Welcome to IPinSpace, the first blog in the universe devoted to all things space and intellectual property! I am your humble host and chief scribe, Andrew Rush. The first thing you’re probably wondering (besides “who is this guy with the quick last name?” which you can find a quick (naturally) answer to here) is “why space and intellectual property?” Excellent question, hypothetical reader! The long and the short of it goes a bit like this; intellectual property law impacts everything the light touches, including bleeding edge industries like commercial space exploration. In many respects IP, and law in general, is constrained by national borders carved in terra firma, wielded by individuals with a sometimes imperfect understanding of the tools (legal and physical) available to make things happen. I have chosen to focus on space, intellectual property, and the law generally in order to explore the interplay between these areas and (hopefully) provide you, the reader, with a better understanding of these subjects.
I think intellectual property and especially the patent system are amazingly interesting fields, but many creative, innovative people don’t have a clear understanding of these areas. Intellectual property rights like the right to protect your unique invention via a patent, or to safeguard your writings, drawings, or program code via a copyright are enshrined in no less a document than the US Constitution, not to mention a ton of international treaties!
Similarly, many people, myself included, grew up reading science fiction and/or possess an innate drive to propel man to the stars, while the rest of the population considers such people starry-eyed nerds because many in the general population don’t have a clear understanding of how space exploration and space-based industry can and does enrich the world on a daily basis. My iPhone is apparently a magical device that always knows where I am, but without GPS satellites flying overhead and a thorough understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity, my shiny magical device would be just as lost and unwilling to ask for directions as I am! Who owns those satellites anyway and what about the space they’re wizzing through at 6800 mph?
At IPinSpace, we’ll talk a lot about these areas in a way that is as free of legalese and technical jargon as possible because I believe that neither the law nor science should be treated as a priesthood where only a few people in an arbitrary club are given the chance to understand these subject areas. I believe it is my duty as a patent agent and as your humble host to share my knowledge and understanding of the law with as many people as possible in the clearest of terms. I also take up the burden of sharing my geeky passion about space with the same group of people, and maybe even a few more! Ultimately, you, hypothetical reader, and I are here to explore and (hopefully) educate each other about space exploration, intellectual property, space law, and how all those things jumble together and take us to the future!
So please, learn a little (or a lot!) here and use it in good health!