• Legis Scriptor

Outer space and Intellectual property rights

Authored By- Shaik Lalbee

Keywords: Intellectual Property Rights, space law, Cold War period, time and speculation, IP administration, Entities, Trade Secrets, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, progressed innovation.


Innovative advancements within the field of outer space, for the reason of investigating an extraterrestrial environment, studying and utilizing it, isn't a modern concept. In any case, questions of Intellectual Property Rights overseeing these progressions have been brought to the fore generally as of late owing to the truth that these advancements have gotten to be more of a private or commercial issue instead of a state-run movement. The security of one's advancement is basic to their victory. With the world understanding the significance of such shields, the request for it has risen exponentially.


The need of the hour is to create IP laws for outer space, considering the continuous development of the most modern and sophisticated technologies put to use in activities related to outer space. To explore the importance of IPR in outer space activities let us take the example of Remote Sensing Satellites, which take photos of Earth from outer space and send it back for different purposes to the satellite stations built on Earth. The whole method is a product of the human mind's logical development and therefore comes under the reach of IP.

Outer space and Intellectual property rights

Outer space (frequently alluded to as space) comprises a locale of the universe past the upper layers of the environment of Earth. Not at all like prior times, space research is not limited to the government associations but has amplified to the private players as well. In any case, the inclusion of non-governmental offices isn't in nonappearance of discovering any legitimate obligation; Article VI of the External Space Arrangement, 1967, gives that States should be dependable universally for national exercises in external space carried out by governmental agencies or by non-governmental offices which the State should authorize the exercises of the non-governmental offices. Intellectual Property Rights in Space infers that the State is willing and competent of giving security to manifestations exterior its ordinary regional boundaries, within the Space. The security manages the owner of the creation the correct to seek after a lawful plan of action within the event of the creation being commercially abused in Space. In any case, one of the most issues with the security of manifestations in Space by IP law is that its establishment for the IP law for Space was laid down within the Cold War period when Space was a protest of intrigued for countries, not private entities within the country. However, intellectual property rights point to ensure the interface of the owners of the creation. Thus is seen an inalienable pressure between the standards of space law and the IP laws.[1]

The likely intellectual property assurances that can be concurred to space innovations are the following:

Trade Secrets:

Entities, which are self-sufficient and can fabricate and work their space-related innovation without any third-party help, can resort to exchange insider facts for the assurance of their manifestations. They allude to any data held inside the substance, which can be utilized within the operation of the entity's commerce or endeavor and is adequately profitable, to manage a genuine or potential financial advantage over the others.


Two fundamental perspectives that any obvious candidate ought to consider some time recently securing an obvious for their technology are:

  • The jurisdictions in which the innovation is utilized earlier to being propelled into space; and

  • The jurisdictions and related "control" points of the technology.

Patents being allowed by the national governments are inalienably regional and in this way, it gets to be an issue to give the same in a locale directly without regions, such as Space. This issue was settled by Article VIII of the Outer Space settlement which indicates that the State, on whose registry an object propelled into external space is carried, should hold purview and control over such question, and over any faculty thereof, whereas in external space or on a firmament body. The control point of the innovation is additionally held with the State which has enlisted the innovation. Depending on the space-bound technology, the patentee needs to either consider the primary perspective or the moment or a combination of both for the reason of its assurance.


As of now, there's no arrangement for giving the assurance of trademarks to any developments sent to space. Very distinctive from obvious, it relates to the notoriety and branding of the concerned merchandise and administrations. For occurrence, companies such as Space X, Orbital Sciences Corp., and XCOR locked in fabricating and commercial upstarts would endeavor for the security of their advancement and notoriety in Space. Virgin Galactic is endeavoring to embrace commercial exchange in external space and, as a result, those willing to misuse this trade will get to look for the assurance of Trademarks.

2. Copyrights:

The transmission and gathering from satellites can be defended by copyrights. Securing copyrighted works transmitted by partisan from unauthorized capture attempts and utilization has been a universal concern since the 1960s.

There's an extreme insufficiency of the same. Even though Article 22 of the Worldwide Broadcast communications Tradition and Article 17 of the Radio Directions of the Worldwide Broadcast communications Union require part states to keep certain broadcast communications mystery, their significance to interferences of adherent signals is dubious. Such copyright issues can moreover rise from the coordinate broadcast fawning innovation. As is obvious, no intellectual property rights can be claimed yet in Space as such because it is seen truly seen as a common legacy of all of mankind and the requirements laid down within the OST which orders the sharing of the benefits of what is inferred from Space, individual rights are distant from being claimed. It is as it were on a question that's propelled into space can a person/nation have elite rights over.[2]

Need for Intellectual property rights in outer space:

Creating progressed innovation to inquire about and investigate space requires a gigantic sum of time and speculation in investigation & advancement. This field is full of different intellectual manifestations, whose natural products would be borne by the whole humankind. To advance the headway, different non-governmental private companies are taking an active interest in this field, this is often a move from the state-owned substances revealing in this field. The different exercises conducted by these entities incorporate but are not restricted to farther detecting from space, coordinate broadcasting, and inquire about and fabricating in microgravity situations. Due to the speculation included in conducting such exercises, and the overwhelming privatization of such substances, the substances stress almost their property all the time, both substantial and intangible shape.

Since creating these innovations require a part of the venture, collaborations can be seen between private and state-owned companies. Their contract particularly guarantees that the technology-shared would be recouped back within the future without any misappropriation and abuse. This assurance empowers companies to take part to encourage the improvement of space innovation.


Outer space exercises have continuously been characterized by high-tech innovations and progressed science but the acknowledgment of IPR concerning these exercises is of a later root and India, like numerous others nations, has not ordered any space enactment, nor has any arrangements managing with external space exercises in its household IPR regime.

Having said that the major impediment to accommodate the Space law and IPR is that the Space law could be a portion of worldwide law and hence is uniform and same for all nations, while every country has it possesses IP administration. There's a need for legitimate certainty and single uniform law within the field of Space IPR. With law comes an authorization component, which is added directly concerning Space IPR issues.

[1]"Space Law". United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. [2]"Intellectual property", Black's Law Dictionary.