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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 the first CGI ship created for Star Trek was actually a refit Constitution-class study model, but it was never used on screen?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Thursday
Apr 2014
1920
Adrian Spies is born.
1929
Michael Forest is born.
1930
Reza Badiyi is born.
1940
Chuck Menville is born.
1946
Tom Ormeny is born.
1951
Edward French is born.
1954
David Bell is born.
1956
Elizabeth Lindsey is born.
1958
Peter Slutsker is born.
1960
Jeff Bornstein is born.
1968
Revised story outline submitted for the undeveloped Original Series episode "The Godhead" by John Meredyth Lucas.
1971
The Twenty-First UK Story Arc begins in TV21 & Joe 90 #82 with the first of nine installments.
1986
Thirty-eighth day of filming on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
1989
Second revised final draft script for TNG: "Peak Performance" is submitted.
1991
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "Redemption".
Second day of filming on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
1995
DS9: "Through the Looking Glass" airs.
Fifth day of filming on DS9: "The Adversary".
1996
Eighth day of filming on Star Trek: First Contact.
1998
Fourteenth day of filming on Star Trek: Insurrection.
2008
Second unit photography and VFX plate shooting on Star Trek is wrapped.

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