Patent Law in North Dakota

Imagine inventing a product that lasts over 100 years! Well, a North Dakotan did just that when he invented and patented flexible film rolls in 1881. Keep In mind, without a patent, inventions often never make it to market and fade away. However, securing a patent can be a difficult and discouraging part of a new product’s lifecycle. Fortunately, working with an experienced North Dakota patent attorney can give you the competitive edge you need to protect the legacy and profits of your invention.

What Is a Patent?

Patent law covers the many aspects of securing a patent. There are many legalities to understand, from copyrighting products and advertising, to the Lanham Act. Basically, a patent is a legal protection you secure through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, (USPTO), under intellectual property laws. A patent guarantees the exclusive right to use your intellectual property. It also helps enforce that no other person can make or profit from something for which you hold the patent.

The USPTO Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO) serves nine states, including North Dakota. RMRO is currently located in Denver, Colorado. In addition, North Dakota inventors have access to the Patent and Trademark Resource Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

What Are the Types of Patents?

There are three different types of patents inventors can apply for. Each patent has specific stipulations and serves a different purpose.

  • Utility Patent – This is the most common type of patent. It is for new machines, processes/functions, and chemicals.
  • Design Patent – These patents are for securing a unique and new design of a manufactured item. Design patents protect from entities trying to capitalize on an invention by replicating and producing it.
  • Plant Patent – These types of patents are specifically for the invention of new plant varieties. The process must include asexual reproduction, meaning by means other than seeds.

What Can You Patent?

In reality, not everything you create qualifies for patenting. There are only certain types of intellectual property that fall under patent protection. Other intellectual property rights cover different creations. Here is a look at the types of inventions you can patent:

  • Process – Also referred to as a method, this is a new way of doing something. 
  • Machine – This is any material thing or device that has some sort of output, whether functionality or physical object.
  • Manufacture – This is the creation of a physical object.
  • Composition of matter – This is a mixture of chemical or biological compounds to create something new.

You can apply for a patent for whichever new device, method, or compound you create by applying to the USPTO. Once they accept your patent application and approve it, you have exclusivity rights to the invention for the next 20 years. However, a design patent period lasts for 14 years.

Difference Between a Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent

North Dakota inventors often file a provisional patent first, which is a way of buying time to finalize an invention. Provisional patents last for a year, and the application process is simple. Once you file a provisional patent, you have a year to convert it to a non-provisional patent. The latter is just another name for the formal and final patent.

How to Apply for a Patent in North Dakota

The process of applying for a patent in North Dakota is complex and detailed. You must meet all the requirements and submit every required piece of documentation to secure your patent. You must file your application with the USPTO.

The University of North Dakota’s Center for Innovation offers assistance to innovators interested in licensing new technologies. Additionally, the Center can also assist with patent and trademark searches. If you are considering filing a patent, it is advisable to do a patent search beforehand. This is important because your application must prove that your invention is novel and not obvious, given prior inventions.

When it is time to apply for a patent, hiring an experienced North Dakota patent attorney can be the difference between success and failure. This is because the patent application is a complex, legal document. For example, you must submit a drawing and a detailed description of your invention. In addition, you must show how the invention overcomes any problems that existed in prior inventions. Furthermore, you must submit an application fee, and an oath asserting that you are the original inventor. Keep in mind, a patent examiner reviews your application, and you have to provide detailed written responses to defend your patent properly.

When Should I Hire an Experienced North Dakota Patent Lawyer?

There are multiple reasons to hire a patent attorney. If you want the assurance of having someone acting on your behalf, then  North Dakota patent law lawyers can help you. They can assist with every step of the filing process and ensure that you include all the required information. Additionally, they may be able to guide you when it comes to navigating consumer laws, as well as help you avoid false advertising. This can prove especially valuable if you are trying to merge, or transform your invention into a business.

In 2015, North Dakota enacted anti-patent troll legislation. Specifically, North Dakota Code prohibits bad faith assertion of patent infringement. If you are a victim of this crime, an experienced North Dakota patent attorney can bring an action in court on your behalf. The court may award remedies including equitable relief, damages and exemplary damages, and attorney fees. Similarly, if you are accused of bad faith patent assertion, you will need an experienced patent attorney to represent you in court.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in North Dakota

A patent lawyer provides a great service in assisting with securing and managing your patent. You should meet with an attorney to discuss how he or she can help you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across North Dakota state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!

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