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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?

Today in Trek history

Today is
John Kneubuhl is born.
Lil Evans is born.
Brock Peters is born.
Robert Ito is born.
Charles H. Hyman is born.
Saul Rubinek is born.
Wendy Schaal is born.
Evan Carlos Somers is born.
Daren Dochterman and Cynthia Madvig are born.
Fourth day of filming on TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead".
Final draft script for TOS: "And the Children Shall Lead" is revised.
Last strip of the Goodbye to Spock comic story arc is published.
Revised final draft script for TNG: "Code of Honor" is submitted.
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.
Fifty-fifth and last day of filming on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Principal photography ends.
Final draft script for TNG: "Time's Arrow, Part II" is submitted.
Final draft script for DS9: "The Homecoming" is submitted.
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.
Fourth day of filming on VOY: "Day of Honor".
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".
Third day of filming on VOY: "Barge of the Dead".
Paramount Home Entertainment releases Next Generation volume 4.4 and Voyager volume 7.4 on VHS in the UK.
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "Carbon Creek".
Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3 DVD released in Region 1.
Fifth day of filming on ENT: "The Xindi".
Norm Prescott dies.
Victor Lundin dies.
Sixth day of filming on Star Trek Beyond.
The Aia surface exteriors are filmed for PIC: "Broken Pieces" at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch.


Unused production material