Jeffrey Proehl is a registered patent attorney with Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C. in Sioux Falls.

Computer software programs and apps may be protected by a number of different forms of IP protection, but the two most significant types are patent and copyright. However, the scope of protection provided by the patent and copyright laws is significantly different. 

In simplified terms, copyright provides legal protection against someone making a substantially identical copy of the software, but will not provide protection against someone who merely copies the ideas or functionality of the software to create another software product.

In contrast, a patent can protect the ideas and functionality implemented in the software from being used in another software product, without requiring that allegedly infringing software be a substantial copy. Obtaining a patent on a software program is typically more difficult than obtaining a copyright on the program, as copyright rights typically come into being at the time of  creation of the software without taking further steps, although registration of the copyright with the Library of Congress is recommended.

Procuring a patent on software requires filing a patent application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and convincing an examiner that the software is sufficiently different from previous software and also eligible to be the subject of a patent. Patent and copyright protection of software is not mutually exclusive, and therefore both types of IP protection can be used to protect a software product.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the following patents to South Dakota inventors in May 2018: 

Patent No. 9,983,142

Title: Reaping Based Yield Monitoring System and Method for the Same

Inventors: John Earl Acheson, Sioux Falls; Jared Ernest Kocer, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Raven Industries, Inc., Sioux Falls

Summary: The inventors have developed a harvester head-based crop yield measuring system.

Patent No. 9,982,317

Title: Systems and Methods for Acid Recycle

Inventors: William F. McDonald, Utica, OH; Shannon Scott Urban, Valley Springs; Jason L. Martin, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Poet Research, Inc., Sioux Falls

Summary: The inventors have developed techniques for pretreating cellulosic materials to enhance ethanol production.

Patent No. 9,981,034

Title: Compositions and Methods for Vaccination Against Influenza A Virus

Inventors: Victor Huber, Vermillion; Ying Fang, Brookings

Assigned: South Dakota Board of Regents, Pierre

Summary: The inventors have developed a vaccine for immunizing a person against Influenza A.

Patent No. 9,980,832

Title: Pararenal and Thoracic Arch Stent Graft and Methods for Use

Inventors: Patrick W. Kelly, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Summary: Kelly has developed a stent graft for repairing and reinforcing portions of the aorta that have multiple branching vessels.

Patent No. 9,979,741

Title: Malware Beaconing Detection Methods

Inventors: Brian Fehrman, Sturgis

Assigned: Netsec Concepts, LLC, Sturgis

Summary: Fehrman has developed methods for detecting communications sent out by an infected computer to a computer attempting to control the infected computer.

Patent No. 9,976,280

Title: Skid Loader Attachment Including a Rotatable and Extendable Claw

Inventors: Michael A. Honermann, Mitchell

Assigned: Not reported.

Summary: Honermann has developed an attachment for a skid loader that has a pivoting jaw that also rotates.

Patent No. 9,975,711

Title: Bin Sweep and Motor Coupling Assembly

Inventors: Chris Nelson, Harrisburg

Assigned: Not reported.

Summary: Nelson has developed an assembly for coupling the motor of a bin sweep to the paddle assembly which is adjustable for variations in the distance between these elements.

Patent No. 9,974,703

Title: System for Construction of an Adjustable Wheelchair and Method of Using the Same

Inventors: Mark James Richard, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Not reported.

Summary: Richard has developed a wheelchair structure that is more easily assembled from a disassembled condition.

Patent No. 9,972,229

Title: Display Module Mounting

Inventors: Ryan Hemiller, Brookings; Ryan J. Nielsen, Brookings; Shannon Lee Mutschelknaus, Aurora

Assigned: Daktronics, Inc., Brookings

Summary: The inventors have developed an improved structure for mounting modules of a larger display on a support frame.

Patent No. 9,969,779

Title: Polynucleotides for Treating Oncogenic Viral Polypeptide Positive Tumors

Inventors: John H. Lee, Sioux Falls; Daniel W. Vermeer, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Summary: The inventors have developed compositions for treating tumors caused by viruses.

Patent No. D817,577

Title: Insulated Composter

Inventors: Greg Cronkhite, Draper

Assigned: Not reported.

Summary: Cronkhite has developed an ornamental design for a composting apparatus.

Patent No. 9,964,095

Title: Method and System for Servicing Wind Turbine Rotor

Inventors: Gaylon Mitchel Pfeiffer, Tampa, FL; Ulrich Werner Neumann, Simpsonville, SC; Brent Hamilton Holloway, Greenville, SC; Michael Royce Johnson, Campton, NH; Kevin Thomas Costain, Baltic; Forrest Christopher Hach, Lake Benton, MN; Howard Lee Hansen, Jr., Waco, TX

Assigned: General Electric Company, Schenectady, NY

Summary: The inventors have developed a system for raising and lowering a blade of a wind turbine tower.

Patent No. 9,963,823

Title: Methods of Reducing the Size of Lignocellulosic Material, and Related Systems

Inventors: Daniel Scott Radigan, II, Sioux Falls; James M. Geraets, Sioux Falls; Jeffrey R. Heikes, Sioux Falls; Rodney Duane Pierson, Dell Rapids; David Charles Carlson, Brandon

Assigned: POET Research, Inc., Sioux Falls

Summary: The inventors have developed techniques for reducing the size of pieces of cellulosic materials to more efficiently produce ethanol.

Patent No. 9,961,830

Title: Combine Cornhead Row Unit for Reducing Field Yield Losses

Inventors: Shawn Gengerke, Groton

Assigned: S7 IP Holdings, LLC, Groton

Summary: Gengerke has developed structure for a harvester row head to save kernels from being lost on the ground.

Patent No. D816,341

Title: Tag-Loop Carrier Assembly

Inventors: David Schiller, Sioux Falls; Curtis John Heinrichs, Sibley, IA

Assigned: Bedford Industries, Inc., Worthington, MN

Summary: The inventors have developed an ornamental design for a product tag.

Patent No. 9,957,138

Title: Device and Method for Lifting Circular Structures

Inventors: Tom Schorn, Canton; Perry Henry Mayland, Assumption, IL; Susan NaDean Wise, Assumption, IL

Assigned: Not reported.

Summary: The inventors have developed an apparatus for lifting structures such as grain bins.

Patent No. 9,956,881

Title: Hybrid Electric Drive System and Method

Inventors: Terry Anderson, Spearfish

Assigned: Autonomous Tractor Corporation, St. Michael, MN

Summary: Anderson has developed a drive system that uses both internal combustion and electricity to power a vehicle.

Patent No. 9,956,095

Title: Self-Expanding Bridging Stent with Anchoring Projections and Methods for Use

Inventors: Patrick W. Kelly, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Sanford Health, Sioux Falls

Summary: Kelly has developed a stent for a body vessel that includes unique anchoring projections to engage the vessel walls.

Patent No. 9,980,454

Title: Maize Hybrid X95K902

Inventors: Martin Arbelbide, Eau Claire, WI; Thomas Charles Barker, Drury, MO; Candida Braga Cabral, Mankato, MN; Julie Ho, Davis, CA; Matthew David Smalley, Urbandale, IA; Stephen Joseph Szalma, Kandiyohi, MN; Gerhard P. Weber, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Johnston, IA

Summary: The inventors have developed a new corn variety.

Patent No. 9,968,048

Title: Maize Hybrid X00F910

Inventors: Dean William Christensen, Northfield, MN; David B. Fischer, Robins, IA; Joseph Kevin Gogerty, Algona, IA; Edwin Michael Grote, Milton, WI; Wade Eugene Odland, Cannon Falls, MN; Eric Scott Riedeman, Alton, IA; Stephen Josseph Szalma, Kandiyohi, MN; Gerhard P. Weber, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Johnston, IA

Summary: The inventors have developed a new corn variety.

Patent No. 9,955,653

Title: Maize Hybrid X95K897

Inventors: Martin Arbelbide, Eau Claire, WI; Thomas Charles Barker, Drury, MO; Candida Braga Cabral, Mankato, MN; Martin A. Fabrizius, Willmar, MN; Gstavo Maarcelo Garcia, Stratford, CA; Christopher Michael Schaefer, Volga; Stephen Joseph Szalma, Kandiyohi, MN; Matthew David Walch, Moorhead, MN; Gerhard P. Weber, Sioux Falls; Julia Xiuling Zhang, Mankato, MN

Assigned: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Johnston, IA

Summary: The inventors have developed a new corn variety.

Patent No. 9,955,643

Title: Maize Hybrid X90H605

Inventors: Lori Lisa Carrigan, Davis, CA; Candida Braga Cabral, Mankato, MN; Dean William Christensen, Northfield, MN; Gustavo Marcelo Garcia, Stratford, CA; Stephen Joseph Szalma, Kandiyohi, MN; Matthew David Walch, Moorhead, MN; Gerhard P. Weber, Sioux Falls

Assigned: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Johnston, IA

Summary: The inventors have developed a new corn variety.

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