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DesignPatentExample

Detail of an Issued Design Patent

Design patents are a type of patent issued under United States of America law. (Other locations have similar protections but they are called different things.) The patent is granted based on the unique appearance or concept of an item rather than its "usefulness". Design patents typically are sought for items where the appearance is as - or more - important than the underlying craftsmanship itself. So, things like jewelry, toys, furniture, car parts, etc. are frequently granted design patents.

Design patents have a life in the US of fourteen years from the date of issuance. Their main usefulness is as a supplement to copyright protections. Whereas someone claiming a copyright in a work can prevent actual copies being made, a design patent can more easily be used to prevent the unauthorized creation of similar items which are not actually copies. Neither protection is absolute, but some counsel believe that having both is important where even the hint of similar design is a threat to the value of the original design.

From 1978 through 1987, Paramount Pictures sought and obtained various design patents for Star Trek designs. There seem to have been no other filings after 1987, and Paramount's legal department instead probably feels comfortable with existing copyright protections.

In each instance of a design patent at least one "inventor" has to be listed. The inventor can never be the corporation, it has to be an individual or individuals. It is sometimes interesting to see who gets credit for what on the official documents.
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Did You Know that Denise Crosby left Star Trek: The Next Generation before the first season ended because she felt her character was not being given enough to do?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Sunday
Jul 2014
1940
Bruce Watson is born.
1945
James W. Jansen is born.
1961
John Putch is born.
Paul Townsend is born.
1963
Glen Hambly is born.
1965
Seventh day of filming on TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
1966
Sixth day of filming on TOS: "Balance of Terror". Romulan Bird-of-Prey bridge scenes are filmed today.
Revised final draft of script for TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" is submitted.
1967
Kellie Waymire is born.
Third day of filming on TOS: "Mirror, Mirror". The scenes in Kirk's quarters are filmed today.
Final draft script for TOS: "The Deadly Years" is submitted.
1969
Bryan Fuller is born.
1987
First day of filming on TNG: "Haven".
1990
Seventh and final day of filming on TNG: "Suddenly Human".
1994
Fifth day of filming on DS9: "The Search, Part II".
1995
Fifth day of filming on VOY: "Non Sequitur".
1998
Eighth and final day of filming on DS9: "Shadows and Symbols".
2000
Third day of filming on VOY: "Critical Care".
2001
Eighth and final day of filming on ENT: "Strange New World".
2004
Second day of filming on ENT: "Storm Front, Part II".
Pocket TNG novel A Time to Kill published.

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