President Donald Trump might need to come up with a new name for his planned Space Force, as Netflix has beaten the United States government to the punch with securing the trademark rights for the name. Although Trump was first to announce his administration's plans to launch an actual "Space Force" at some point in the future, Netflix premiered their Space Force series before that could happen, legally giving the streaming company domestic ownership of the name's trademark.
Here's how this bizarre sequence of events came to be. Initially, Trump first revealed the United States Space Force in March 2018, and Netflix had greenlit the Space Force TV series in January 2019. Almost a year later, in December 2019, the United States had officially established the Space Force as a branch of their government, becoming the only nation on the planet to do so. At some point, the Air Force filed for a pending application for registration of the "Space Force" trademark based on an intent to use. Although they were first to file, Netflix will walk away with the American rights to the trademark as the United States operates on a "first-to-use" system.
Reportedly, Netflix has gone the extra mile to secure the Space Force trademark internationally as well. While many other countries use a "first-to-file" system for their trademark registration process, Netflix has beaten the United States by filing first in Europe, Australia, Mexico, and elsewhere. This would make the potential legal battle against Netflix that much more difficult for the U.S. government, and rather than spending the time and money to pursue the matter legally, Trump and company will either need to rename the new military branch or accept that they don't own the rights to the name.
As of now, the government hasn't gone after Netflix and pressed them to change the name of the series. This is probably because most people seem to know the difference between a comedy television series and an official branch of the U.S. military, and it's unlikely there would be much confusion between the two. When things will start to get complicated is when it comes to selling merchandise for consumers based on either the Netflix show or the "real" Space Force. If, say, one of the two entities were to sell coffee mugs brandishing the name, it may not be clear which one buyers were supporting. There are already Space Force Funko Pop! action figures coming for the Netflix series.
From Steve Carell and The Office showrunner Greg Daniels, Space Force stars Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers, and Tawny Newsome. It also notably features the final television performance of legendary actor and comedian Fred Willard, and is definitely worth watching for that reason alone. Those curious to check out the new series can do so now on Netflix, as all ten episodes of the show's freshman season are currently streaming. The series has not yet technically been renewed for a second season, but Daniels is hopeful for a renewal and says the writers are already talking about ideas.
This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.