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The Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Outer Space Activities

Tosaporn Leepuengtham

This book considers the intellectual property issues which are raised by space activities. While outer space itself remains out of reach for most of us, the results of space activities and developments from space technology are becoming ever-more integrated in our daily lives. Despite this, there is often little understanding of the importance of space technologies, how existing legal rules may apply in terms of protecting the technology, or whether legal protection, such as copyright, may be enforced if the unauthorised use takes place beyond conventional territorial borders in outer space.
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Chapter 2: International intellectual property rights instruments and their implications for outer space activities

Tosaporn Leepuengtham


Intellectual property laws protect works created by human intellectual effort. Such works can be categorized in various types which are protected, subject to the conditions required by law, irrespective of the location of their creation.117 Thus, a work created in outer space is just as eligible for intellectual property protection as those works which are created on earth. Consequently, there are various forms of intellectual property which are relevant to protect space activities, including copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrets. But, the principal forms which will be discussed in this research are copyright and patents; other intellectual property rights fall beyond the scope of this study.118

Section 1 of this chapter begins with an overview of the major international intellectual property law instruments, focusing only on those relevant to this research. Section 2 will examine and categorize the forms of intellectual property protection which apply to space activities. Section 3, the main body of this chapter, will examine the implications of the pertinent instruments to space activities, including the difficulties which may arise when applying their principles to space activities. Section 4 assesses the impact of key international principles relating to patent protection to outer space. Section 5 examines obligations to provide enforcement procedures, as applied to outer space activities. Finally, concluding remarks will introduce the analysis contained in the subsequent chapters.

At present, the many international conventions in force relating to intellectual property can be divided into two groups: those international...

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