The economic activities in outer space are expected to experience a surge, and the INTA white paper proposes key measures for protecting space intellectual property rights

Economic activities in outer space will surge, and the INTA white paper suggests protecting space intellectual property rights

Recently, the International Trademark Association (INTA) released a far-reaching white paper titled “IP in Space”. It emphasized the urgent need to promote and protect intellectual property in this new field as economic activities in outer space are expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

Over the past few years, private sectors have launched numerous rockets and satellites into low Earth orbit, and even provided tourism services. It is expected that there will be intensive commercial activities in low Earth orbit, outer space (above sea level of 100 kilometers or 62 miles), the Moon, and Mars by 2050.

According to the non-profit Space Foundation’s “2022 Space Report,” the space economy is growing at the fastest rate in years, with global annual spending reaching a record high of 469 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years.

Clark Lackert, co-chair of INTA’s Space IP Project Team and member of the World Trade Center Association in the United States, and Sheja Ehtesham, an IP expert from the ALG law firm in India, introduced the white paper and said, “The white paper is committed to distilling complex global treaties and national laws into feasible, reasonable principles and action plans. It is challenging but interesting for us to address the issue of how to solve the problem of obscurity. The release of this white paper is an important first step in addressing this challenge.”

Intellectual property law is the foundation of a secure, competitive, and innovative economy. However, as pointed out in the “IP in Space” white paper, current national and international laws and treaties on outer space activities have not yet fully considered how to protect these important intangible assets.

The former president of INTA, Zeeger Vink, said: “Once again, technological development has outpaced the law. Nowadays, people frequently release a large number of commercial plans related to space new initiatives, while space is still largely a legal vacuum (especially in the field of intellectual property). The debate on how to protect intellectual property in space is inevitable. We hope that the white paper can become the cornerstone of the debate, not only in the near future, but also in the remaining time of this century and the next century.”

After reviewing the current Outer Space Treaty, national laws related to outer space, arbitration systems, white papers published by the United Nations and WIPO, interviews with law professors and aerospace executives, and other resources, the project team proposed ten proposals for establishing the legal infrastructure of space intellectual property for further consideration by relevant parties (see white paper for details).

Of these ten proposals, seven are for creating rights and three are for enforcing those rights. Short-term (by 2030) proposals involve expanding the scope of the Madrid International Trademark Registration System to include a new jurisdiction called “Outer Space”; natural law, contracts, database creation, court establishment, and arbitration are also mentioned. In the medium term (by 2040), the report recommends the formulation of a space treaty and the establishment of a new arbitration court. In the long term (by 2050), the proposal is to expand the previous proposal of treaties and registration and enforcement of intellectual property related matters.

INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo said: “The white paper rings the alarm bell for international organizations, governments, intellectual property regulatory authorities, and even all stakeholders in intellectual property and space exploration, urging them to identify and develop fair, transparent, and workable mechanisms to promote innovation and intellectual property protection in outer space.”

With the rapid development of the global space industry economy, related expenditures could soar to over $1 trillion by 2040. Therefore, the white paper released by INTA is a timely and necessary action plan for the legal infrastructure of space intellectual property.

Zhongwei Intellectual Property has many years of experience in the international intellectual property industry and has a professional team overseas. We are not only proficient in the application of international patents, international trademarks, and international copyrights, but also provide dispute resolution for overseas intellectual property. If you have any requirements for overseas patent applications, please contact Zhongwei Intellectual Property. We are dedicated to providing you with professional and efficient international intellectual property application services!

Source: International Trademark Association Releases Milestone Space IP White Paper – International Trademark Association (

(Zhongwei Intellectual Property International Website: zllp.myyxxx_xr:a=s.=czl_os )

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WeChat Official Account: Zhongwei Intellectual Property International

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