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DISCOVERY Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

In a general sense, the ascertainment of that which was previously unknown; the disclosure or coming to light of what was previously hidden; the acquisition of notice or knowledge of given acts or facts; as, in regard to the “discovery” of fraud affecting the running of the statute of limitations, or the granting of a new trial for newly “discovered” evidence. Francis v. Wallace, 77 Iowa, 373, 42 N. W. 323 ;Parker v. Kuhn, 21 Neb. 413, 32 N. W. 74, 59 Am. Rep. 852; Laird v. Kilbourne, 70Iowa, 83, 30 N. W. 9; Howton v. Roberts, 49 S. W. 340, 20 Ky. Law Rep. 1331; Marbourg v. McCormick, 23 Kan. 43.In international law.

As the foundation for a claim of national ownership or sovereignty, discovery is the finding of a country, continent, or island previously unknown, or previously known only to its uncivilized inhabitants. Martin v. Waddell, 16 Pet. 409, 10 L. Ed. 997.In patent law.

The finding out some substance, mechanical device, improvement, or application, not previously known. In re Kemper, 14 Fed. Cas. 2S7; Dunbar v. Meyers, 94 U. S. 197, 24 L. Ed. 34.

Discovery, as used in the patent laws, depends upon invention. Every invention may, in a certain sense, embrace more or less of discovery, for it must always includes something that is new; but it by no means follows that every discovery is an invention. Morton v. Infirmary, 5 Blatchf. 121, Fed. Cas. No. 9,865.

In practice. The disclosure by the defendant of facts, titles, documents, or other things which are in his exclusive knowledge or possession, and which are necessary to the party seeking the discovery as a part of a cause or action pending or to be brought in another court, or as evidence of his rights or title in such proceeding. Tucker v. U. S.,151 U. S. 164, 14 Sup. Ct. 299. 3S L. Ed. 112; Kelley v. Boettcher, 85 Fed. 55, 29 C. C.A. 14.

Also used of the disclosure by a bankrupt of his property for the benefit of creditors. In mining; law. As the basis of the right to locate a mining claim upon the public domain, discovery means the finding of mineralized rock in place. Migeon v. RailroadCo., 77 Fed. 249, 23 C. C. A. 156; Book v. Mining Co. (C. C.) 5S Fed. 100; Muldrick v.Brown, 37 Or. 185, 61 Pac. 428; Mining Co. v. Rutter, 87 Fed. 806, 31 C. C. A. 223.

See, What Is Discovery in Law? A Guide for Non-Lawyers


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