2018-10-11

Innovation, space technologies and patents

The European patent accademy held a conference on the above subject in Luxembourg on 8 October  2018. The morning panels adressed issues of applicable law in outer space.

The main international instrument is the outer space treaty of 1967.

According to article II of the Treaty, outer space is not subject to national appropriation by any means.

However, the State that launches a space object retains jurisdiction and control over that object. The State is also liable for damages caused by their space object.

Numerous examples were given about inventions born from space technologies.

To the surprise of the audience, ESA representatives indicated that no invention has ever been reported to have been made in outer space.

It appears that facilities such as the ISS are to be seen as a test lab. Inventions are made on the ground, by analysing the data obtained in outer space.

Also to note is that patent applications in the space field have doubled between 2007 and 2017. The big players are located in the US, France, Germany and Italy.
On big topic at the moment concerns the removal of debris.

Luxembourg Space Law

Pr. Mahulena Hofmann (SES Chair in Space, SatCom and Media Law, University of Luxembourg) talked about Luxembourg’s space law.

In August 2017 Luxembourg was the first European state to adopt a space exploration law.

Philippe Ocvirk