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Intellectual property protection in outer space: reconciling territoriality of intellectual property with non-territoriality in outer space

Yun Zhao

Keywords: territoriality; outer space; intellectual property

The issue of intellectual property protection is receiving more and more attention from participants in space activities. Outer space provides a special environment for scientific research and experiments. The increasing involvement of private entities provides another impetus calling for states to provide a favourable legal environment for intellectual property protection. As such, it is important to examine whether the territorial nature of intellectual property can reconcile with the non-territorial nature of outer space. This article concludes that the conflicting features of the two regimes are not irreconcilable. Since the existing regime for intellectual property is relatively mature, a connecting point can be created to link outer space with the current intellectual property regime. As such, an optimum balance can be reached ‘between the interests of the inventor, the State concerned, and those who improve space technology’.

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