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Design patent example.jpg
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.
Did You Know that B.G. Robinson actress Teri Hatcher specifically asked for her name to be removed from the credits of "The Outrageous Okona" due to most of her scenes being deleted?
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Today in Trek history

Today is
Saturday
1920
John Kneubuhl is born.
1924
Lil Evans is born.
1927
Brock Peters is born.
1931
Robert Ito is born.
1944
Charles H. Hyman is born.
1948
Saul Rubinek is born.
1954
Wendy Schaal is born.
1958
Evan Carlos Somers is born.
1967
Daren Dochterman and Cynthia Madvig are born.
1968
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead".
Final draft script for TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead" is revised.
1983
Last strip of the Goodbye to Spock comic story arc is published.
1987
Revised final draft script for TNG: "Code of Honor" is submitted.
1990
Final draft script for TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" is submitted.
CIC Video releases Original Series volume 27, Next Generation volume 3, and "The Cage" All Colour Collectors Edition on VHS in the UK.
1991
Fifty-fifth and last day of filming on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Principal photography ends.
1992
Final draft script for TNG: "Time's Arrow, Part II" is submitted.
1993
Final draft script for DS9: "The Homecoming" is submitted.
1996
Sixty-first and last day of filming on Star Trek: First Contact. Production went four days over schedule. The last scene filmed is Picard's Borg nightmare.
1997
Fourth day of filming on VOY: "Day of Honor".
1998
Sixty-seventh and final day of filming on Star Trek: Insurrection. Principal photography is complete.
First day of filming on VOY: "In the Flesh". Also, some scenes are re-shot for VOY: "Night".
1999
Third day of filming on VOY: "Barge of the Dead".
2001
Paramount Home Entertainment releases Next Generation volume 4.4 and Voyager volume 7.4 on VHS in the UK.
2002
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "Carbon Creek".
Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3 DVD released in Region 1.
2003
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "The Xindi".
2005
Norm Prescott dies.
2013
Victor Lundin dies.
2015
Sixth day of filming on Star Trek Beyond.
2019
The Aia surface exteriors are filmed for PIC: "Broken Pieces" at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch.

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Unused production material