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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 Star Trek: The Next Generation actors Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton once formed a band called 'The Sunspots' to provide backing vocals for Brent Spiner?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Friday
Oct 2014
1912
Murray Golden is born.
1933
John Winston is born.
1939
F. Murray Abraham is born.
1954
Karen Austin and Wendy Neuss are born.
1955
Charley Lang is born.
1957
John Kassir is born.
1960
John Thaddeus is born.
1966
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "Shore Leave".
1967
Sixth (and last) day of filming on TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion".
1970
The Sixteenth UK Story Arc concludes in TV21 & Joe 90 #57 with the sixth of six installments.
1978
Fifty-sixth day of filming on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
1979
Michael Twombly is born.
1988
Tenth day of filming on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
1991
Gene Roddenberry dies.
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "Hero Worship".
1992
Post-production special effects scenes of Sisko and Dax crossing the Bajoran wormhole are filmed for DS9: "Emissary". Also, miniature effects shots of the "Hell Planet" are filmed by Robert Legato.
1993
DS9: "Cardassians" airs.
1994
DS9: "Second Skin" airs.
Third day of filming on DS9: "Past Tense, Part I".
First day of filming on VOY: "Parallax".
1995
Eighth day of filming on DS9: "Our Man Bashir".
1996
Second day of filming on DS9: "The Darkness and the Light".
1997
Fourth day of filming on DS9: "Waltz".
Fourth day of filming on VOY: "Hunters".
1999
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library CD-ROM released.
2000
Fifth day of filming on VOY: "Lineage".
2001
ENT: "Terra Nova" airs.
2002
Second day of filming on ENT: "The Catwalk".
2003
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Chosen Realm".

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