IP in Space: From Science Fiction to Science Fact

Published: January 17, 2023

Brand & New

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Sheja Ehtesham

Sheja Ehtesham ALG India Law Offices LLP Delhi, India

Clark Lackert

Clark Lackert World Trade Centers Association New York, New York, USA

If there is a concern that is almost never factored in by most intellectual property (IP) practitioners when managing their asset portfolios, it may well be what happens to those assets in outer space!

However, as the scientific community continues to explore and study outer space, it’s likely that practitioners may soon experience a certain sense of urgency, the question not being if but when some research or manufacturing activities will be outsourced to outer space or when space resources will be mined. This will be a major commercial shift away from Earth into a space economy, projected to grow to US $1 trillion by 2040.

So, who will have the right to claim and profit from these resources and related IP rights? Will there be a new “IP Gold Rush,” where companies create rights as soon as they can? Many industries, such as space tourism and manufacturing, will be impacted. Think for a moment about the ownership of the rights to images produced by space tourists, or manufacturing that will be moving to a gravity free environment. Beyond these examples, the key issues of who owns what and who can profit from IP assets created off planet become increasingly important as we continue to explore and commercialize outer space.

In this podcast, we’ll be discussing the current state of the IP law in space, the need to act at the national and international levels to develop a clear legal framework and to be prepared for what the future may hold for IP in the evolving space economy. Our guests today, who have been actively involved in the INTA Project Team on IP in Space, are experts in this area.

Our first guest is Sheja Ehtesham, who is the Managing Partner at ALG India Law Offices LLP, an Intellectual Property firm in India. Ms. Ehtesham is ranked among the world’s leading trademark law practitioners. Her practice focuses on IP enforcement and prosecution strategies. She works with her clients to devise global brand filing strategies that align with their business requirements and advises clients in strategizing negotiations. She has also successfully represented several clients in domain name dispute proceedings. Ms. Ehtesham has been an active INTA member for nearly 15 years.

Our second guest is Clark Lackert, who is current Deputy General Counsel for the World Trade Centers Association. Prior to joining this association, Clark spent over 20 years as a partner in major international law firms, focused on trademark, copyright, domain name, licensing, and anticounterfeiting matters, with an expertise in the international area. Mr. Lackert is a domain name arbitrator for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has been a consultant with the U.S. government on the implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). He has lectured globally and is a prolific author.

Related Resources

About Sheja Ehtesham

About Clark Lackert

To go further:

IP in Space, a Report from the IP in Space Project Team (INTA, December 2022)

Trademarks in outer space: supporting the off-world economy (WIPO, December 2021)

IP in Outer Space: The Next Frontier (INTA Bulletin, December 2021)

Intellectual Property Protection in Outer Space: Conflict in Theory and Application in Practice (ScienceDirect, August 2022)

Feasibility of Legal Protection of Intellectual Property in Space (The Law Pavilion Blog, March 2022)

Lost in Space: Intellectual Property (Moonshot Space Co., December 2021)

About Brand & New

Brand & New podcasts from the International Trademark Association

Host Audrey Dauvet discusses compelling business and legal topics relating to intellectual property, innovation, technology, and change with an international roster of influential experts and industry visionaries.

Brand & New guests contribute to this podcast in their personal capacity, and the opinions expressed (or experiences shared) are their own. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of INTA or our members.

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