Disney Wants Trademark On Dia De Los Muertos To Sell You Fruit Snacks

from the mierda dept

So, hey, remember that one time that Disney thought it’d be a pretty sweet idea to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden by applying for trademarks on Seal Team 6’s name so they could apparently sell snow globes? Pretty much everyone who came across the story dropped a verbal brick on the Mouse for what looked like quite an elegant mix of cynicism and a lack of patriotism, causing them to drop their applications shortly after. Personally, I’m having a hard time thinking of a better exemplification of what is currently the ‘American way’ than locking up language due to the brave actions of others, but I guess my brand of cynicism just isn’t cool with the kids these days.

Anyhoo, guess who now wants to lock up the name of a traditional Mexican holiday to sell some swag? Yup, Mickey is back to his old habits with multiple applications on “Día De Los Muertos”, more commonly known as the Day of the Dead.

Disney filed 10 requests in the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office this month to coin the phrase. Disney’s filings are mainly for merchandise, presumably connected to an upcoming film. The areas they are hoping to secure include “education and entertainment services,” “fruit preserves; fruit-based snack foods,” “toys, games and playthings,” “clothing,” “footwear,” “backpacks,” “clocks and jewelry” and more.

You know, as someone who likes to think they write things people occasionally find funny, I have to tell you how special it is when someone out there does all the setup work for you. I mean, a national holiday during which families come together to pray for their recently departed… and you’re going to make fruit preserves and snacks about it? Seriously, I don’t even have to write a joke about this. It writes itself. What are they going to call the snacks, Fruit Roll-Out Your Deads? Berry Departeds? It’s a gold mine!

As for the other areas in which they applied for the mark, it’s worth noting that approximately an infinite number of other folks are already producing Día De Los Muertos merchandise. Note that nearly all of the markets Disney applied for are covered already, with the exception of all the fruit snacks and preserves. In the article, some helpful trademark lawyer made sure we all know that Disney getting their marks approved wouldn’t mean people couldn’t celebrate the holiday, because ostensibly we’re all complete morons and didn’t know that already. The point is that making a movie shouldn’t allow Disney to suddenly lock up the name of a traditional holiday for markets that are mostly already well served by other providers.

Hell, why not just lock up Christmas and be done with it? Oh, wait….

Update: And…. just like that… withdrawn.

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Companies: disney

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Comments on “Disney Wants Trademark On Dia De Los Muertos To Sell You Fruit Snacks”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You know what kinda gets me (I know it’s a bit off topic). Back in the days if I posted something under the name Anonymous people would simply think I’m an anonymous commenter. Now, if I did it, people may associate me with the group Anonymous, a group I do not care to be associated with.

The group Anonymous has essentially taken the word “Anonymous” and has attached themselves to it to the point that even using the word “anonymous” to simply mean that you are being anonymous (not that you are part of the group anonymous) may make people think you are part of the group. Or at least it might make the dumb feds think that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They probably have a policy of “trademark” first, apply common sense later.

I think they live in a fantasy world where everything has to be trademarked or it is worthless. They probably even believe that they are doing a good thing by applying for trademarks on everything since it is “easier” for others to find the owner to properly license the term. In their world everything without any kind of IP-protection is created by satan(tm).

The Libertarian says:

Re: Re: re: trademark first?

Actually, based on everything I know, Disney has everything backwards. I’m pretty sure that the founders would be appalled if a company trademarked a holiday.

IF all the founders knew the great lengths that the Copyright clause would produce — to the point of idoicy — they would have set a definite amount of time in the Copyright clause. Probably around 5 years.

“You have 5 years to recover your investment on your work, no more no less” Madison would have said. Hamilton suggested 14 years, and he was as Big Government as the present President.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: May be record time for a Techdirt anomaly fizzling.

“Seriously, why do you visit this blog if you hate it so much? You do realise that you are just driving up it’s page hits, don’t you?”

The only rational explanation is that he’s being paid.
Of course, that’s a rational explanation.
OotB may not be functioning on that level…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: May be record time for a Techdirt anomaly fizzling.

Here, I’ll run it through google translate a few times and translate it back and forth among various languages. Lets see if Google translate can return something more understandable.

“May be record time for a Techdirt anomaly fizzling.”

English to Arabic

قد يكون الوقت قد حان تسجل للحصول على الإخفاق شذوذ Techdirt.

Arabic to Spanish

Puede ser un tiempo r?cord para la insuficiencia anomal?as Techdirt.

Spanish back to English

“It may be a record time for failure Techdirt anomalies.”

That actually makes a lot more sense than the original post. In fact, this might be closer to what OOTB was trying to say. As a matter of policy I recommend that OOTB runs his sentences through Google Translate a few times before posting. Maybe Google should create an option for OOTB to English translations and we can get even better translations.

Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

Public: “That’s ridiculous.”
Disney: “‘Ridiculous’ is one of our trademarks. Cease using it.”

Public: “Now you’re just being stupid.”
Disney: “‘Stupid’ is also one of our trademarks. Cease and desist.”

Public: “So, what can we say?”
Disney: “For now, anything starting with ‘T’ and beyond, but only for a limited time until we trademark those words as well. We’re also working on holidays, your birthday, and all 24 hours of the day. Stay tuned and, as you exit, please be sure to stop at our gift shop where we kindly charge $19.99 for 4 stickers. Have a great day.”
Paramount: “Excuse us, but ‘Have a great day’ is our trademark. Pay up.”

Yep, it’s getting to be like that.

raindog469 (profile) says:

Think that's bad? Look up "yak".

In the mid ’90s, I remember being in a Target or something and running across a line of Ren and Stimpy collectible dolls from Nickelodeon. One of them… was a yak. No, let me correct that…. a Yak(R). They trademarked the word Yak. Not a character named Yak, just a non-descript longhaired goat-like thing. There was no Yak character in the show; Kricfalusi just thought it was a funny name for an animal, so worked them in periodically (e.g. Yaksmas, Royal Canadian Mounted Yaksmen, etc). I don’t know if their legal department was overreaching or just had never heard of the animal called a yak. I imagine Jeff Minter must have been pretty pissed off if he ever found out they trademarked his other name.

This story about Dia de los Muertos made me look up the word Yak on TESS, and it seems Nickelodeon was neither the first nor last to do this. Some of them are still live, covering everything from shoes to children’s software to dating sites. (Nickelodeon’s appears to be dead, with only the much later “Yakkity Yak” trademark from an unrelated cartoon still alive.)

What does a yak have in common with the day of the dead? Well, neither one of them is common to America. Does that give companies a free pass to trademark them?

special-interesting (profile) says:

Its kind of funny about Disney trying to appropriate a holiday name. The guys in the copywong department need to put in some overtime to keep the nonsense down. They do look embarrassing from this viewpoint.

Disney attempting to trademark D?a De Los Muertos is quite similar to trying to copyright the holiday of Halloween and its cultural festival of trick or treating activities.

Who would purchase food from a media firm?

Rant on Trademark law,

Disney wants a Trademark on the entire world. No news there. Its a small world (after all). Trademark law has morphed from the original intent to protect a consumer from misidentifying a product made by someone other than who consumer expects. Its supposed to be a legal device to prevent fraud.

Where does locking up widespread American Culture come under the heading of fraud prevention? Using/Abusing trademark law for taking away many of the cartoon/comic hero’s from many generations is an unmeasurable loss to society and its various cultures.

Just putting up a Batman, Goofy, Micky Mouse, or Sailor Moon shrine page with some pictures of the characters and maybe some bio and some important episode outlines is a trademark offense capable of tossing the entire family into the street. The characters themselves are both copyrighted and trademarked.

Trademark, along with copyright, law are Weapons of Mass Cultural Destruction. Even the very American Culture of freedom and expression are on the bargaining table as we speak/write/post.

Trademark law has become so powerful and dangerous that even when a firms products are used illegally for fraud both they and the authorities don’t bother to make criminal accusations but use trademark violations instead. Example;


Trademark law has grown so out of control that even words from the dictionary are under attack. A trademark is supposed to only covering the logo and not ever the printed words. (with some exceptions) Even another advertiser should be able to use a competitors logo and name so that a potential customer can recognized which brand is being used in any comparison.

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