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The U.S. Navy is fighting Disney’s attempt to wrangle control of the the SEAL acronym and the infamous unit designation Team 6.It was only hours after Osama Bin Laden was killed by the SEALs that according to Fox, Disney filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to commercially control the SEAL name.
The application covers three separate categories and would include the ability to licence everything from toys, movies, games, clothing — pretty much anything they want.
The Navy responded on May 13 with two applications of their own. Neither the Navy or Disney responded to inquiries, but New York attorney Thomas Wilentz points out that just because Disney was first, doesn’t mean they’ll win.
It all comes down to whether the patent office feels that granting trademarks to both U.S. Navy and Disney would cause consumer confusion, Wilentz said, in which case the patent office would give priority to the entity that filed its application first — Disney.
“But the U.S. Navy may have the argument that they are, you know, actually the SEALs, that they were using it first to identify themselves and any use by Disney would create consumer confusion about sponsorship,” he said. “And if they actually took Disney to court they could win.”
“It’s not disingenuous on Disney’s part. They probably thought, oh man, that’s the hottest name in town—let’s put our mouse ears on and figure out some way to use this,” he said.