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Considering that SpaceX is a private, for-profit company that likes to invent its own solutions, has SpaceX patented any of its inventions?

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Apart from a series of patent applications related to Starlink antennas, they haven't aggressively sought patents.

A search of the US patent office application database gives the following hits for patent applications credited to SpaceX.

  • 20200086602 LASER-PERFORATED METAL HONEYCOMB MATERIAL
  • 20190252801 ANTENNA APERTURE IN PHASED ARRAY ANTENNA SYSTEMS
  • 20190252800 SELF-MULTIPLEXING ANTENNAS
  • 20190252775 PHASED ARRAY ANTENNA SYSTEMS
  • 20190252774 ANTENNA-TO-BEAMFORMER ASSIGNMENT AND MAPPING IN PHASED ARRAY ANTENNA SYSTEMS
  • 20180093443 LASER-PERFORATED METAL HONEYCOMB MATERIAL AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SAME
  • 20090007543 Pintle injector tip with active cooling

The patent collection database shows only two of these; I'm guessing the antenna patents, applied for only last year, haven't gotten through the patent pipeline yet.

  • 10,486,389 Laser-perforated metal honeycomb material and method of manufacturing same
  • 7,503,511 Pintle injector tip with active cooling

A Business Insider article references an interview for Wired magazine, explaining why they seek so few patents:

"We have essentially no patents in SpaceX. Our primary long-term competition is in China," said Musk in the interview. "If we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book."

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  • $\begingroup$ This is very different from the car industry in which people stream teardowns on the internet. Space companies utilizing their own innovations (in contrast to licensing patents) are better off sustaining a high rate of innovation and forcing all people familiar with the matter (employees, NASA reviewers, ...) into non-disclosure agreements. $\endgroup$ – Everyday Astronaut May 13 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ Big difference in the car industry is when you buy a car, it's yours and you can take whatever tools you like to it. SpaceX doesn't sell rockets, it sells rides on their rockets. $\endgroup$ – Tristan May 13 at 23:52

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