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Letters Patent

An instrument issued by a government that conveys a right or title to a private individual or organization, including conveyances of land and inventions.

Although Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the U.S. Constitution confers upon Congress the power to secure to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries, this constitutional clause is not self-executing. Rather, formal application for letters patent must first be made in the manner prescribed by statute (35 U.S.C.) and regulations (37 C.F.R.) promulgated pursuant thereto.

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