A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
interest
A commission you pay a bank or other creditor for lending you money or extending you credit. An interest rate represents the annual percentage that is added to your balance. This means that if your loan or credit line has an interest rate of 8%, the holder adds 8% to the balance each year. More specifically, interest is calculated and added to your loan or credit line through a process called compounding. If interest is compounded daily, the balance will rise by 1/365th of 8% each day. If interest is compounded monthly, the balance will rise 1/12th of 8% at the start of each month.
interference
In patent law, a procedure to resolve a conflict that occurs when two or more patent applications have been filed on the same invention. When this happens, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) examines a number of factors in order to determine who gets the patent, including who first conceived of the invention and worked on it diligently, who first built and tested the invention and who was first to file a patent application.
interlocutory decree
A court judgment that is not final until the judge decides other matters in the case or until enough time has passed to see if the interim decision is working. In the past, interlocutory decrees were most often used in divorces. The terms of the divorce were set out in an interlocutory decree, which would become final only after a waiting period. The purpose of the waiting period was to allow the couple time to reconcile. They rarely did, however, so most states no longer use interlocutory decrees of divorce.
Internet service provider (ISP)
A business that provides access to the Internet. An ISP may also offer services such as website hosting. An ISP can sometimes be held accountable for copyright violations for material posted by subscribers and users, but is often protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The Communications Decency Act usually protects ISPs from the posting of obscenities or defamation by subscribers or users.
interrogation
A term that describes vigorous questioning, usually by the police of a suspect in custody. Other than providing his name and address, the suspect is not obligated to answer the questions, and the fact that he has remained silent generally cannot be used by the prosecution to help prove that he is guilty of a crime. If the suspect has asked for a lawyer, the police must cease questioning. If they do not, they cannot use the answers against the suspect at trial.
interrogatory
Written questions designed to discover key facts about an opposing party's case, that a party to a lawsuit asks an opposing party (but not a witness, who can only be questioned in person at a deposition). Interrogatories are part of the pretrial discovery stage of a lawsuit, and must be answered under penalty of perjury. Court rules tightly regulate how, when and how many interrogatories can be asked. Lawyers can write their own sets of questions, or can use form interrogatories, designed to cover typical issues in common lawsuits.
intestate
The condition of dying without a valid will. The probate court appoints an administrator to distribute the deceased person's property according to state law.
intestate succession
The method by which property is distributed when a person dies without a valid will. Each state's law provides that the property be distributed to the closest surviving relatives. In most states, the surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and next of kin inherit, in that order.
inure
To take effect, or to benefit someone. In property law, the term means "to vest." For example, Jim buys a beach house that includes the right to travel across the neighbor's property to get to the water. That right of way is said, cryptically, "to inure to the benefit of Jim."
inventory
A complete listing of all property owned by a deceased person at the time of death. The inventory is filed with the court during probate. The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for making and filing the inventory.
invest
(1) To formally grant power or authority to someone. For example, when the President of the United States is inaugurated, he is invested with all the powers of that office. (2) To contribute money to a business venture, or to buy property or securities, with the intention and expectation of making a profit.
investor
A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes investments for others who have entrusted her with their money.
invitee
A business guest, or someone who enters property held open to members of the public, such as a visitor to a museum. Property owners must protect invitees from dangers on the property. In an example of the perversion of legalese, social guests that you invite into your home are called "licensees."
IP
See intellectual property law.
ipse dixit
Latin for "he himself said it." The term labels something that is asserted but unproved.