Archive for category Trademarks
Like many emerging technology fields, the commercial spaceflight industry has a long close relationship with their patent attorneys. Patents are an excellent way for companies to maintain the hard-won competitive edge the skull sweat of their R&D group has created. Even before man made it to space, patents and patent applications have been filed on a variety of space-related technologies including: rocket steering systems (filed 1952!), escape tower rockets (filed 1959 on behalf of NASA), and sea-based recovery of space launch vehicles (filed 2009 by Blue Origin). Intellectual property rights protect new technologies and provide a potential avenue for royalty profits through licensing. What is a license, you ask, and how can it boost the company bottom line? Read the rest of this entry »
Apple products seem to be everywhere today. It seems impossible to find an mp3 player that is not an iPod. Smartphone market share is largely measured in terms of “iPhone” and “not iPhone.” More macbooks are sold at retail than any other personal computer in the world. And then there are the legions of loyal fans that have inked their support of those Cupertino minimalists on their bodies. As of STS-135, there are even iPhones on the International Space Station (ISS). That’s right, ISS personnel use two iPhone 4 smartphones to monitor experiments aboard the floating station. They even have a custom app, SpaceLab for iOS, which we earth-bound (for now) people can download on our more down to earth iOS products. Here in the United States, Apple’s trademarks like the bitten-apple logo and the term “IPHONE” itself are reserved for the exclusive use of Apple and people Apple authorizes under Federal trademark law (the Lanham Act, don’t pronounce the “h” if you don’t want to be made fun of in front of all your IP buddies…), but what protects Apple’s hard earned brand cache on the International Space Station? Or can the more entrepreneurial ISS astronauts don black turtlenecks, slap an Apple logo on anything they feel like, and sell it for twice the normal price?
In the coming weeks, IPinSpace, everyone’s favorite, intrepid, niche-among-niches blog about intellectual property and space will be rolling out a new recurring segment—the Space IP Roll Call, SIPROC for short (you can’t build any space cred without the ability to generate awkward acronyms!)! Each SIPROC post will focus on a specific piece of intellectual property owned by an aerospace company that is interesting to IPinSpace’s chief scribe, Andrew Rush, and/or to you, the reader! Feel free to send in suggestions regarding what trademarks, copyrighted material, patents or patent applications you think would be cool to hear about in SIPROC.
The intellectual property addressed in a SIPROC post can come from anywhere—NewSpace, OldSpace, BigSpace, LittleSpace, CommercialSpace, NASA, etc. For an idea of what the differences between all those crazy terms are, check out HobbySpace’s description! Read the rest of this entry »
NASA has taken some pretty awesome pictures over the years. In order to capture these amazing photos, NASA has spent billions of dollars on telescopes, robotic missions, and manned missions. Because it was so expensive to produce these photos, it must be pretty expensive for private individuals to use them, right? Companies like Universal sue downloaders in order to defend their copyrights in box-office failurs like Waterworld, after all, so NASA must be trying to protect their investment too! Wrong.
NASA is a government agency, and new material they create, like photos, which would be subject to copyright protection if made by a group like Universal, is explicitly excluded from copyright protection under the law. Specifically, 17 USC §105 states: