Dialogue on intellectual property and space commercialization

Dialogue on Intellectual Property and Space Commercialization

Are you interested in learning more about the intersection of intellectual property (IP) and the growing commercial space sector? Join us in person or virtually for this free one-day program that will bring together industry experts, policy advisors, and IP professionals to discuss the rapidly evolving landscape of space commercialization and its related IP considerations.

Topics will include:

  • An overview of the current landscape in space commercialization.
  • An examination of IP and space law, including both national and international frameworks.
  • Valuable insights into collaborative research and development and licensing strategies.
  • Exploration of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and startups.

There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Registration to attend in person will close May 15. Registration for online attendance remains open.

Register today


Agenda subject to change

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.     Welcome and opening remarks

  • Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

9:15 – 10:30 a.m.     Session 1: The current state of space commercialization


  • Gabriel Swiney, Director, Policy, Advocacy, and International Division, Office of Space Commerce, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
  • Angela Hart, Manager, Commercial Low Earth Orbit Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) [virtual]
  • Mary Guenther, Vice President, Space Policy, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Karen Jones, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Space Policy and Strategy 
  • Joel Graham, Partner, Meeks, Butera & Israel


  • Melissa Haapala, Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judge, Patent Trial and Appeal Board, USPTO

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.     Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.     Session 2: Intellectual property and space law: National and international perspectives


  • Nicholas Pairolero, Senior Research Economist, Office of the Chief Economist, USPTO
  • Kurt Hammerle, Senior Patent Attorney, NASA
  • Michelle L.D. Hanlon, Professor of Practice and Executive Director, Center for Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi School of Law
  • Rachel Lovejoy, Senior Counsel, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)
  • Steven Wood, Senior of Counsel, Vela Wood; Founding Advisory Board Member, Association of Commercial Space Professionals
  • Amna Al Owais, Chief Registrar, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts of Space


  • Peter N. Fowler, Senior Counsel for Enforcement, Office of Policy and International Affairs, USPTO

12:15 – 1:30 p.m.     Break

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.     Session 3: Collaborative R&D and licensing 


  • Erica Rodgers, Director of Advanced Programs, Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS), NASA
  • Meredith Schoenfeld, Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Brian P. O'Shaughnessy, Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP; Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Licensing Executives Society, USA & Canada, Inc.
  • Armin T. Rad, Ph.D., CEO & Co-founder, Encapsulate Inc [virtual]


  • Vu Nguyen, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Policy and International Affairs, USPTO

2:45 – 3:00 p.m.     Break

3:00 – 4:15 p.m.     Session 4: Opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and startups


  • Damian Taylor, Deputy Program Executive, Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR), Early-Stage Innovations and Partnerships, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA
  • Anna Brady-Estevez, Program Director, America’s Seed Fund, National Science Foundation
  • Scott Griffin, Director, Entrepreneurial Programs and Talent, Ohio State University [virtual]
  • Bridget Smith, Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property, Relativity Space [virtual]
  • Paul Stimers, Partner, Holland & Knight


  • Parikha Mehta, Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, USPTO

4:15 – 4:30 p.m.     Closing remarks


Additional information

For more information, visit the registration page or contact Lakeshia Harley in the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs.

This program is presented by the USPTO’s Global Intellectual Property Academy, a unit of the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA). The office advises the administration and other federal government departments and agencies on domestic and international IP legal and policy issues. It also provides technical assistance and training on IP-related matters to U.S. stakeholders and both U.S. and foreign government officials.

Accessibility accommodation


If you are an individual with a disability and would like to request a reasonable accommodation, please submit your request to the contact information listed above.

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