The GNU General Public License v3.0 includes a patent license grant (emphasis added):

... Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version. ...

Does the term "worldwide" include outer space?

2 Answers 2


The language quoted seems clear - worldwide is very broad.

Patents in space are a thing, at least in some cases -


(a) Any invention made, used, or sold in outer space on a space object or component thereof under the jurisdiction or control of the United States shall be considered to be made, used or sold within the United States for the purposes of this title, except with respect to any space object or component thereof that is specifically identified and otherwise provided for by an international agreement to which the United States is a party, . . .


It doesn’t matter

Patent law is country by country and under current international law, no country has territory in space, so there is no patent protection in space.

  • 1
    What about inside a spacecraft? Aren't spacecraft subject to the jurisdiction of the country in which they are registered?
    – Someone
    Dec 23, 2023 at 20:59
  • @Someone spacecraft are not ships.
    – Trish
    Dec 23, 2023 at 21:42
  • @Trish so national laws only apply on spacecraft if the particular law says it applies? US amateur radio regulations explicitly say that they apply on US spacecraft, so I'd assumed that means the US has jurisdiction over said spacecraft.
    – Someone
    Dec 23, 2023 at 22:49
  • 1
    @Someone Almost. There are different fringe cases, and once you leave the spacecraft's hull you are in international space, where patents don't apply to people but to registred sattelites... space is more tricky than shos.
    – Trish
    Dec 23, 2023 at 23:23
  • 1
    I assume the patent license grant is as valid in space as patent law. Anyone trying to sue would have to explain why one should not apply but the other should.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 24, 2023 at 0:25

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