(TMU) – The United States Military neglected to file the international trademarks for the “Space Force” when it was founded two years ago, and now the Netflix series that satirizes the agency could end up with the trademark rights in many countries outside of the US.
The new series, featuring Steve Carell of “The Office,” is a comedy about the new Space Force, which depicts the agency as being disorganized with incompetent leadership, and preoccupied with military conquest.
There is nothing that the Space Force can do legally against the show’s depiction of the agency because of the 1st amendment, and parodies are specifically protected by current trademark law. Now, according to recent reports, it appears that the show could also have an advantage when it comes to trademark as well.
In the United States, it would likely be ruled that the Space Force has a legal claim to the trademark because the US has a “first-to-use” trademark registration system, and the space agency was formed two years before the release of the show.
A first-to-use policy is where priority is given to the party who actually used the name first in a product or service, instead of the person who filed first. Meanwhile, many other countries have a first-to-file policy, and the Netflix series has been the first to file.
Attorney Ed Timberlake told Hollywood Reporter that this situation could end up in a nasty legal battle.
“Here, the branch is so new, and the executive branch so commercialized, and the commander in chief so attention-seeking, that I’m not sure we can know quite what to expect,” Timberlake said.
So far, The US Air Force, which has many ties to the Space Force, has indicated that they are not seeking any type of legal action against the show.
An Air Force spokesperson said in a statement that, “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.”
This is actually not the first comedic blunder that the space agency has had with trademark and copyright.
When the Space Force initially unveiled its logo earlier this year, it was accused of being nearly identical to the Star Trek logo, although it was later determined that there are slight differences in the logos which would make them technically and legally different designs.
United States President Donald Trump promised the nation a “super duper” missile as he unveiled the new flag for the U.S. Space Force during a ceremony last month.
At the ceremony, Trump said that “space is going to be the future” and spoke of a “super duper missile” which he claims will be 17 times faster than nuclear weapons made by both Russia or China.
It is likely that the Space Force will be dealing with far more military missions than explorations. During the signing ceremony back in December, Trump defended the new government agency against criticism, saying that “space is the world’s newest war-fighting domain.”