial and business terms
letters patent — [let′ərz pat′ nt] n. a document granting a patent: see PATENT … English World dictionary
Letters patent — Letter Let ter, n. [OE. lettre, F. lettre, OF. letre, fr. L. littera, litera, a letter; pl., an epistle, a writing, literature, fr. linere, litum, to besmear, to spread or rub over; because one of the earliest modes of writing was by graving the… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
letters patent — Open letters, as distinguished from letters close. An instrument proceeding from the government, and conveying a right, authority, or grant to an individual, as a patent for a tract of land, or for the exclusive right to make and sell a new… … Black's law dictionary
Letters Patent — A legal instrument that grants the exclusive rights of an invention to an individual or a corporation. A letters patent is granted by the government to an individual, giving him or her the rights to authorship or to a patent for a new invention… … Investment dictionary
Letters Patent — Document announcing an honor or power for an individual, granted by an official or nobleman. For example, arms might be granted by letters patent, or they might be granted lordship over a feudal estate. ♦ Sealed and open letters, often enrolled… … Medieval glossary
letters patent — patent authorization, certificate of patent for an invention … English contemporary dictionary
Letters Patent — These were royal letters, sent open with a seal and pendant attached. Their contents were not considered to be secret. Such letters authorised an action or instructed e.g. a sheriff to act. They date from 1201. [patent < Lat. pateo = open] … Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases