Satellite company Starlink has quietly filed new trademarks that could lead to new business ventures for parent company SpaceX.
A trademark attorney shared insights with Benzinga on what the filings mean and what could be coming from the Elon Musk-led company.
Why Starlink Trademarks Are Worth Watching: Starlink, a unit of SpaceX, has been in the news in 2022 thanks to efforts by Tesla Inc TSLA and SpaceX CEO Musk to provide the internet satellites to countries outside the U.S.
Starlink filed trademarks that could indicate new business lines for future use. The trademark filings reworked old language and also provided an update and two new key items for the future of Starlink.
One item that stood out to Gerben was the wording of “intent to use Starlink to provide real time imagery from satellites.”
Gerben said this could be similar to Google Maps from Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL, perhaps with Starlink being used to provide real-time imagery to customers.
The other item that stuck out to Gerben was the language on geo-location systems and global positioning systems.
“We all may be used to things in our car or our phones” using GPS, he said. These items use GPS provided by U.S government-partnered systems.
The language of the trademark filing says “excluding the U.S. government’s global positioning systems,” Gerben flagged on Twitter.
“We’re looking at a complete commercial GPS system that Starlink is planning on offering.”
Gerben said the trademarks aren’t likely pertaining to Ukraine and other countries.
“If Starlink was going to provide real-time imagery to Ukraine, [I] don’t think they would file a trademark.”
Gerben said Starlink is not an active trademark filer and has been more conservative with them, which could mean there is a big focus being hinted at by the company.
“[It's] probably something to pay attention to.”
Could Trademarks Foreshadow Starlink In Tesla EVs? When companies file this type of trademark, Gerben said they swear the application is true and there is a “bona fide intent” to use the trademark for the services listed.
Gerben said plans can change and a trademark doesn't mean something has to be done with certainty, but when it is a company the size of SpaceX, it typically means it intends to use the trademark.
The terms of the trademark mean Starlink can use the trademark from the day of the filing (Oct. 12, 2022) for four years before it can be cancelled.
“You could see these services from any time from next month to four years from now,” Gerben told Benzinga.
Gerben sees potential synergies between the Starlink trademarks, potential new business lines and Tesla.
Gerben said technology from the Starlink satellites in automotive use could be something Tesla uses to set itself apart from competition.
“If Starlink’s GPS or things that Starlink can provide to Tesla owners is unique and better than things you can get from General Motors or Mercedes or whoever else you’re buying a car from, it could make people want to buy a Tesla to get access.”
Gerben said the trademarks and new business lines from Starlink could lead to being able to research what goods are being moved and how many cars are on dealers’ lots.
“There could be a ton of commercial applications.”
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