Patents are essential for promoting scientific progress and innovation. However, the current framework for patents in outer space unduly disincentivizes U.S. patentees from obtaining patents. Importantly, these disincentives may hinder innovation for vital technologies relating to space. This Note explains why international collaboration is necessary to solve this problem and how the United States can incentivize international support for a space patent regime. Specifically, this Note advocates a patent regime consisting of a single set of substantive and procedural patent laws governing the distinct territory of space. First, Part I provides a background on current patent laws in space. Next, Part II explains how current law disincentivizes patenting and how an international patent regime could ameliorate these problems. Finally, Part III uses rational choice theory to explain how the United States could balance the competing interests of other states to create a functioning patent system for U.S. patentees.
Carrots, Sticks, and Space Patents,
72 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol72/iss2/3