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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 Tom Morga is the only Trek actor to appear on screen with all five of the series captains?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Friday
Jul 2014
1937
Paul Collins is born.
1938
Pilar Seurat is born.
1948
Phil Caplan is born.
1955
Iman is born.
1960
Doranna Durgin is born.
1966
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "Balance of Terror".
Revised draft script is submitted for TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".
1967
First day of filming on TOS: "Mirror, Mirror".
First draft script submitted for the undeveloped Original Series episode "He Walked Among Us" by Norman Spinrad and Gene L. Coon.
1968
First day of filming on TOS: "The Empath".
1970
Markus Kurtz is born.
The Fourteenth UK Story Arc concludes in TV21 & Joe 90 #44 with the sixth of six installments.
1977
Christine Boylan is born.
Construction begins on the Enterprise sets for the proposed Star Trek: Phase II series.
1987
Michael Welch is born.
1990
Fifth day of filming on TNG: "Suddenly Human".
1991
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "Darmok".
Final draft script for TNG: "Ensign Ro" is revised.
1994
Third day of filming on DS9: "The Search, Part II".
CIC Video releases Next Generation volume 84 and Deep Space Nine volume 18 on VHS in the UK.
1995
Third day of filming on VOY: "Non Sequitur".
1996
Final draft script for DS9: "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" is submitted.
Star Trek Monthly issue 18 released.
1997
Final draft script for DS9: "Rocks and Shoals" is revised.
2000
First day of filming on VOY: "Critical Care".
2001
Sixth day of filming on ENT: "Strange New World".
2002
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "Minefield".
2003
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "Extinction".
2006
Pocket TOS novel Burning Dreams published.
2008
Randy Pausch dies.
Unknown
Nina Xining Zuo is born.

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