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There are Patents in Space!

The United States derives the Patents in Space Act of 1990 from the international space treaties.

With this Act, provided in 35 U.S.C. § 105, the United States became the only country to generally apply its patent law to its objects in outer space.

Section 105 provides that inventions made, used, or sold in outer space on a space object under the jurisdiction or control of the United States shall be considered to be made, used, or sold within the United States. However, there are two exceptions.

First exception, United States patent law does not apply to any space object specifically identified by an international agreement to which the United States is a party.

Second exception, United States patent law does not apply to any space object that is carried on the registry of a foreign country in accordance with the Registration Convention. This second exception creates a loophole.

Under Section 105, an entity can avoid patent infringement on an invention in outer space by registering its space object, via a launching State under the Registration Convention, in a country where the invention has not been patented.