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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 carpets on the bridge of The Next Generation were changed nearly every season? In the first season, they were an Earthy tan and orange, but were later changed to various shades of blue and dark orange.

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Monday
Nov 2014
1940
Alan Gibbs is born.
1947
Dwight Schultz is born.
1948
John Alvin is born.
1949
Gunter Ziegler is born.
1952
Eugene P. Rizzardi is born.
1957
Denise Crosby is born.
1964
Second day of rehearsals for TOS: "The Cage".
1966
Russell Watson is born.
TOS: "The Menagerie, Part II" airs.
1967
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "Return to Tomorrow".
Revised final draft script for TOS: "Patterns of Force" is submitted.
1971
Brandon Molale is born.
1973
TAS: "The Time Trap" airs.
The Thirty-Seventh UK Story Arc continues in Valiant & TV21 #113 with the seventh of twelve installments.
1978
Seventy-eighth day of filming on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Airlock scenes (preceeding Spock's space walk) are filmed today.
1981
Twelveth day of filming on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Design patents for Vulcan shuttle and Star Trek font are issued.
1987
Third day of filming on TNG: "11001001". Among the scenes filmed today are those featuring Riker bumping into Tasha and Worf on their way to a game of Parrises squares.
1993
Leo Shreve dies.
Fifth day of filming on TNG: "Lower Decks".
Final draft script for DS9: "Paradise" is submitted.
1997
Third day of filming on VOY: "The Killing Game". The teaser sequence with Kate Mulgrew dressed up as a Klingon is filmed today.
CIC Video releases The Original Series volume 3.5 on VHS in the UK.
1998
Fourth day of filming on DS9: "Chimera".
1999
VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy" airs.
2003
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Harbinger".
2004
Third day of filming on ENT: "The Aenar".
2009
Star Trek: Vanguard novel Precipice, by David Mack, is released.
2013
Jim Veilleux dies.

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