Law, College of


Date of this Version



Published (as chapter 6) in Earth Observation Data Policy and Europe, edited by Ray Harris (Lisse: A. A. Balkema, 2002), pp. 51–59. Copyright © 2002 Swets & Zeitlinger B.V. (Division of Taylor & Francis). Used by permission.


This chapter provides a contribution to analyze and evaluate the possibilities and obstacles of using intellectual property rights as a policy tool in the European Earth observation context. To this end, the generic concept of “intellectual property rights” will be discussed first. Secondly, such an analysis will then be applied to the legal particularities provided by Earth observation from space. Thirdly, a few international treaties on intellectual property rights will be discussed. Fourthly, the particular legal framework available in principle for any policies in Europe will be scrutinized, for example the specifics of the legal order having arisen within the European Union. Fifthly, the relevance of legislative efforts undertaken in Europe so far will also be scrutinized.