The Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, Title 17, Chapter 13 of the United States Code, was signed into law on October 28, 1998, providing for protection for original designs of vessel hulls. The law grants an owner of an original vessel hull design certain exclusive rights provided that application for registration of the design with the Copyright Office is made within two years of the design being made public. Protection is afforded only to vessel hull designs embodied in actual vessel hulls that are publicly exhibited, publicly distributed, or offered for sale or sold to the public on or after October 28, 1998.
The issuance of a design patent under title 35, United States Code, for an original design for an article of manufacture shall terminate any protection of the original design under this chapter.
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USPTO/Copyright Office Report to Congress on effectiveness of Vessel Hull Design Protection Act (November 2003)