Out of “deference” to the Navy, Walt Disney Co. has withdrawn an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of the term “SEAL Team 6,” a company spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.
The company originally put the request in two days after President Obama announced that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and had sought the right to use the term on all sorts of products. A few days later, on May 13, the Navy filed paperwork to trademark ‘SEAL Team’ and ‘Navy SEALs’ (it has a long-standing trademark for the simple “SEALs”).
“We are fully committed to protecting our trademark rights,” Navy spokesman Commander Danny Hernandez told the WSJ.
Disney is apparently considering making a television show on ABC about the elite SEAL squad. The application wasn’t completely out of the ordinary, according to the paper. Paramount Pictures once filed for a trademark on “JAG,” the name of a show based on the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Last year, CBS sought the right to put “NCIS,” a.k.a. the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, on clothing items.
Unlike Disney, the Navy did not file for “SEAL Team 6” itself, because it doesn’t formally recognize the term. Officially, the team is called the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DevGru.
“We certainly would not request a trademark on a SEAL team that doesn’t exist, like SEAL Team 6,” a Navy official told the WSJ.
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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com