from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A sharing in the proceeds of a lawsuit by an outside party who has promoted the litigation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. investing money into an individual’s law suit.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Partnership in power; equal share of authority.
- n. The prosecution or defense of a suit, whether by furnishing money or personal services, by one who has no legitimate concern therein, in consideration of an agreement that he shall receive, in the event of success, a share of the matter in suit; maintenance with the addition of an agreement to divide the thing in suit. See Maintenance.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In law, a species of maintenance, being a bargain which a person not otherwise interested makes with a plaintiff or defendant to receive a share of the land or other matter in suit in the event of success, the champertor carrying on or assisting to carry on the party's suit or defense at his own expense; the purchase of a suit or the right of suing. Champerty is a punishable offense by common law, and in some jurisdictions by statute.
- n. A partnership in power. Also written champarty.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an unethical agreement between an attorney and client that the attorney would sue and pay the costs of the client's suit in return for a portion of the damages awarded
Maintenance “is officious intermeddling in a suit which in no way belongs to the intermeddler, by maintaining or assisting either party to the action, with money or otherwise, to prosecute or defend it,” in other words, helping another prosecute a suit, while champerty is a species of maintenance “in which the intermeddler makes a bargain with one of the parties to the action to be compensated out of the proceeds of the action,” in other words maintaining a suit in return for a financial interest in the outcome.
There is a centuries-old principle in law, called "champerty," that prevents third parties from buying an interest in another's lawsuit.
Last week, this little gem was passed around Greg Aharonian's newsletter, which prompted cries of "champerty" from some of the readers:
The offense of "champerty" has a long history in the law, and don't let the
Del Webb sued defendants for champerty and maintenance (!), false advertising under state and federal law, and intentional interference with the contracts between Del Webb and its customers.
Rebecca Tushnet's 43 (B) log: Rare champerty ruling in false advertising case skip to main | skip to sidebar
Note: In the old common law champerty and maintenance were prohibited.
In this regard, we further observe that recognition of the right of an amicus to present an issue that the parties have no desire to further litigate would constitute judicial recognition of a lawyer relief rule—inviting lawyers and nonparties otherwise without standing to seek out and engage in mischief that would readily be likened to barratry, champerty, or maintenance.
The theory, if I understand it correctly, is that Microsoft is trying to destroy Linux by something akin to champerty and maintenance.
Santos pointed me to a Wikiepedia post on the subject, which also suggests, “champerty, SLAPP, vexatious litigation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution”.