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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Caveat

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Edition of 1920. See also Patent caveat on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CAVEAT, kā'vē-ăt (Lat. “let him beware”), in law, a notice served on a public officer or court to refrain from doing a certain act without first giving notice to the caveator, as the person is termed who enters the caveat. Perhaps the best known use of the caveat in the United States is its entry by an inventor in the Patent Office for the purpose of establishing his claim to priority of invention, by enjoining its officers from issuing letters patent for any invention interfering with or infringing the rights claimed by the caveator without first giving him notice of the application for such letters patent. The terms of the caveat must set forth the claims of the inventor and the details of his invention with sufficient particularity to enable the officials of the Patent Office to determine whether a subsequent application for letters falls within the claims of the first inventor. If such is the case the caveator is entitled to notice of such interfering application, and the new applicant's claim to letters is suspended for three months, during which period the caveator must complete his specifications and file his own application for letters patent. If no interfering application is filed, the caveator's rights remain valid for one year, and may be renewed at the end of that term, for one year more, on payment of a second fee. The law providing for the filing of caveats was repealed by Congress in 1910. Other uses of the caveat are to prohibit (without notice to the caveator) the admission of a will to probate, the enrolment of a decree in chancery, the grant of letters testamentary to an executor, the issuing of a commission de lunatico inquirendo, etc On the filing of such a caveat and due notice being served thereunder, a hearing is had before a competent tribunal for the determination of the rights in the matter. (See Patents). Consult ‘Rules of United States Patent Office’; Merwin, ‘Patentability of Inventions’ (Boston 1883); Luby, ‘Patent Office Practice’ (Kalamazoo 1897).