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LEGAL TERMS

COVENANTS, CONDITIONS & RESTRICTIONS (CC&RS)

The restrictions governing the use of real estate, usually enforced by a homeowners' association and passed on to the new owners of property. For example, CC&Rs... (more...)
The restrictions governing the use of real estate, usually enforced by a homeowners' association and passed on to the new owners of property. For example, CC&Rs may tell you how big your house can be, how you must landscape your yard or whether you can have pets. If property is subject to CC&Rs, buyers must be notified before the sale takes place.

PATENT CLAIM

A statement included in a patent application that describes the structure of an invention in precise and exact terms, using a long established formal style and ... (more...)
A statement included in a patent application that describes the structure of an invention in precise and exact terms, using a long established formal style and precise terminology. Patent claims serve as a way for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to determine whether an invention is patentable, and as a way for a court to determine whether a patent has been infringed. In concept, a patent claim marks the boundaries of the patent in the same way as the legal description in a deed specifies the boundaries of the property.

DIRECTOR

A member of the governing board of a corporation, typically elected at an annual meeting of the shareholders. Directors are responsible for making important bus... (more...)
A member of the governing board of a corporation, typically elected at an annual meeting of the shareholders. Directors are responsible for making important business decisions -- especially those that legally bind the corporation -- leaving day-to-day management to officers and employees of the corporation. For example, a decision to borrow money, lease an office or buy real property would normally be authorized by the board of directors. However, in the small business world, where it is common for owners to be directors, officers and employees simultaneously, distinctions dividing the roles and responsibilities of these groups are often blurred.

DOWN PAYMENT

A lump sum cash payment paid by a buyer when he or she purchases a major piece of property, such as a car or house. The buyer typically takes out a loan for the... (more...)
A lump sum cash payment paid by a buyer when he or she purchases a major piece of property, such as a car or house. The buyer typically takes out a loan for the balance remaining, and pays it off in monthly installments over time.

NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

A legally binding contract in which a person or business promises to treat specific information as a trade secret and not disclose it to others without proper a... (more...)
A legally binding contract in which a person or business promises to treat specific information as a trade secret and not disclose it to others without proper authorization. Nondisclosure agreements are often used when a business discloses a trade secret to another person or business for such purposes as development, marketing, evaluation or securing financial backing. Although nondisclosure agreements are usually in the form of written contracts, they may also be implied if the context of a business relationship suggests that the parties intended to make an agreement. For example, a business that conducts patent searches for inventors is expected to keep information about the invention secret, even if no written agreement is signed, because the nature of the business is to deal in confidential information.

MORTGAGE

A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender... (more...)
A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender can foreclose on the real estate and have it sold to pay off the loan.

TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY

Personal property that can be felt or touched. Examples include furniture, cars, jewelry and artwork. However, cash and checking accounts are not tangible perso... (more...)
Personal property that can be felt or touched. Examples include furniture, cars, jewelry and artwork. However, cash and checking accounts are not tangible personal property. The law is unsettled as to whether computer data is tangible personal property. Compare intangible property.

UNJUST ENRICHMENT

A legal doctrine stating that if a person receives money or other property through no effort of his own, at the expense of another, the recipient should return ... (more...)
A legal doctrine stating that if a person receives money or other property through no effort of his own, at the expense of another, the recipient should return the property to the rightful owner, even if the property was not obtained illegally. Most courts will order that the property be returned if the party who has suffered the loss brings a lawsuit.

SEVERANCE PAY

Funds, usually amounting to one or two months' salary, frequently offered by employers to workers who are laid off. No law compels employers to provide severanc... (more...)
Funds, usually amounting to one or two months' salary, frequently offered by employers to workers who are laid off. No law compels employers to provide severance pay, although the employer may be legally obligated to do so if it was promised in a contract or employees' handbook.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v. Nelson

... court: In this mortgage foreclosure action, the circuit court of White County entered a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC (Bayview), and against the defendant, Jeffrey Eden Nelson (Nelson). ...

Household Bank, FSB v. Lewis

... The issue in this case is whether the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law (735 ILCS 5/15-1101 et seq. ... [1] Household responded by initiating foreclosure proceedings under the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law (735 ILCS 5/15-1101 et seq. (West 2004)). ...

ABN AMRO MORTG. GROUP, INC. v. McGahan

... The question at issue here is whether a mortgagee must name a personal representative for a deceased mortgagor in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding in order for the circuit court to acquire subject matter jurisdiction. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that it must. ...