Disney gives up Navy SEAL trademark

The Walt Disney Company Logo (5/14/08) Pictures, Images and Photos As soon as news broke out that an elite unit of the US Navy SEALS called SEAL Team 6 was the one responsible for the secret mission that killed Osama Bin Laden, the Walt Disney Co. submitted an application to trademark the name, “SEAL Team 6″. They had and still have plans to make a show about the elite military unit and obviously, everyone is enamoured with SEAL Team 6 right now. However, after weeks of being joked about by late night comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, among others that have criticized it, Disney decided to withdraw their trademark application.

Although they still own trademarks on other Navy SEAL names and still plan to do a show about Navy SEALS, they will not use the name of the now famous (yet still secretive) unit that killed Bin Laden. They must have come to the conclusion that the cost they are paying for looking like exploiters with the speed in which they filed their application (about 2 days after Bin Laden’s death) was higher than the benefit the SEAL Team 6 name would give them. This is likely the right choice for them to make. You don’t need to call the show that exact name. People are now more familiar and have a higher respect for Navy SEALs in general, not just that one specific unit.

Also, I don’t think anyone at Disney will get fired for this whole thing. In fact, it was very proactive to submit the trademark application as quickly as they did and that idea probably is one person or a very small team of people at Disney. It is very hard to predict that people and the late night shows would see it in such a negative way or that it would even make headlines. I think it was a smart move even though it didn’t work out. I would not punish the person that thought to do it so quickly. Business is not a perfect science and sometimes even good decisions end badly. That’s what makes it the most difficult job in the world and the most exciting one.