Disney Claims Rights in "SEAL Team 6"
Post date: Jun 1, 2011 9:42:01 PM
(Guest post by John Bowen -- law student at the University of Illinois and summer 2011 law clerk at the prestigious Law Office of Calan T. McConkey LLC) If you have been living in a cave for the last month, then you may not have heard about the U.S. killing Osama Bin Laden (turns out he was in a mansion). But, thanks to the massive news coverage, most people know that SEAL Team 6 was the elite unit that took down the infamous terrorist leader. When there is that much publicity involved, there is probably a chance for someone to make a few bucks. Two days after SEAL Team 6 became a household name, Disney -- yep, that corporation that focuses on children -- filed a trademark application for, you guessed it, SEAL TEAM 6 It seems they wanted to use the trademark for a possible plethora of goods, including a TV show similar to “JAG” or “NCIS” (both Navy units), clothes, toys, and footwear, among other things. And, while they were at it, they even threw in potential uses on Christmas stockings and snow globes.
Ten days after Disney filed the application, the Navy made their move by filing trademark applications on SEAL TEAM and NAVY SEALS (they already had the trademark for SEAL), for use with posters, clothing, and other goods and services. As a very general rule, whoever files first gets the trademark. That is, unless someone else has been using the mark in question without filing for federal registration. It seems pretty obvious that the Navy has been using “SEAL Team 6,” considering they have a unit named the same that they use to kill terrorists and do other cool stuff.
While I doubt the Navy was going to start making Christmas ornaments with SEALs on them, it is pretty likely that they would make t-shirts and maybe children’s toys. So it looks like the Navy would win, right? Apparently so. Disney dropped out of the race shortly after the Navy filed their applications. Maybe they figured it was worth a shot and the Navy would not care. Who knows? But it looks like we will not be seeing Mickey Mouse smash through a window and throat kick a bearded man anytime soon, at least not as a SEAL Team 6 member.