New Trademarks in Outer Space: Principal Points and Proposals to Focus on
Modern trademark law in different jurisdictions inherited approaches laid down for the first time in Napoleon III’s French Manufacture and Goods Mark Act of 1857. At the same time, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that explains the law of gravitation, spacetime, and its relationship to other forces of nature in outer space, as well as the astronautic theory by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky that laid the groundwork for modern spaceflight were developed at least a half-century later.
As a result, the modern trademark law system does not account for specific physical conditions existing in outer space. Therefore, it is not easy to mechanically extend the system beyond Earth and apply it to other celestial bodies and spacecraft in deep space.
Considering the latest developments in private spaceflight and recent plans involving colonization (and likely commercialization) of Moon and Mars, it is now absolutely essential to propose, discuss, and implement new approaches on how trademarks can work in outer space. It is important not just to extend trademark law approaches that were formed before the Space Exploration Age has started but to research and develop new approaches that can be used by humanity in the future in the far-distant places of space.
Outer Space Specifics
From future trademark law perspectives, there are at least several factors that distinguish outer space activities from activities on Earth.
1. Trademark Terms and Time Dilation
According to Albert Einstein’s general relativity theory, confirmed by numerous experiments, time dilation (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation) is a difference in the elapsed time as measured by two clocks due to relative velocity between them or due to a difference in gravitational potential between their locations. From practical perspectives, it means a specific period of time, e.g., a term of trademark, term to challenge trademark due to non-use, etc., differs depending on gravitation potential/velocity of celestial body/spacecraft in space, providing persons or businesses located in different locations in the galaxy and moving with different speed relative to each other or relative to Earth with a different/non-equal corresponding legal term.
Since other celestial bodies have different periods of a local day (e.g., 24 hours on Earth vs. nearly 25 hours on Mars vs. nearly 656 hours on the Moon) and local year (e.g., 365/366 days on Earth vs. 687 days on Mars), compared to Earth, from the future galactic trademark law perspectives, this requires (i) either to implement specific transformation procedure of established terrestrial trademark terms in accordance with gravity location/velocity of corresponding celestial body, (ii) or to establish own trademark terms focused on specifics of each celestial body considering its gravity and speed.
2. Trademark Terms and Celestial Body Conditions
Terrestrial trademark laws denote specific terms for trademarks (validity period, non-use period, etc.) depending on the common business environment, “market pulse,” and conditions to start and conduct a business in each specific jurisdiction.
It is likely that business activities in open space and on celestial bodies will be (at least during the first period of their exploration) significantly different from the common business environment on Earth.
Considering such differences, it seems important to establish different trademark terms for outer space, considering how difficult it would be to start and conduct a business there.
3. Difference In Color and Flavor Perception
It was empirically determined that colors and flavors in space and on other celestial bodies have different feelings and impressions comparing to the same colors and flavors on Earth. From these perspectives, criteria for “use requirements,” “confusing similarity,” or other trademark law categories based on trademark perception cannot work as they work on Earth.
Same as from the gravity and velocity aspects, from trademark perception perspectives and the future galactic trademark law perspectives, it is required to (i) either implement specific procedures on how to assess terrestrial trademarks on other celestial bodies depending on local perception specifics, (ii) or to establish own trademark protection system on each celestial body considering specifics of local perception.
1. Based on the abovementioned factors, the creation of special trademark jurisdictions for (i) each celestial body, (ii) each area of outer space with different time dilation, business environment, or perception conditions (later referred to as “area of outer space”) looks very promising. Such jurisdictions will be based on terms and conditions (later referred to as “Specific Conditions”), indicated in terrestrial terms and conditions denoted in global WIPO trademarks agreements, considering, however:
- Time dilation coefficient for such celestial body or area of outer space, reflecting differences between terrestrial measured time and corresponding time on celestial body/area of outer space.
- Business condition coefficient which underlines difficulties of business environment on the celestial body/area of outer space and will be changed depending on the evolution of business environment on each celestial body/area of outer space in the future.
- Perception modifiers which will “transform” color composition or flavor perception on one celestial body or area of outer space to the color composition or flavor as it perceived on another celestial body or area of outer space, to such extent that goods or products from one celestial body will be brought to another, and they will enjoy the same level of trademark protection as on the planet of their origin (due to the effect of perception modifiers), even though their perception on the destination planet is different.
2. Each celestial body or area of outer space can be recognized as a separate trademark jurisdiction, which will protect trademarks based on both (i) registration and (ii) use requirements.
3. Today humankind within WIPO can pursue to establish the Universal Trademark Register (later referred to as “UTR”), which will contain local registers for celestial body/area of outer space jurisdiction, considering Specific Conditions relevant to corresponding body/area. The UTR can be based on blockchain technology to ensure its universal and long-lasting character.
4. To receive the proper title of specific body/area trademark owner needs (i) to file its application into the UTR for all the local registers or into a specific register of local celestial body/area of outer space, and simultaneously to (ii) confirm the use of such trademark within the territory of such celestial body or area not later than the expiration of non-use period calculated based on terrestrial terms altered by Special Conditions coefficients and modifiers.
5. A trademark can be filed into the UTR from any point of the Universe and be indicated as related to any of the celestial bodies or areas of outer space. Being included into the UTR, such trademark will be represented and protected in all of its forms of perception, considering Perception modifiers established for all celestial bodies or areas of outer space that already existed in the UTR as well as for these Perception modifies which will appear in future—considering later Universe exploration and colonization.
6. Trademark disputes initiated on celestial bodies or within areas of outer space can be solved by the Universal Trademark Court (later referred to as “UTC”), which may be arranged for each case on an ad hoc basis and may consist of local judges from a celestial body/area of outer space relevant for the case. If such judges are absent in the according region of the space, the UTC may consist of judges from the celestial bodies most similar with those where the dispute was initiated based on Special Conditions, and only in cases when such judges are not available — by judges located on Earth.