Space Force: US military could lose trademark rights to Netflix series

Actor Steve Carell
Actor Steve Carell played Space Force chief General Mark R. Naird on Netflix’s comedy series. Pic credit: ©

The U.S. military could lose trademark rights to the name Space Force after Netflix secured rights to the name in many parts of the world before it could, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The 10-episode season of Netflix’s comedy series Space Force, which satirizes President Donald Trump’s U.S. Space Force, premiered on the streaming platform on May 29, 2020.

President Trump first talked about plans to establish the Space Force back in March 2018 while addressing Marines. According to Trump, the U.S. Space Force (USSF) would be a new branch of the U.S. military established to implement the country’s drive to achieve military dominance in space.

The administration officially launched the Space Force in December 2019.

Netflix secured rights to the name Space Force before the U.S. government

Although Trump first talked about the intention of his administration to establish a Space Force as a new branch of the U.S. military in March 2018,  his administration neglected to immediately secure trademark rights to the name.

The U.S. government currently has a pending application for Space Force trademark registration only on an intent-to-use basis.  Because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office usually grants trademarks to the applicant who first used the name, U.S. authorities could lose the trademark rights to Netflix.

President Trump directed the Department of Defense to start the processes to establish a space force back in June 2018. Netflix first officially confirmed a series order for a 10-episode series called Space Force back in January 2019.

Netflix went ahead and secured trademark rights to the Space Force name in many parts of the world, including Europe, Australia, and Mexico. The media company began filing for trademark rights in January 2019, meaning the U.S. government could permanently lose the rights to the name.

Netflix’s registration of Space Force has potentials for confusion

Netflix’s move to secure the trademark rights to Space Force could lead to confusion if it decides to introduce branded merchandise using the name in the future.

For instance, if Netflix decided to market Space Force boots, there could be confusion over whether the product is owned by the U.S. military or Netflix.

U.S. Air Force says there is no trademark conflict

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force told The Hollywood Reporter that authorities do not see any trademark conflict over Netflix’s use of the Space Force name for their fictional show.

“At this time, we are not aware of any trademark conflicts with the fictional program Space Force produced by Netflix. We wish Netflix and the show’s producers the best in their creative depiction of our nation’s newest branch of the military.”

Netflix’s Space Force, created by Steve Carell and Greg Daniels, stars Steve Carell as Space Force chief General Mark R. Naird, John Malkovich as Space Force scientist Dr. Adrian Mallory, Ben Schwartz as Space Force media director Tony Scarapiducci, and Diana Silvers as Naird’s daughter, Erin.

The series follows General Naird’s hilarious escapades as he tries to get “American boots” on the Moon.

Space Force is streaming on Netflix.

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