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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 Rick Berman and Brannon Braga never created a back story for the humanoid figure, aka "Future Guy"?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Thursday
Jul 2015
1930
Chuck Courtney is born.
1937
Ben Slack is born.
1938
Ronny Cox is born.
1948
Lenore Kasdorf is born.
1954
John Kretchmer is born.
1965
Fifth day of filming on TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before". During shooting a swarm of wasps appears on the set, causing panic among the cast and crew, and stinging William Shatner and Sally Kellerman.
1968
Sixth day of filming on TOS: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?".
Revised final script draft for TOS: "The Empath" is submitted.
1983
Jessica and Vanessa Bova are born.
1987
Seventh day of filming on TNG: "Code of Honor".
1990
Third day of seven filming the episode TNG: "Suddenly Human".
1991
Fourth day of filming on TNG: "Darmok". Todays scenes were filmed on location at Bronson Canyon.
1996
Seventh day of filming on VOY: "The Chute".
1998
Sixth day of filming on DS9: "Shadows and Symbols".
Sixth day of filming on VOY: "Once Upon a Time".
2001
Fourth day of filming on ENT: "Strange New World".
2002
Third day of filming on ENT: "Minefield".
2003
Third day of filming on ENT: "Extinction".
2004
Seventh and final day of filming on ENT: "Storm Front".
2007
David Clover dies.
2011
Chip Mayer dies.
2012
TNG Season 1 Blu-ray theatrical showings are held.

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