Faced with a public relations firestorm, Walt Disney Co. said it had withdrawn its application to trademark the moniker “SEAL Team 6" for use on games, snow globes and TV shows.
Two days after the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 swooped into Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing the Al Qaeda leader, an attorney for the Burbank-based entertainment giant filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of the term “SEAL Team 6.”
Last week, the Navy countered by filing two trademark applications of its own for the names “Navy SEALS” and “SEAL Team.”
On Wednesday, Disney deferred to the Navy.
“Out of deference to the Navy’s application for these trademarks, we have withdrawn ours,” a Disney spokesman said.
Disney found itself in an increasingly embarrassing position, becoming the fodder for jokes on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and the subject of TV news stories that sought to portray the entertainment company as crass for trying to cash in on the elite unit.
Disney’s May 3 application requested the right to use the “SEAL Team 6" on an assortment of products including “gymnastic and sporting articles (except clothing); hand-held units for playing electronic games … Christmas stockings; Christmas tree ornaments and decorations; snow globes.”
The company was trying to cover its legal bases after ABC television executives had preliminary discussions about creating a TV series about a Navy unit, said an ABC executive familiar with the network’s plans who did not want to be identified discussing internal matters.
The proposed show, similar in nature to the hit CBS series “NCIS” (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), would be based on characters who were members of a Navy SEAL team, the executive said.
The application request went beyond the confines of a TV show and included the types of merchandise that have become Disney hallmarks.