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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, according to Marina Sirtis, the writing staff of Star Trek: The Next Generation found Deanna Troi so difficult to write for, that she was almost dropped in November 1987 after the character went unused in "Hide and Q", "Datalore", "11001001", and "Heart of Glory"?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Friday
1932
Dick Giordano is born.
1943
Carolyne Barry is born.
1951
Fritz Sperberg is born.
1957
Merri Howard is born.
1964
Story outline for TOS: "The Return of the Archons" is completed.
1965
Second day of filming on TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
1966
First day of filming on TOS: "Balance of Terror".
Second set of revised pages for final script draft for TOS: "Balance of Terror" are submitted.
1967
Fifth day of filming on TOS: "The Apple". Scenes at Vaal are filmed today.
1973
Roberto Orci is born.
1974
Paris Benjamin is born.
1987
Fourth day of filming on TNG: "Code of Honor".
First part of a special behind-the-scenes look on the filming of Star Trek: The Next Generation is shown on the program Entertainment Tonight, hosted by John Tesh.
1990
Second day of filming on TNG: "Suddenly Human".
1994
Last day of filming on DS9: "The Search, Part I".
1995
Eighth and final day of filming on VOY: "Initiations".
1998
Third day of filming on DS9: "Shadows and Symbols".
Third day of filming on VOY: "Once Upon a Time".
2000
Fifth day of filming on VOY: "Drive".
2001
Third day of filming on ENT: "Strange New World".
2004
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Storm Front".
2005
James Doohan dies.
2007
John Graffeo dies.
2015
Seventeenth day of filming on Star Trek Beyond.

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