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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 Gene Roddenberry has five characters named after him in the Star Trek universe?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Saturday
Jan 2015
1914
Carey Loftin is born.
1927
Norm Prescott is born.
1929
Jean Simmons is born.
1934
Gene DeWeese is born.
1947
Jonathan Banks is born.
1951
Cristine Rose is born.
1962
Robin Bonaccorsi is born.
David Oliver is born.
1967
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "Errand of Mercy".
1969
TOS: "The Lights of Zetar" airs.
1970
The Eleventh UK Story Arc continues in TV21 & Joe 90 #19 with the second of six installments.
1972
Al Goto is born.
1990
Final draft script for TNG: "Tin Man" is submitted.
1991
Fourth day of filming on TNG: "The Nth Degree".
Final draft script for TNG: "Qpid" is submitted.
1992
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "The First Duty".
1994
TNG: "Sub Rosa" airs.
CIC Video releases Star Trek - The Three Beginnings on VHS in the UK.
1995
DS9: "Life Support" airs.
Second day of filming on VOY: "State of Flux".
1998
Gary Nardino dies.
2000
Gil Kane dies.
2001
VOY: "Repentance" airs.
Seventh and final day of filming on VOY: "Author, Author".
2002
Sixth day of filming on ENT: "Oasis".
Thirty-eighth day of filming on Star Trek Nemesis.
2003
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Horizon".
2005
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II".
2006
Pocket ENT novel Rosetta published.
2007
Lee Bergere dies.
2012
Fourteenth day of filming on Star Trek Into Darkness.

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