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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 in his first few episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, Walter Koenig had to wear a wig to play Pavel Chekov that was reminiscent of The Monkees' Davy Jones, in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Saturday
Sep 2015
1936
Alyce and Rhae Andrece are born.
1938
Michael P. Schoenbrun is born.
1940
Gloria Calomee is born.
1944
Rod Arrants is born.
1946
Andrew Probert is born.
1956
Josef S. Klus is born.
1959
Skip Stellrecht is born.
1968
First draft script for TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy" is submitted.
Further revisions to the story outline for TOS: "The Way to Eden" are submitted.
1970
The Fifteenth UK Story Arc continues in TV21 & Joe 90 #50 with the sixth of seven installments.
1978
Twenty-first day of filming on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
1982
First strip of the fourteenth comic story arc is published.
1989
Seventh and final day of filming on TNG: "The Bonding".
1991
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "The Game".
1994
CIC Video releases Next Generation volume 87 and Deep Space Nine volume 21 on VHS in the UK.
1995
John Megna dies.
1996
Final draft script for DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." is submitted.
1997
Final draft script for DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited" is submitted.
1998
Leo Penn dies.
2000
Seventh day of filming on VOY: "Flesh and Blood".
2001
Robert H. Raff dies.
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Breaking the Ice".
2002
Ed McCready dies.
Third day of filming on ENT: "The Seventh".
Second unit scenes are filmed for ENT: "Minefield".
2003
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "The Shipment".
2005
Star Trek: Enterprise season 3 DVD released in Region 2.

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