Patents, Trademarks, & Copyrights

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A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A trademark protects the name of a business or product.

The Secretary of State is the filing agent for Trademarks, Emblems, and Name Registrations under the laws of South Dakota and can be contacted at 605-773-3537. State statutes governing Trademark and Service Mark Protection can be found in SDCL 37-6.

A patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. A patent protects an invention.

For more information on patents call the US Patent & Trademark Office: 1-800-786-9199.

A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.

For more information on copyrights call the US Copyright Office: 202-707-3000 or toll free at 1-877-476-0778.