DevGru body count grows

Trademark law, like copyright, is all sorts of jacked up in the United States. Disney is a big part of why. Given that, I don’t think anyone was truly surprised when the House of Mouse tried to trademark everything under the sun relating to SEAL Team Six.

‘Cept uhh, yeah…Navy said no. Well, not exactly no. More like “We’re the Navy, and here’s a list of things that belong to us. You jackasses.” And Disney voluntarily withdrew their trademark applications.

Navy officers privately expressed relief Wednesday that the company had chosen voluntarily to retract its application, saving the organization from a long trademark battle.

The Navy first fired back at Disney with its own filings for trademarks on the phrases ‘SEAL Team’ and ‘Navy SEALs,’ on May 13, several days after Disney’s application. Those terms denote “membership in an organization of the Department of the Navy that develops and executes military missions involving special operations strategy, doctrine, and tactics,” the Navy said in its filings. The Navy had a beachhead with its longstanding trademark on “SEALs,” which it has licensed for videogames,

Here’s the best part. Disney wanted, specifically, “SEAL Team Six.” The Navy’s response to that specific issue is obviously intentionally wry and note-perfect:

Yet Navy officials didn’t file a request for “SEAL Team Six.”

The Navy confirms the existence of SEAL Teams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10. The Navy has never acknowledged the existence of Team 9 while SEAL Team 6, the service’s most elite hunter-killer team, is officially called the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DevGru.

Unofficially, DevGru is widely known as SEAL Team 6.

“We certainly would not request a trademark on a SEAL team that doesn’t exist, like SEAL Team 6,” said a Navy official.


While we’re here, don’t forget to raise a glass this weekend to those who served, those who gave their lives, and those that are serving now. It is, to borrow a phrase, the reason for the “season.” Lastly, don’t forget, our founder was Navy, so raise two glasses. One for the military and one for Lee.

Comments are closed.

  1. Rann

    Always entertaining to see someone smack the Borg collective that is Disney across the nose and tell them “No!”

    So out of curiosity, Jim, if I were to try and toast Lee properly, what would the truly appropriate booze be?

    Thumb up 0


    I can see the godawful cartoon Disney would make.
    A Team of 6 Seals training for, a infiltration mission to save their ice flow from the ravages of man and his global warming producing oil drilling machines. blah blah blah….

    Thumb up 0

  3. Manwhore

    Let’s just be honest with each other for a second, Jim. 10, 20, 30 or 40 years from now someone will want to make a movie about of this. Let me paint a picture for you so that you might understand:

    Enter: Sleazy Hollywood Exec

    Exec (to roomful of corporate lackeys): “Listen up, turd for brains. Here’s a story that we can capitalize. I’m thinking a young Bruce Willis type is the leader, we find a black guy for some mildly racist humor, and our token redneck who befriends the black guy for sappy-ness. He won’t marry the redneck’s sister though..that would be too much. We’ll call it ‘Seal Team 6′ and we’ll make it as red white and blue as raped stripper from the midwest. Now go get me that trademark, and it better cover all of consumer products. If you don’t, don’t bother coming in tomorrow–and I promise Bin Laden won’t be the only one with a hole in his head.”

    We had this conversation at the VO and no one could seem to understand how relative it is who profits from loss of life and entertainment. We discussed the idea that a douche twat who refuses a sex-like scene is somehow a “great guy” when in fact he makes his career from “Ban of Brothers” which could rightly be argued to be exploitation to the fullest if you really want to look objectively.

    Someone will make this movie like someone made Braveheart. Ain’t no Braveheart around to make his money off that movie and the Wallace family (whoever they are) might not be in the same category of wealth as Mel Gibson. So, what’s the problem with a company getting the jump on it? Hopefully they do the right thing, cast good, make these guys heros and get them some real money and pussy for the affair?

    Is that so bad?

    Thumb up 0

  4. JimK *

    You have a point to be sure, but here’s the part you left out:

    Disney tried to trademark a phrase they have never had anything to do with, simply because the nickname of DevGru is popular in the press right now. Secondly, the name they tried to trademark, while it doesn’t officially exist, belongs to men who deserve better than fucking Disney. Third, they applied for trademarks to make everything from Underoos to mouse pads to action figures.

    So yeah…that is so bad. Wanna make a movie “based on real events?” Fine. Sure it’ll suck, this is modern Disney and they make shit now, but go ahead. Do that. It’s gonna get done, we all know it. You’re 100% right on that score.

    It’s the trademark application that really didn’t sit right with me – and obviously the Navy either.

    Thumb up 0

  5. Manwhore

    Jim, if you want to make a movie about this whole affair, “Seal Team 6″ is the name of all names to trademark. I’m sure many would like to keep it sacred, but if your plan is to make a movie or a show about this event you’d probably want to trademark the name seared into everyone’s head.

    Unfortunately if you care to profit from this by way of movie and/or consumer product, trademarking the name is the first step.

    Thumb up 0

  6. JimK *

    Yeah, I know. Hence:

    Trademark law, like copyright, is all sorts of jacked up in the United States. Disney is a big part of why. Given that, I don’t think anyone was truly surprised when the House of Mouse tried to trademark everything under the sun relating to SEAL Team Six.

    Just because that’s the way it is doesn’t make it right – or mean that’s the way it *should* be. Disney overreached, and the Navy slapped them with more grace than Disney has ever shown a competing entity. And I’m damn glad to see the House of Mouse decide not to take on the U.S. Military over this. And that was the whole of my point.

    Thumb up 0

  7. Manwhore

    How is copyright law messed up in this country? It’s meant to protect the owner of the idea from infringement. Look, if Disney wanted to make a movie about this, or a television show or whatever they want to do they’ll need to protect it. And remember, they’re not just an animation company–they’re ABC, ESPN, Marvel, video games, etc. so of course they wouldn’t want to shoot themselves in the foot and just cover a few categories of consumer products.

    They didn’t make the laws, they’re simply abiding by them, and your very own article states why they’re not really a big part of the blame here. It seems the Navy itself got the rights to something so they could profit off of video games…If anything the Navy’s caught onto the game itself.

    IP rules are really one of the last remaining great things about this country. That’s how someone can post a rant about a rapist in the neighborhood and make a mint coining a phrase “hide ya’ kids, hide ya’ wife ’cause they rapin’ e’rbody up in here.”

    Take for example the landmark decision of MGA v. Mattel where Isaac Larian was ruled to be the rightful owner of his own toy. Yeah, it took him a 100m to prove it but the big bully got a few great decisions made for the little guy in future trials.

    Thumb up 0

  8. Kimpost

    There’s a difference between reasonable and absurd protections of intellectual property.

    I have no beef with general copyright laws, but some of the so called soft patent jurisdiction seems murky to me.

    In my opinion, an idea should be very explicit for it to be patented. I would probably prefer using “extremely” over “very”, even.

    Thumb up 0