Disney Tries to Trademark Mexican Tradition

Company pulls bid over 'Dia de los Muertos' after outcry

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 8, 2013 12:16 PM CDT | Updated May 12, 2013 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Disney isn't winning points for cultural sensitivity this month after trying to trademark the phrase "Dia de los Muertos," reports the Arizona Republic. The company is working on a film inspired by the centuries-old Mexican holiday, which translates to "Day of the Dead" and celebrates the spirits of ancestors. Disney filed for the trademark on May 1, standard practice ahead of a movie to protect merchandising rights, but pulled the bid this week amid the ensuing outcry. (Exhibit A: This Change.org petition.)

“How can you trademark a cultural tradition?” asks one Phoenix artist, her question summing up the common reaction. In its explanation for why it is pulling the trademark bid, Disney didn't exactly acknowledge the criticism: "It has since been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing.” Disney also once tried to trademark the phrase "Seal Team 6," but pulled the application after the military raised objections, notes the LA Times.

A feathered participant joins in on a procession marking the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles on Nov.1, 2008.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
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