Could ‘Space Force’ Start a Legal Battle Between Netflix and the Military?

There have been breaking developments in the world of the U.S. Space Force. Unfortunately, we’re not headed to Mars just yet. Rather, the military branch may be finding itself in a bizarre legal battle. It turns out that the new Netflix show, Space Force, starring Steve Carell, might be facing down the military branch in court. And this isn’t the first time the U.S. Space Force has found itself the butt of a joke either. 

That Space Force logo looks familiar

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Star Trek fans across the nation all shook their heads in disbelief when the U.S. Space Force debuted. It had less to do with the notion of the military branch than its logo, however. 

When the branch was first debuted, Donald Trump took to Twitter to post the logo. He wrote, “After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!”

Trekkies were quick to note that the Space Force logo looked suspiciously familiar. In fact, it was a mere hair’s breadth away from being the Starfleet logo. Both logos feature a sort of pyramidal shape with a wedge cut into the bottom, and a shooting star wheezing around the logo itself, with a smattering of stars in the background.

George Takei took to Twitter to joke, “Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this….” 

Things only got worse for the new military branch when citizens finally saw their uniforms — which involved traditional green, black, and brown camo. Not exactly suitable for going unseen in the inky blackness of outer space.

What is Netflix’s ‘Space Force’?

Meanwhile, Netflix launched a Space Force of its own — a new comedy starring Steve Carell. The show also features the work of Greg Daniels, who co-created Parks and Recreation and The Office

Additional talent includes Jimmy O. Yang, John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, Diania Silvers, and Ben Schwartz, among others. Space Force sees Carell take up the role of Mark R. Naird, who struggles with his new role as commander of the latest military branch. 

The show seems to poke a lot of fun at the U.S. Space Force, as well as Donald Trump. For example, the show references Trump’s tendency to go on difficult-to-parse Twitter tirades. 

In one such scene, the Secretary of Defense, played by John Blandsmith, states, “POTUS wants complete space dominance, boots on the moon by 2024 … actually, he said boobs on the moon but we believe that to be a typo.”

Why there might be a legal battle

Steve Carell of Space Force
Steve Carell of Space Force | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

In a surprising twist of events, it seems as if the U.S. Military could technically have failed to secure the trademark for “Space Force.” In fact, the new Netflix show may have gotten there first. 

According to Popular Mechanics, “The U.S. military, meanwhile, hasn’t done much to ensure the rights to the logo. It only has a pending application for registration inside the U.S. on an intent-to-use basis, which USPTO defines as a situation where you may or may not have used the mark yet, but may file ‘based on a good faith or bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce.’

Meanwhile, Space Force filed for trademark recognition back in January of 2019, well before the show landed on Netflix. However, it seems the military isn’t interested in a legal conflict at this time. 

A spokesperson for the Air Force told Hollywood Reporter, “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.”