In December of 2019, with great fanfare, the United States Military announced the creation of a new branch to prepare the country for space warfare and named it Space Force.
But there is a little problem: The name Space Force is already a registered trademark by Netflix. Netflix has already registered “Space Force” as a trademark in several international jurisdictions such as Mexico, Australia, and Europe.
Usually, leading media companies act fast in securing their intellectual property and depend on expert lawyers, because there may be a lot of money in creating, nurturing, and protecting IP.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants trademarks based on a “first-to-use” system. Netflix filed earlier in several countries although no application can be found in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Rumors of War
Does that mean the USA military is about to start a war with Netflix?
“Not necessarily”, said Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta. “The marks belong to different categories, types of property and can be filed as such”.
“USPTO allows the same mark use for different applications to coexist as long as the customers are not confused about the origin of a product or service”, Marcos said.
“In this case, nobody will call Netflix to talk about missiles, or rockets, or confuse Steve Carell’s character with a general, or at least we hope”, said Attorney Marcos.
But the lesson here is that, even if you are the US military, you must protect your trademarks as soon as possible.
Click this link to see the USA Space Force filing with USPTO dated May 20th, 2020.
In short, both entities have a space to maneuver while using the same name without confusion by the general public.
Created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, Space Force stars Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers, and Tawny Newsome. Season 1 is now available on Netflix.
Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta specializes in business and intellectual property law, including trademarks. He is the founder and the managing attorney for Legal Business Global, a boutique law firm focused on the creation and preservation of wealth for our valued customers.
Call us to schedule a consultation at (480) 324-6378.