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Everyday IP

Everyday IP: Patents For Spaceships, Past, And Present

Several patents have been green for spaceship technologies in the past, and some are still green today. Spacecraft components, rocket engines, and propulsion systems were once patentable. More recently, patents have been green for reusable spacecraft and technologies for landing on other planets.

Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Boeing have filed patents for various spaceship technologies. NASA has also filed patents for technologies developed for space exploration and travel.

SpaceX has evolved from the Space Race.

Yes, SpaceX was set up in 2002 by Elon Musk to reduce the cost of space transportation and enable the colonization of Mars. The company has developed several rockets, including Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy, as well as the Dragon spacecraft. These vehicles are second-hand to launch satellites. Supply the International Space Station, and even send astronauts to space. SpaceX’s reusable rocket technology. This allows the company to recover and reuse rocket boosters, significantly reducing space launch costs. Additionally, the company is developing Starship, a fully reusable spacecraft designed to transport people and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and other destinations beyond Earth. So, SpaceX is the most evolved company in the space race.

Commercial space industry Everyday IP

The commercial space industry has seen significant growth in recent years, and with that growth comes an increase in the filing of patents for various technologies. Companies in the sector are filing patents for a wide range of technologies, including:

  • Rocket and propulsion systems: Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Rocket Lab have filed patents for reusable rocket technology, which allows for the recovery and reuse of rocket boosters.
  • Satellite technology: Companies like Iridium Communications and OneWeb have filed patents for satellite constellations, which are groups of satellites that work together to provide global coverage for communications and other applications.
  • Space debris removal: Companies like Astroscale and Effective Space Solutions are filing patents for technologies to remove debris from Earth’s orbit.
  • In-orbit servicing: Companies like Northrop Grumman and SSL are filing patents for robots and other technologies that can use to service and repair satellites in orbit.
  • Space mining: Companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries have filed patents for technologies to extract resources from asteroids and other celestial bodies.

These are some examples of commercial space industry IPs.

Everyday IP law’s unexplored galaxies

The field of IP law as it relates to the commercial space industry is still relatively new and uncharted. There are several areas in which IP law may need to be fit or developed to accommodate the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the commercial space industry. Some of these new galaxies in IP law include:

  • Extraterrestrial property rights: As companies and governments extract resources from celestial bodies, questions may arise about who owns those resources and how they can legally exploit them.
  • Space debris and pollution: As more and more trash is port in Earth’s orbit, there may be a need for new laws and regulations to govern the cleanup and disposal of that debris.
  • Liability and safety: As commercial space travel becomes more common, laws and regulations may need to be mature to govern liability and protection issues related to space travel.
  • Space IP protection: With the growth of the commercial space industry, companies may want to protect their Everyday IP rights, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights, but the space law still needs to have a clear framework.

These are some examples of new galaxies in IP law and space law. As the commercial space industry continues to grow and evolve, IP law will likely need to adapt and evolve to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by this field.


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