Document Type

Student Article


The commercial space industry is soon expected to explode into a trillion- dollar industry, but patent protection in NewSpace has been largely ignored by an industry that is driven by technological innovation and rapid develop- ment. There has been little disclosure of inventions as large commercial space companies rely on trade secrets that are almost impossible to independently invent or reverse engineer. The benefits of both invention disclosure and se- crecy are well known, but there has not been analysis on inventions in the space industry. This paper fills the gap in the literature by analyzing common intellectual property practices in the aerospace industry and applying intellec- tual property theory. I also review past government actions on intellectual property in the aerospace industry. I find that actors in the commercial space industry have little incentive to disclose their inventions. This lack of incentive may harm or slow the expansion of the commercial space industry. This Arti- cle may be useful to policymakers who wish to continue the expansion and innovation of the commercial space industry through intellectual property policy.



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