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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
Tuesday
Sep 2014
1919
Larry Dobkin is born.
1925
Morgan Woodward is born.
1949
Ed Begley, Jr. is born.
1966
Scott Workman is born.
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "The Conscience of the King".
"Charlie X" is reviewed by Jack Gould in The New York Times. "The accent," Gould writes, "was less on the super-duper gadgetry usually associated with travel in the heavens than on astronautical soap opera that suffers from interminable flight drag. It was TV's first psychodrama in orbit."
1968
Sixth day of filming on TOS: "Plato's Stepchildren".
Final script draft for TOS: "That Which Survives" is submitted.
Revised story outline for the undeveloped Original Series episode "The Forseeable Future" is submitted by Jean Lisette Aroeste.
1970
Nick Sagan is born.
1972
The Thirty-Second UK Story Arc continues in Valiant & TV21 #51 with the fourth of nine installments.
1982
Story outline for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is submitted titled Star Trek III: Return to Genesis.
1983
Twenty-fourth day of filming on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
1987
Seventh and final day of filming on TNG: "Justice".
1991
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "Unification II".
Several scenes for TNG: "Unification I" are filmed.
1992
Twenty-first day of filming on DS9: "Emissary".
1993
Seventh day of filming on TNG: "Attached".
Final draft script for DS9: "Necessary Evil" is submitted.
1994
Ninth day of filming on VOY: "Caretaker".
1996
Gene Nelson dies.
Fourth day of filming on VOY: "The Q and the Grey".
1997
Sixth day of filming on DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited".
1998
Final draft script for DS9: "The Siege of AR-558" is submitted.
2001
The BBC airs Star Trek Night.
2002
James Gregory dies.
Third day of filming on ENT: "The Communicator".
2003
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Twilight".
2004
Third day of filming on ENT: "The Forge".
2006
The remastered version of Star Trek: The Original Series begins airing with "Balance of Terror".
2013
Kim Hamilton dies.

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