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Letters patent

From Academic Kids

Letters Patent by Queen Victoria creating the office of Governor-General of Australia
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Letters Patent by Queen Victoria creating the office of Governor-General of Australia

Letters patent are a type of legal document which is an open letter issued by a monarch or government granting a right, monopoly, title, or status to someone or some entity such as a corporation. The opposite of letters patent is letters close which are personal in nature and sealed so that only the recipient can read the contents of the letter. 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 anyway concern, GREETING:". Letters patent can be used for the granting of coats of arms, for the creation of corporations, by a monarch to create an office. They are also common in printed diplomas and academic degrees from educational institutions. The term patent now most often refers to such a document that grants exclusive rights in an invention.

In the United States, the forgery of letters patent granted by the President of the United States is a crime subject to fine and/or imprisonment up to ten years (Template:UnitedStatesCode).

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