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The competition heats up: SpaceX is challenging a patent issued to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin for landing the first stage of a rocket vertically on a floating platform.
“The ‘rocket science’ claimed in the ‘321 patent was, at best, ‘old hat’ by 2009,” says SpaceX in one of two challenges, filed last week with the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board following the approval of the Blue Origin patent in March. SpaceX cites prior work by researchers and scientists who proposed techniques similar to those in Blue Origin’s patent.
If the patent holds it might force SpaceX to pay Blue Origin for the right to bring its Falcon 9 first stage back safely,