Antoinette M. Tease Montana Patent
 Intellections® July 2012 
The Bakken Is Producing Not Only Oil But Also Creative Juices

The Bakken--a 200,000-square mile area of subsurface rock extending across parts of North Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan--represents the largest oil boom this country has seen in decades. The Bakken is named after Henry Bakken, a farmer in Williston, North Dakota, on whose land the formation was initially discovered. The Bakken formation is widely considered to be the largest oil deposit in the lower 48 states. Although estimates of total reserves vary greatly, some estimates place the Bakken reserves as high as hundreds of billions of barrels.

While much of the country is still reeling from the recession, the Bakken has stimulated economic development in the Williston Basin area and beyond. Where people congregate, so do ideas--and the Bakken has been a wellspring not only for economic activity but for intellectual property and innovation.

Although we are not at liberty to share with you the subject of unpublished patent applications filed by our firm, we can tell you about our clients' issued patents. The patents discussed below represent significant innovations in the oil and gas industry:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,216,720 to C. Duane Zimmerman (issued May 15, 2007) entitled "Multi-String Production Packer and Method of Using the Same" provides a production packer for use in coal bed natural gas production in which multiple seams of coal are dewatered and produced simultaneously and a constant head of water is maintained over each coal seam.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,503,686 to Paul Tarmann et al. (issued March 17, 2009) entitled "Apparatus and Method for Mixing Fluids at the Surface for Subterranean Treatments" discloses a mixing device that mixes chemical and carrier fluids for injection down the well bore.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,581,591 to Shane Schwindt (issued September 1, 2009) entitled "Production Casing Ripper" covers a device that cuts a continuous vertical slot in well production casing.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,819,932 to R. Bret Rhinesmith et al. (issued October 26, 2010) entitled "Method and System for Generating Hydrogen-Enriched Fuel Gas for Emissions Reduction and Carbon Dioxide for Sequestration" involves converting hydrocarbon molecules from a gaseous hydrocarbon feed stream into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, separating the hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and blending the hydrogen back into the gaseous hydrocarbon feed stream to generate a hydrogen-enriched fuel gas.
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,866,222 to R. Bret Rhinesmith et al. (issued January 11, 2011) entitled "Mobile Vacuum Sampling System" provides a mobile sampling system for taking samples from a natural gas well that is at low pressure or under vacuum and analyzing those samples in the field.
All of these patents are available on the "patents and published applications" page of our website:

The Bakken has also engendered trademark activity--there are eleven federal trademark filings for marks that include the word "Bakken." The marks ROCKIN' THE BAKKEN (, TALKIN' THE BAKKEN and GATEWAY TO THE BAKKEN have all been registered. Although "Bakken" is a geographic term that cannot be owned by any one person, when combined with one or more other non-descriptive words or a graphic element (such as in a logo), it can be part of a federally registered trademark.

There are eleven federal copyright registrations with "Bakken" in the title, the most recent being an electronic file called "Bakken Gold" and registered as visual material. This registration is owned by the National Information Solutions Cooperative, Inc. of Mandan, North Dakota.

We feel fortunate to be located in our new offices in downtown Billings, Montana, at a time of economic opportunity and growth for this region. Our firm is the most prolific intellectual property firm in this part of the country, and we look forward to continuing to serve our clients by protecting and defending their intellectual assets.

Patent Law for the New West
The information in this newsletter is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Please consult a qualified attorney for advice on a specific legal matter.

© 2012 Antoinette M. Tease, P.L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.
Click here to un-subscribe from this newsletter.