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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 following a large earthquake in Los Angeles, Armin Shimerman did not have time to remove his Ferengi makeup when he rushed to go home to check on his family and the makeup "scared the living shit out of people"?

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Today in Trek history

Today is
Thursday
Sep 2015
1918
David P. Harmon is born.
1926
William Couch is born.
1942
Ray Xifo is born.
1955
James Duff is born.
Tim Landry is born.
1956
Gene Wolande is born.
1958
Kevin McCorkle is born.
1959
Merritt Butrick is born.
1967
Una McCormack is born.
1970
Aaron Leach is born.
1974
Shannon Watson is born.
1987
Seventh and final day of filming on TNG: "Lonely Among Us".
1990
CIC Video releases Next Generation volume 5 and Original Series volumes 29, 30 & 31 on VHS in the UK. The Original Series volumes see the end of season 2 and the beginning of season 3 released.
1991
Fourth day of filming on TNG: "The Game".
1992
Thirteenth day of filming on DS9: "Emissary".
1993
Sixth day of filming on TNG: "Dark Page".
Final draft script for DS9: "Rules of Acquisition" is submitted.
1997
VOY: "Scorpion, Part II" airs.
2001
Paramount Home Entertainment releases Next Generation volume 4.7 and Voyager volume 7.7 on VHS in the UK.
2002
First day of filming on ENT: "The Seventh".
Star Trek: The Next Generation season 4 DVD released in Region 1.
2003
Third day of filming on ENT: "The Shipment".
Derek Bellman dies.
2004
Second day of filming on ENT: "The Augments".
2012
Michael Clarke Duncan dies.

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