Disney Trademarks “SEAL TEAM 6”
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock recently, a lot has happened in the last few weeks. The chief of the IMF is the newest inmate to Riker’s Island, Libya won’t make Travel & Leisure’s top ten list this year, and United States forces found and killed Osama bin Laden. The news of the al Qaeda leader’s death triggered a myriad of celebratory to solemn reactions around the world, but one media giant didn’t waste any time capitalizing on the news.
Two days after the bin Laden’s death, Walt Disney Company submitted three applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to trademark the name “SEAL TEAM 6.” Now this name may sounds familiar to you because SEAL Team Six was the name of the main force behind the military operation that found bin Laden. On May 3, 2011 Disney sent in their application to USPTO to trademark the name for purposes of “entertainment and education services.” The application also covers clothing, footwear, headwear, toys, games, and – of course – Christmas stockings and snow globes.
This is not the first time a media company has tried to capitalize on current events. In 2003, Sony Corporation tried to trademark the Iraq war’s catchphrase “shock and awe”, which is a military tactic that uses overwhelming power to pressure the enemy to give up. Sony wanted to use the catchphrase for a title of a new video game, but the application was later abandoned. Sony withdrew its application after media backlash and described its move to profit from the war as “an exercise of regrettable bad judgment.”
Disney’s application has already been stirring up some criticism and blogs, message boards, and other online communities feverishly posting about the news. On the other hand, Disney has been rumored to have a Navy SEAL movie in the works for some time now and the timing may be coincidental. In any event, it will be interesting to see if Disney’s submission for the trademark will follow in the same footsteps as Sony.