Trying to trademark the name of a popular holiday isn’t such a good idea.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) learned that lesson the hard way when it applied with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to get exclusive marketing rights to “Dia de los Muertos” earlier this month. The holiday, widely celebrated in Mexico and the southwestern U.S., has roots that go back centuries in Mexico and Latin America. Critics immediately pounced on Disney, ridiculing the effort and drawing up online petitions. On Tuesday, Disney ended its effort to trademark the name, the Associated Press noted.
Trademarking the name — “Day of the Dead,” in English — would have permitted Disney to market a wide variety of products associated with an animated film based loosely on the holiday from Pixar studios.
The company argues that it just wanted to protect the film’s title and merchandising, but critics called the effort an attempt to seize part of Mexico’s cultural heritage. Disney previously attempted to trademark the name “Seal Team Six,” the special forces team credited with killing Osama bin Ladin. It was forced to withdraw that application as well.
Last year, Disney acquired the rights to George Lucas’s iconic Star Wars movies and will launch a five new films set in that science fiction universe over the next six years.
Shares of Disney dipped slightly in Thursday morning trading.