• Mickey Mouse Wants To Be a Navy SEAL

    In the days following the death of Osama bin Laden, I never thought about who would profit from it. Disney did though. The very next day (probably delayed because the actual event happened on a Sunday) they apparently filed to trademark the name "SEAL Team 6" for use with toys, apparel, video games, and whatever else they could feasibly sell. The US Navy filed their own applications about ten days later.

    The US Patent and Trademark Office apparently has not yet reviewed either of the claims, but experts are already lining up with their opinions on who should win, who will win, and why. Some think that Disney will get the trademarks because they filed first, while others are pointing out that since SEAL Team 6 is tied so closely to the Navy, the legal battle would most likely favor the US Navy. Essentially, Disney could end up trying to argue that their use of the SEAL Team 6 trademark would not be assumed to be related to the Navy.

    In the meantime, I find myself disgusted by the whole situation. Disney has always amazed me with their ability to bring storybook characters to life and present them in a fun and memorable way. While I'm not a fan of all of their movies, and the straight-to-DVD sequels I've seen are just terrible, I still enjoy watching Disney movies. But in recent years, the company that used to be all about the "magic" is now apparently all about the money.

    While strolling through the store with my four-year-old daughter a few days ago, I was shocked and slightly appalled by all the branding that happens with toys these days. Nearly everything has trademarked names plastered all over it, which seems to work well for Disney and other intellectual property mongers. To illustrate, here is how the conversation went with my daughter, who was trying to identify a few toys she might like for her birthday:
    "Oh, I want this princess crown Daddy!"

    "Don't you already have two princess crowns?"

    "Yes, but this one is better! See, it has Belle™ on it!"
    I suppose we can add that to her Disney Princess™ toothpaste and soap and . . . At some point it all becomes ridiculous, and even potentially harmful.

    Rant and pending legal battles aside, I know who's side I want to be on in a firefight. Or even a snowball fight for that matter.

    UPDATE: Apparently Disney has thought better of tangling with the Navy SEALS on any level, and is withdrawing their trademark application.
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