If a member of Europe’s astronaut corps makes a scientific discovery while working on the International Space Station, who files the patent and where? To find the answer, plus concise information on copyright, trademarks, patents and other ways of protecting ideas and inventions, check out ESA’s new intellectual property website.

Intellectual property (IP) is the driving force behind any research and development organisation. ESA needs Europe’s scientific and technical community to come up with the new ideas to ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of the space community.

To encourage new creations and ensure they reach as wide an audience as possible ESA has an effective and comprehensive IP policy. If new inventions are to be used and developed by European industry then inventors must benefit from their creation and investors should receive a fair return on their investment.

The site gives precise and concise information on why and how to protect intellectual property, which method to choose and who to contact. It also addresses three important questions:

  • What is intellectual property?
  • What is ESA’s intellectual property policy?
  • How does it apply to space activities?

Although primarily intended to help those involved in European space research and technology, the information on the site is relevant for anyone who has an original creation or innovation, so take a look.