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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 Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics for the theme song to Star Trek: The Original Series in order to secure a partial writer's credit for the song? These lyrics were never recorded as part of the original theme song, but have been included in recordings of the Star Trek theme by other artists, including the rock band Tenacious D, lounge band Love Jones, and Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols.

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Saturday
Dec 2014
1935
Bill Wistrom is born.
1943
Milt Tarver is born.
1944
Jimmie F. Skaggs is born.
1951
Pam Blackwell is born.
1954
Dave Simons is born.
1962
Paul Scott is born.
1966
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "Space Seed".
1967
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "The Omega Glory".
First draft script for TOS: "Assignment: Earth" is submitted.
1968
First day of filming on TOS: "All Our Yesterdays".
Final draft script for TOS: "Turnabout Intruder" is submitted.
TOS: "Elaan of Troyius" airs.
Eva Loseth is born.
1969
The Tenth UK Story Arc continues in TV21 & Joe 90 #13 with the second of six installments.
1970
Nicole de Boer is born.
1978
Shaun Roberts is born.
1978
Ninety-sixth day of filming on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
1979
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is released in the UK.
1988
Forty-ninth day of filming on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
1990
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "Galaxy's Child".
1991
Eight and final day of filming on TNG: "Ethics".
1992
Peter Brocco dies.
1993
Last day of filming on TNG: "Masks".
1994
First day of filming on VOY: "Ex Post Facto".
The score of VOY: "Caretaker" including the series theme is recorded.
1995
Madge Sinclair dies.
2000
Eighth and final day of filming on VOY: "Workforce, Part II".
2001
Seventeenth day of filming on Star Trek Nemesis.
2002
Sixth day of filming on ENT: "Canamar".
2004
Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD released in Region 2.
2007
Natalie Norwick dies.
2008
Larry Corbett dies.

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