Get Answers to Your Highest Priority South Dakota Legal Questions

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  • May retired school district employees serve on a school board?


    Yes. State law allows a former school district employees to serve on a school board.

    For more information about school district organization in South Dakota, read Chapter 3 of The South Dakota School Law Deskbook.

  • In South Dakota, what are a school board’s powers?


    A school board has the general charge, direction, and management of the district’s schools and the control and care of all property belonging to the district’s schools.

    A school board may levy taxes, borrow money, employ any necessary personnel, lease real and personal property, carry liability and other insurance, or in lieu of insurance make other arrangements, including entering into agreements with others, which agreements may create separate legal or administrative entities pursuant to S.D.C.L. 1-24 to protect and assist a school board in meeting obligations arising from such acts or omissions for which a school board may be legally liable.

    A school board may also purchase necessary books and equipment, purchase real property, and erect necessary buildings for the operation of the school district. 

    For more information about a South Dakota school board's authority, read Chapter 3 of The South Dakota School Law Deskbook.

  • May a school board allow other organizations to use its school’s buses?


    Yes. A school board may allow a nonprofit civic organization or other government entity to use the school district’s vehicles to transport persons to various activities deemed by the school board to be in the public interest. A school board may also adopt policies for the use of its vehicles by other organizations.

  • For what purposes may school buses be used?


    A school board may acquire, own, operate, or hire buses for transporting students to and from its schools either from within or outside the district, or for transportation to and from athletic, musical, speech, and other interscholastic contests in which participation is authorized by the school board.   

  • What is the legal remedy if a school board member participates or votes on a matter in which a conflict of interest exists?


    If a school board member with a direct pecuniary interest participates in discussion or votes on a matter before the governing body, the legal sole remedy is to invalidate that member’s vote.

  • Protecting Your Ideas - What other social media platforms should I protect?


    Few things are worse than taking the time to register your business name and obtain your trademark but losing the ability to have matching social profiles. A large portion of digital marketing takes place on your social media accounts and having identical names can be the difference between a customer finding you or finding your competitor.  For example, you should register “@mycompany” on Twitter and”mycompany” to maintain the rights to them. You should consider claiming these online account profiles:

    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • Snapchat
    • Reddit
    • LinkedIn
    • Google+
    • YouTube

  • Protecting Your Ideas - What is domain name registration?


    In addition to filing for trademark registration, you should consider registering domain names that incorporate your important trademarks. Early domain name registration may prevent another party from registering the domain names and stopping you from using those domain names in your business.

    In some instances, companies will also register domain names that are similar to their trademarks as a defensive measure to discourage cybersquatters and typosquatters who often seek payment for the transfer of domain name registrations. While it is possible to file a complaint to have a domain name transferred to the rightful trademark owner, it is typically less expensive to register domain names early in order to “lock up” the rights.

  • Protecting Your Ideas - Can you reserve a trademark for the future?


    Yes. If you are in the planning or development stage of creating a product, you may have an idea for the product’s name that you'd like to trademark, but you don't plan to immediately offer the product to the public. The USPTO allows you to file an "intent to use" (ITU) trademark registration. Filing for an ITU doesn't establish a trademark, it reserves the trademark for future use.

    Once you've reserved your ITU trademark, you must use the mark within six months to three years of filing the ITU. Once you actually use the mark in commerce, the “use” of the trademark back-dates to your ITU filing. Under most circumstances, it pays to file for an ITU if you are sure you want to use a certain trademark.

  • Protecting Your Ideas - How can you maintain your trademark?


    To maintain your trademark, you must file your first maintenance document between the 5th and 6th year after the registration date. Your registration certificate contains important information on maintaining your federal registration. If the documents are not timely filed, your registration will be cancelled and cannot be revived or reinstated, making the filing of a brand new application to begin the overall process again necessary.

    Rights in a federally registered trademark can last indefinitely if you continue to use the mark and file all necessary maintenance documents with the required fees at the appropriate times.

  • Protecting Your Ideas - Can you lose your rights in a trademark?


    Yes. The most common way to lose rights in a mark is to stop using it with no intention to use it again. This is called “abandonment.” However, there are also ways in which trademark rights may be unintentionally lost.