Inventions in outer space

Things people should know when inventing in outer space.

The goal of BLIP is to keep the non-patent lawyer apprised of recent developments in the world of intellectual property law. This post is not directed toward that goal. Today's post is devoted to raising awareness about the patent law with the coolest title: "Inventions in outer space."

The collection of laws that govern patents can be found in Title 35 of the U.S. Code. Anyone having any familiarity with patent laws knows about sections 101-103 of 35 U.S.C.--these sections deal with what is patentable and how you judge if a patent is in fact novel or not obvious. But unbeknownst even to most practicing patent lawyers is that two sections later--in section 105--Congress has enacted a law specifically directed to extraterrestrial patents:

35 U.S.C. 105 Inventions in outer space.

(a) Any invention made, used, or sold in outer space on a space object or component thereof under the jurisdiction or control of the United States shall be considered to be made, used or sold within the United States for the purposes of this title, except with respect to any space object or component thereof that is specifically identified and otherwise provided for by an international agreement to which the United States is a party, or with respect to any space object or component thereof that is carried on the registry of a foreign state in accordance with the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

(b) Any invention made, used, or sold in outer space on a space object or component thereof that is carried on the registry of a foreign state in accordance with the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, shall be considered to be made, used, or sold within the United States for the purposes of this title if specifically so agreed in an international agreement between the United States and the state of registry.

And to think I almost sold an invention in outer space on a component of a space object without knowing about the provisions of the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

 

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