Patent Law in South Dakota

America would not be the same without the contributions of inventors from South Dakota. As documented by APS Physics, Ernest Lawrence’s invention of the cyclotron has led to many innovations. His device has even helped scientists complete breakthroughs in cancer research.

If you believe you have a big idea to share, you may have become intimidated by the patent process. The long list of steps to take, fees to pay, and forms to complete can feel daunting. As a result, you should know what an experienced patent lawyer can bring to your situation.

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.

You can research existing patents using resources from places like the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. In addition, the nearest USPTO presence to ask for assistance is the Rocky Mountain Regional Office.

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

South 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 South Dakota

The process of applying for a patent in South 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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce points out that your invention must be novel to receive approval. Determining whether your creation will make the grade can benefit from experience since this decision can be relatively subjective.

Each step toward approval has potential pitfalls that cost precious time, money, and resources. Accordingly, your patent attorney can help you maximize your investment during the following phases:

  • Researching patents
  • Getting ready to complete your application
  • Paying fees and filing your documentation
  • Participating in the examination process
  • Patent maintenance

When Should I Hire an Experienced South 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  South 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.

A patent attorney can also answer crucial questions about patentability. For example, South Dakota University identifies the three standard tests an invention should pass. Your concept must be new or novel, non-obvious, and useful to pass muster with the USPTO. While these elements sound simple, it can take experience to understand what the federal government wants to see.

Ultimately, you can also need help defending your intellectual property. A patent attorney under this circumstance becomes the vanguard for your enterprise. They may also keep an eye on the market and act quickly to notify imitators that they’re infringing on your patent.

Work with an Experienced Local Patent Attorney in South 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 South 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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