Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Acquiescence Definition:

Action or inaction which binds a person legally even though it was not intended as such.

Related Terms: Laches, Vigilantibus Et Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt

Contract Law

bitten appleAction which is not intended as a direct acceptance of a contract will nevertheless stand as such as it implies recognition of the terms of the contract.

For example, if I display a basket of fruit in a marketplace and you come by, inspect an apple and then bite into it, you have acquiesced to the contract of sale of that apple.

Acquiescence also refers to allowing too much time to pass since you had knowledge of an event which may have allowed you to have legal recourse against another, implying that you waive your rights to that legal recourse.

Trademark Law

In the law of intellectual property, acquiesence of another's use of a trademark can prevent legal action for damages or a cessation of subsequent use. In Hodgdon Powder, Justice Murguia wrote:

"Acquiescence denotes active consent to use of a trademark. It has three elements: (1) the senior user actively represented that it would not assert a right or claim; (2) the delay between the active representation and assertion of the right or claim was not excusable; and (3) the delay caused undue prejudice to defendant."

International Law

Also, in international law, acquiesence of torture by a government officials is a violation of the Convention Against Torture.

Even if allegedly committed by private parties, there will be a violation of that international law if it can be proven that the government acquesced by official consent or approval, or remained willfully blind to the acts of torture.1


  • Hernandez Aquino v Mukasey, 297 Fed. Appx. 35 (2008; note 1)
  • Hodgdon Powder Co., Inc. v. Alliant Techsystems, 497 F. Supp. 2d 1221 (United States District Court, Kansas, 2007)
  • Ramirez v Gonzales, 224 Fed. Appx. 66 (2007; note 1)

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