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.