It’s the sort of news that cracks up trade mark lawyers – how the United States’ military Space Force may have been trumped in a trade mark move by a Netflix streaming comedy series of that name.
According to the Hollywood Reporter the United States announced its Space Force first, but Netflix’s streaming series was first to launch, meaning it might win a trade mark war.
It’s proof positive that no matter who you are, you should never dither on registering a trade mark to protect your brand.
According to the Hollywood Reporter although US President Trump announced the formation of a Space Force two years ago, POTUS did not bank on streaming giant Netflix which just launched a comedy series using that name.
The show starring Steve Carell and John Malkovich is currently on Netflix in Australia and around the globe. Netflix has outmanoeuvred the U.S. government to secure trade mark rights to “Space Force” in Europe, Australia, Mexico and elsewhere.
The Hollywood Reporter states meanwhile, the Air Force merely owns a pending application for registration inside the United States based on an intent to use. Meaning that the feds have gotten a place in line but no confirmed trade mark rights thus far.
It seems lawyers for the U.S. military have done little to secure the Space Force name as a registered trade mark.
Netflix quickly outsmarted POTUS and has already locked down the rights to the name in several countries. While the characters in the show focus on getting “boots on the moon”, in the real world the Space Force lawyers are having trouble getting a foot in the trade mark door.
The Netflix show is a thinly disguised satire of the U.S. Space Force first announced by President Donald Trump in March 2018. The military branch was officially established as a formal organization last December.
Netflix gave the go ahead for the series in January and it launched on May 29. The real Space Force has yet to launch.
Although the real Space Force may be uncomfortable with the Netflix comedy depiction, it’s possible the two trade marks can likely co-exist given the vastly different services each side delivers.
But the issue remains, does the US Government wish to use a name that is now being parodied? It would make a great storyline for an episode of Space Force.