Space travel began with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and has come a long way since then. Humans may land on the moon, explore the limits of interstellar space, and soon take a vacation in space! But the invention of space exploration has also impacted life on Earth. From laptops to CT scans to safer air travel to better water filtration, space has impacted life on Earth in ways we can’t even imagine.
Various countries are replacing unilateral activities with cooperative, international and treaty cooperation, and there is a growing trend towards private commercialization, especially with the commercialization of space and the consequent lowering of barriers to entry. increase. They took different approaches to space activities and rapidly led to new ideas about how space could and should be commercialized. Private companies such as Space X, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have launched several space launches.
SpaceX is testing Starship, a fully reusable spacecraft designed to launch crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and more, and India recently announced the first by an Indian space tech startup. successfully launched a rocket. It’s time for space travel too, as several companies are racing to turn an ordinary person into an astronaut for his one day.
These developments are controlled by governments and the private sector through space legislation enacted under the auspices of the United Nations. Given that space exploration relies heavily on advanced technology that certainly requires intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, the increasing commercialization of space will further increase this demand. However, there are conflicts.
Public-private conflicts and territorial disputes between space and intellectual property add to the legal uncertainty. This legal uncertainty may discourage states and non-governmental organizations from actively engaging in commercial space activities, both nationally and internationally.
While international treaties articulate unoccupied space and space exploration for the benefit of all nations and space as the domain of all mankind, the fundamental principles of intellectual property (IP) law are the exclusive intellectual property rights.
The purpose of this article is to present the conflict between these two different legal systems on space and intellectual property and to examine how the conflict in India can be resolved under the existing international legal framework.
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