Disney Declines to Exploit SEAL Team

by Todd Shriber

SEAL Team 6, the U.S. Navy SEAL squad responsible for killing infamous terrorist Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month, has been on the receiving end of plenty of positive press. The latest news involving this elite and anonymous group of fighters is interesting, to say the least, in showing how far corporations are willing to go to profit from this global event. Dow Jones component and media giant Walt Disney (DIS) has opted against pursuing a trademark on the term “SEAL Team 6.”

As The Wall Street Journal reported, a lawyer for Disney shrewdly filed the trademark application on May 3, just two days after bin Laden was shot. Disney wanted to use the trademark for toys, games and other consumer products, the Journal reported. The U.S. Navy filed trademark applications for the terms “SEAL Team” and “Navy SEALs” 10 days later.

On one level, Disney deserves a tad of credit for having the foresight to file for the SEAL Team 6 trademark in the first place. But one has to wonder: Did the company have any intention of ever compensating SEAL Team 6 members or the Navy. We’ll never know the answer, and that’s probably OK as Disney has done the right thing and deferred to the Navy in this situation.

Even though Disney is now out of the SEAL Team 6 trademark business, a creative mind can certainly come up with a few laughs about what an odd combination Mickey Mouse and Navy SEALs would have made.

Disney was seeking to apply the trademark to products such as hand-held video games to snow globes, according to the Journal. The video game bit is understandable, but snow globes? Seriously? That’s just what every kid wants after getting his or her picture taken with Goofy and riding the tea cups.

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