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Home Research Guides Entrepreneurship


Find Articles

Entrepreneurship Journals

Target Market

Names and Trademarks

Registering Your Company Name

In most states, the Secretary of State Office handle company registration. For North Dakota, you can find more information on their Business Services website. Minnesota similarly has a Search Business Filings webpage.


You should also search trademarks to make sure a national company has not already taken the name, which would also do business in your state. For more information on trademarks, see Trademark Basics.


What Are Patents?

Patents can give you the right to exclude others from selling an invention like yours based on protected claims. Utility patents are the most common type, as they have to do with machines, processes, business methods, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter, and improvements on these. Inventions must be useful, novel, and non-obvious to be granted patent protection. For more information, see the United States Patent and Trademark Office information.

Searching for Patents

Patents searching can help you determine if someone else already patented your invention and help you gain competitive intelligence. By law, patents disclose enough information that someone in the field could reproduce an invention. Thus, patents can be a great source of technical information. Patent holders may license patents for a fee and could be the basis of your new business, such as those listed on the NDSU Research Foundation's website.

Additional Resources

Technical Assistance

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do, the Small Business Development Center can help you determine out next steps for your business venture.

If you are still exploring your options, SCORE can help you think through business ideas.



NDSU Libraries Digital Fabrication Lab offers a unique collaborative workspace that gives NDSU students direct access to machinery to design, create custom products and prototype projects. The lab features 3D printing and Computer Numerical Control milling manufacturing capabilities, as well as common hand tools to aid in construction. The lab is open to all NDSU students.