Unidentified Flying Trademarks… UFO Mag Tells UFO Docuseries We Are The Original

Our favourite TM Spat of the week

Showtime Networks has been hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit over UFO, a J.J. Abrams-produced docuseries exploring the possible existence of alien life and the government’s role in covering up sightings of unidentified flying objects, by the owners of a magazine of the same name.

UFO Magazine Inc. claims that the network’s show disrupts its plans to release a movie or TV show that would also be called UFO. It says that it’s long held a trademark for the word and that AMC ignored multiple requests to change the show’s name.

“Despite having actual notice and knowledge of UFO Magazine’s trademark registrations and UFO Magazine’s trademark and intellectual property rights, Defendant Showtime has continued to stream its television programming bearing the infringing “UFO” title; has advertised and promoted its television programming bearing the infringing “UFO” title; and has generated substantial revenue from its television programming bearing the infringing “UFO” title,” the complaint filed on Monday in Wyoming federal court reads.

UFO Magazine is the owner of the trademark for “Entertainment in the nature of a television series and motion picture film series” and “Entertainment services, namely multimedia publishing of books, magazines, and electronic publications which deal with unidentified flying objects and related phenomena.” The trademark was registered in 2007 and renewed in 2017, the lawsuit claims.

UFO premiered on Showtime in August. In December, the magazine sent a letter to Showtime demanding that it cease infringing on its trademark. It proceeded to send a second letter two weeks later after the network allegedly ignored the first.

UFO Magazine argues that Showtime’s docuseries devalues its plans to release an identically titled movie or show.