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U.S. Navy Trademarks Its Name, Scares Off Disney

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SEALs in action / St. Martin's Press, Howard Wasdin

There’s still no official acknowledgment of SEAL Team 6. But at least the Navy isn’t letting everyone else profit off their success. The U.S. Navy is finally trademarking their famed name, and in doing so, has scared off capitalists the likes of Disney.

A week after Disney worked to claim the name “SEAL TEAM 6” with the apparent intention to emblazon the name on everything from hoodies to snowglobes, the people behind the name’s fame finally sprung into action. The Navy has registered two trademarks, in order to ensure the heroes maintain some rights to their own name.

They applied for the trademark rights to “NAVY SEALS” for posters and clothing and “SEAL TEAM” as a collective membership mark, which essentially makes the “SEAL TEAM” name a registered group name like REALTOR or CPA. Does this mean we’ll start seeing SEAL TEAM on the soldiers’ business cards?

With the Navy officially claiming what’s theirs, The Walt Disney Co. withdrew their trademark application for “SEAL TEAM 6″ on Wednesday. A Disney spokesman said they pulled their claim “in deference to the Navy’s application.” The company drew widespread criticism for submitting its trademark request a mere two days after Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of the venerable squadron. They’re now claiming, though, that their intentions were pure and not entirely capitalistic: TV network ABC, owned by Disney, was planning to produce a television show highlighting the drama and heroism of the elite unit, in a vein similar to JAG and NCIS. The show still might happen, but the name most likely won’t.

The Navy will now have the exclusive rights to their name – well, at least one iteration of it – for use on goods. But because they struck so late, trademarks on other versions have already been snapped up.  Certain uses of “SEAL TEAM 6” and “NAVY SEAL,” for example, are trademarked by watchmaker Resco. While not having a trademark doesn’t forbid the Navy from using their own name, it would legally prevent them from producing goods with any form of the name registered to another owner.

Given the Navy’s new-found relationship with the Trademark and Patent Office, and seeing how “SEAL TEAM 6″ is now free for use, will they soon trademark the famed fighters’ name? A Navy official was quite clear: “We certainly would not request a trademark on a SEAL team that doesn’t exist, like SEAL Team 6,” the Wall Street Journal reports. So while the “SEAL Team 6″ moniker won’t be joining the Navy’s trademark repertoire anytime soon, the Navy should be proud to claim imminent domain where it counts – and taking down multinational corporations in its wake.

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