Netflix's Space Force Could Give The U.S. Government Legal Troubles

In the scant few months since its official unveiling, America's sixth military branch, the United States Space Force, has faced many battles. We will likely never know how many Decepticons and E.T.s have called off planned interplanetary incursions thanks to their watchful vigil over the sky.

But now, having faced the Fall of Reach and burned the Formic Homeworld, the Space Force faces its greatest threat to date: namely, Space Force. "It makes sense," you might think. "If diamond is the only thing strong enough to cut diamond, then truly the only power capable of stopping Space Force is Space Force itself."

Beautiful though the sentiment is, it is also sadly inaccurate. The U.S. Space Force is, in fact, facing potential legal difficulties thanks to Netflix's recently released Space Force comedy series, and also they can cut diamonds with lasers now. It seems that, at least on the international copyright front, the American military has been outmaneuvered.

Space Force v Space Force

In places like Mexico, Europe, and Australia, Netflix has beaten the U.S. government to the punch when it comes to securing the copyright on the name "Space Force." In the United States, meanwhile, "the Air Force merely owns a pending application for registration inside the United States based on an intent to use," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The problem, of course, doesn't come from potential confusion — nobody's going to accidentally enlist in the armed forces when they meant to watch TV. No, the issue comes down to that oldest and most sacred of American traditions: merchandising.

It's a problem that's popped up before. In 2011, Disney, in the nascent stages of their upcoming decade-long Blob-like absorption of all in its path, applied for a trademark on the name Seal Team 6 shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden. The trouble, as the Guardian reported, came when people noticed that their trademark application "included items such as Christmas stockings and snow globes."

First Amendment rights would make any potential legal battle a difficult one for the government to win. Still, the satellites broadcasting Netflix's signal are woefully unprotected.