Process

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Process

A series of actions, motions, or occurrences; a method, mode, or operation, whereby a result or effect is produced; normal or actual course of procedure; regular proceeding, as, the process of vegetation or decomposition; a chemical process; processes of nature.

In patent law, an art or method by which any particular result is produced. A definite combination of new or old elements, ingredients, operations, ways, or means to produce a new, improved, or old result, and any substantial change therein by omission, to the same or better result, or by modification or substitution, with different function, to the same or better result, is a new and patentable process.

In civil and criminal proceedings, any means used by a court to acquire or exercise its jurisdiction over a person or over specific property. A summons or summons and complaint; sometimes, a writ.

Cross-references

Service of Process.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

process

n. in law, the legal means by which a person is required to appear in court or a defendant is given notice of a legal action against him/her/it. When a complaint in a lawsuit is filed, it must be served on each defendant together with a summons issued by the clerk of the court, stating the amount of time (say, 30 days) in which the defendant has to file an answer or other legal pleading with the clerk of the court and sent to the plaintiff. A subpena is a similar to a summons but is a notice to a witness to appear at a deposition (testimony taken outside court), or at a trial. A subpena duces tecum is an order to deliver documents or other evidence either into court or to the attorney for a party to a lawsuit or criminal prosecution. An order to show cause is a court order to appear in court and give a reason why the court should not issue an order (such as paying temporary child support). The summons, complaint, subpena, subpena duces tecum and order to show cause must all be "served" on the defendant or person required to appear or produce, and this is called "service of process." Service of process is usually made by an officer of the court such as a deputy sheriff or marshal, or a professional process server, but can be performed by others in most jurisdictions. (See: summons, subpena, order to show cause, process server, service of process)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

PROCESS, practice. So denominated because it proceeds or issues forth in order to bring the defendant into court, to answer the charge preferred against him, and signifies the writ or judicial means by which he is brought to answer. 1 Paine, R. 368 Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
     2. In the English law, process in civil causes is called original process, when it is founded upon the original writ; and also to distinguish it from mesne or intermediate process, which issues pending the suit, upon some collateral interlocutory matter, as, to summon juries, witnesses,, and the like; mesne process is also sometimes put in contradistinction to final process, or process of execution; and then it signifies all process which intervenes between the beginning and end of a suit. 3 Bl. Com. 279.
     3. In criminal cases that proceeding which is called a warrant, before the finding of the bill, is termed process when issued after the indictment has been found by the jury. Vide 4 Bl. Com. 319; Dalt. J. c. 193; Com. Dig. Process, A 1; Burn's Dig. Process; Williams, J, Process; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 338; 17 Vin. Ab. 585.
     4. The word process in the 12th section of the 5th article of the constitution of Pennsylvania, which provides that "the style of all process shall be The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," was intended to refer to such writs only as should become necessary to be issued in the course of the exercise of that judicial power which is established and provided for in the article of the constitution, and forms exclusively the subject matter of it. 3 Penna. R. 99.

PROCESS, rights. The means or method of accomplishing a thing.
     2. It has been said that the word manufacture, (q.v.) in the patent laws, may, perhaps, extend to a new process, to be carried on by known implements, or elements, acting upon known substances, and ultimately producing some other known substance, but producing it in a cheaper or more expeditious manner, or of a better and more useful kind. 2 B. & Ald. 349. See Perpigna, Manuel des Inventeurs, &c., c. 1; s. 5, Sec. 1, p. 22, 4th ed.; Manufacture; Method.

PROCESS, MESNE, practice. By this term is generally understood any writ issued in the course of a suit between the original process and execution.
     2. By this term is also meant the writ or proceedings in an action to summon or bring the defendant into court, or compel him to appear or put in bail, and then to hear and answer the plaintiffs claim. 3 Chit. Pr. 140.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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