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International Law of Outer Space and the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

43 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2010  

Leo Balverde Malagar

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Marlo Apalisok Magdoza-Malagar

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 1, 1999


Outer space ... shall be the province of all mankind.

The historic launch by the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (“USSR”) of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957 signaled the beginning of the space race. The following years witnessed such seminal events as the placing of men in orbit and eventually on the Moon, the landing of vehicles on various celestial bodies, the launch of telecommunications satellites and space stations, the placing of space stations into orbit, and the development of space-based technologies such as remote viewing. It is estimated that since 1957, approximately 14,000 objects have been sent into outer space. Five thousand of these are still in orbit, the rest having been recovered or burned up in the atmosphere.

Given the rapid expansion of operations in space, much international effort, both multilateral and bilateral, has been made for the guidance and regulation of activities in outer space. During the initial stages of space exploration, the UN played a dominant role in the regulation of these activities. However, these efforts are no longer adequate to deal with present issues relating to the use of outer space, largely for their failure to keep abreast with the rapid technological advances.

These technological advances raise issues affecting the rights of states and the rights of individuals. One key issue is the protection of intellectual creations and inventions in outer space. The present article gives a brief background on the relatively new international legal regime of outer space and evaluates relevant international legal instruments in the specific context of protecting intellectual property rights. Part I of the article is an introduction to the topic. Part II of the article defines the jurisdictional boundaries of outer space by presenting the issue of delimitation. Part III of the article gives a comprehensive overview of the legal and policy regime of outer space by discussing the historical evolution of international space law, the present law-making process, the sources of international space law, and the fundamental principles of outer space law. Part IV of the article discusses basic concepts of intellectual property rights and its application to outer space activities. Part V of the article serves as a conclusion.

Keywords: IPR, intellectual property, law, outer space law, outer space, international law, public international law, private international law

JEL Classification: K11, K12, K13, K14, K19, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Malagar, Leo Balverde and Magdoza-Malagar, Marlo Apalisok, International Law of Outer Space and the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (January 1, 1999). Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 311, 1999. Available at SSRN:

Leo Balverde Malagar (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Marlo Apalisok Magdoza-Malagar

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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