The Walt Disney Company has trademarked the term "Seal Team 6." No, Disney isn't planning a movie about seals who play sports. "Seal Team 6" is the name of the Navy Seals unit responsible for taking out the world's number one enemy: Osama Bin Laden. A number of Bin Laden projects are in the works, including "Kill Bin Laden" from Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow, but so far no word has come out of the House of Mouse indicating exactly what the company plans to do with their newly trademarked phrase.
You shouldn't necessarily expect to see a movie about Seal Team 6 and the death of Osama Bin Laden. The trademark registered by Disney gives them licensing rights for toys, video games, Christmas tree ornaments, and some types of clothing. While you may never see a Disney logo before a movie about the mission to kill Bin Laden, you will almost certainly see shirts and ornaments on sale across the many theme parks of Disney World with some sort of Seal Team 6 logo.
The actual members of Seal Team 6 will not be featured on any of that merchandise.
The idea of an entertainment company trademarking the name of a special ops team carries with it a certain amount acrid distaste. Why should Disney or any other entertainment company be able to potentially make billions off the backs of the best and bravest that the U.S. military has to offer? What did Disney do to help rid the world of its most villainous and cowardly assassin? Something seems wrong if not downright immoral about allowing some second party to trademark a name that others created. Seal Team 6 was not just created by those who had absolutely nothing to do with Disney, but they risked their lives under that banner.
American trademark law seems to have gone off the rails. Back in 2009, Paris Hilton launched a lawsuit against Hallmark over their using the phrase "That's Hot" on one of their greeting cards. Hilton claimed to own the trademark for that particular phrase. Never mind that "That's Hot" has been in public domain usage since before Paris first learned her ABC's in fifth grade. How on earth can someone, anyone, trademark a phrase like "That's Hot." You might as well trademark "Hello" or "What's for dinner?" It's crazy.
Of course, the reverse situation could also be applied to Disney. If Paris Hilton can trademark a phrase used by millions every day, then why shouldn't any average citizen be able to trademark "That's a Mickey Mouse idea" or "Hey, Dumbo!" and collect a piece of the pie every time Disney violates that trademark? Those are just examples, by the way; Disney may already have thought ahead and trademarked those phrase. But if not -- go for it!
Just don't go around printing up any Seal Team 6 shirts for your softball team or paint a Seal Team 6 logo on the wall of your kindergarten classroom. Doing so will result in Disney's jackbooted trademark violation thugs coming after you with fists clenched, teeth bared, and a court order slapped down on your desk. If you really want to give the suits in charge at Disney a lesson in human decency, your best bet is to do some research into projects that the company currently has in development. Figure out the best phrase associated with those projects and head over the official website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Apply for the trademark before Disney can and when they release the movie and violate your trademark -- watch them squirm.
Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.
- Christmas tree ornaments
- The Walt Disney Company
- Disney World
- Osama Bin Laden
- video games