Business Ethics – Disney drops their ‘Seal Team 6’ trademark application! Navy Seals Win Again!

Opportunistic perhaps…but I can see it – an animated series called ‘Seal Team 6’ about save the world “seals” and the fun associated with their adventures.  Maybe that’s what Disney had in mind when they filed an application to trademark “Seal Team 6”.  Perhaps!  Or perhaps they were just opportunistic seizing the moment.  Either way, their application raised the ire of the US Navy – who quickly filed a trademark application of their own.  Game on!

An AP story sated the following:

Disney sought the trademark rights on May 3, two days after U.S. operatives raided a luxury compound in Pakistan and killed the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Disney’s ABC subsidiary wanted to develop a TV show along the lines “NCIS” and “JAG,” which are also real-life Navy units, and would have focused on the drama and heroism of the special forces members.

But it drew flak for not only its rapid filing, but also for a trademark application that included items like Christmas stockings and snow globes.

Comedy show host Jon Stewart needled the company on his “Daily Show”: “I can’t wait for the Happy Meal.”

Navy spokeswoman Amanda Greenberg said the Navy already had rights to the SEAL trademark but recently submitted two new applications for trademarks of “Navy SEALs” and “SEAL Team.”

“The Navy is fully committed to protecting its trademark rights as it pertains to this matter and is currently examining all legal options,” she said.

Disney/ABC spokesman Kevin Brockman said the company pulled the plug on its bid “in deference to the Navy’s application.”

Disney is still interested in producing a show based on the unit’s operatives although it would likely be produced by a third-party studio.

Regardless of motive…Disney did the right thing by withdrawing their trademark application.  Would they have done so if the Navy had not also filed?  Would they have done so if there had not been so much negative media attention?  Both  good questions.  What we do know is that faced with the right thing to do…Disney stepped up and pulled the trigger removing themselves from the fight.

Frankly, if I had to fight the Navy Seals…I think I’d run too!



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