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Disney Will Not Trademark “SEAL Team 6”

In a victory for sanity, Walt Disney Co. has withdrawn its application for the exclusive right to use the phrase “SEAL Team 6” on snowglobes, Christmas stockings, games and other merchandise.

SEAL Team 6, real logo not pictured above, is the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the team of soldiers who completed the final, dangerous work of locating and killing Osama bin Laden at the beginning of this month. No less than a day after their work was announced and described, Walt Disney Co. filed for trademark on “SEAL Team 6.”

 

From The Wall Street Journal:

Navy officers privately expressed relief Wednesday that the company had chosen voluntarily to retract its application, saving the organization from a long trademark battle… “We are fully committed to protecting our trademark rights,” Commander Danny Hernandez, the chief Navy spokesman, said.

The U.S. Navy already has a trademark on “SEALs”, which they license out to select things, including videogames, and a few days after Disney filed their application, the Navy filed their own trademark requests (on the phrases “SEAL Team” and “Navy SEALs”). Their goal was nominally to “establish that the existing Navy trademark was broader than simply the word SEAL,” but the action may have dissuaded Disney from their claim without resorting to actual legal volleys between the two entities, something beneficial for both parties.

Disney, though they have withdrawn their application, says that their intentions were misconstrued. Though their filing sought to trademark for a range of merchandising opportunities, what they actually had in mind, according to a Wall Street Journal source, Disney is “considering a TV show about the elite squad, similar to other fictional dramas about real-life arms of the military, such as ‘NCIS’ and ‘JAG,'” and “the other potential uses listed on the application didn’t necessarily reflect products the company intended to create.” Also: “plans for Disney’s SEALs show remain tentative.”

While entertainment companies have applied for the trademark on the names of U.S. military groups before, as in JAG and NCIS, without catching much flak (sigh… no pun intended) for it, it’s safe to say that Disney’s actions were found in poor taste because of their timing, and because of the relative uniqueness of SEAL Team 6 both in the Navy and history.

(via Comics Alliance.)

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