The real Space Force may be going down in flames against the fictional Space Force: According to the Hollywood Reporter, the newly founded military branch appears to be losing a trademark battle with the Netflix comedy show of the same name.
Netflix “has outmaneuvered the U.S. government to secure trademark rights to ‘Space Force’ in Europe, Australia, Mexico and elsewhere,” according to the Reporter, while the Air Force—under which the Space Force is organized—simply has a pending application stateside. This mostly has ramifications for merch. Consumers won’t have trouble discerning between the military branch and Space Force when it comes to which one stars Steve Carrell, but they might not be able who is selling a line of Space Force shirts.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office relies on a “first-to-use” system when assigning rights, and Netflix has been submitting trademark applications for the Space Force across the globe since the start of 2019. On the other hand, the Air Force filed a trademark application on the basis of intent to use in March 2019, per Law & Crime, and the Space Force didn’t become an actual organization until December 2019. If it comes down to a legal battle, that means Netflix may be able to easily demonstrate it was actually using the Space Force branding first. (Even if Netflix lost the case, it would have a First Amendment right to continue selling Space Force merch on the grounds of satire and parody.)
OK, so not only is this silly but the fact that you can apparently actually trademark two words in a row seems absolutely bonkers to me.