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Featured production article

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 the Whorfin-class ships, SS Lakul and SS Robert Fox, were the first fully computer-generated ships to appear in a Star Trek movie or series?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Monday
Oct 2014
1922
John Anderson is born.
1933
Ralph Maurer is born.
1934
Michael Dunn is born.
1954
David F. Tepool is born.
1956
Peter Morwood is born.
1966
TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" airs.
Second day of filming on TOS: "Shore Leave".
1967
TOS: "The Doomsday Machine" airs.
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion". Arena scenes are filmed today.
1972
Eric Kagan is born.
1973
TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan" airs.
The Thirty-Seventh UK Story Arc continues in Valiant & TV21 #108 with the second of twelve installments.
1977
Sam Witwer is born.
Rough first draft script for "In Thy Image" (which evolved into Star Trek: The Motion Picture) is submitted.
1978
Fifty-fourth day of filming on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
1983
Forty-eighth day of filming on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
1987
Second day of filming on TNG: "The Big Goodbye". Patrick Stewart's first scenes as Dixon Hill are filmed today.
1988
Eighth day of filming on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
1989
Musical score for TNG: "Booby Trap" is recorded.
1993
Second day of filming on TNG: "The Pegasus".
1994
Eighth and final day of filming on DS9: "Fascination".
First day of filming on DS9: "Past Tense, Part I".
Thirty-third day of filming on VOY: "Caretaker".
1995
Sixth day of filming on DS9: "Our Man Bashir".
1997
DS9: "Behind the Lines" airs.
Eighth and final day of filming on DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi".
Final day of filming on VOY: "Waking Moments".
CIC Video releases The Original Series volume 3.4, Star Trek - The Movies, Deep Space Nine volume 5.13 and Voyager volume 3.13 on VHS in the UK.
1999
VOY: "Alice" airs.
2000
Third day of filming on VOY: "Lineage".
2003
Seventh (and last) day of filming on ENT: "Carpenter Street".
2004
Sixth day of filming on ENT: "Daedalus".
2006
Jane Wyatt dies.
2009
Pocket ENT The Romulan War trade paperback, Beneath the Raptor's Wing, by Michael A. Martin is released.

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