Lifestyle & Belief

Disney withdraws 'Day of the Dead' trademark bid


People disguised as 'Catrina' during the celebration of the day of dead in Guadalajara, Mexico on November 02, 2012. La catrina is the Mexican representation of death and this year celebrates 100 years of having been created by the Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.


Hector Guerrero

Disney has withdrawn its bid to trademark "Dia de los Muertos," or "Day of the Dead," after a heavy barrage of criticism from Mexicans and Americans who celebrate the traditional holiday. 

The company had filed an application with US Patent and Trademark Office on May 1 to acquire the rights to the name of the November celebration, which honors the souls of deceased loved ones. 

Disney was planning to use the name on merchandise used to promote a movie based on the holiday that they are working on with Pixar. 

Horrified Latinos quickly took to the internet to express their outrage. A graphic by Los Angeles-based humorist Lalo Alcaraz featuring a skeleton Mickey Mouse crushing a city with the words "It’s coming to trademark your cultura (culture)" underneath quickly went viral, as did other impassioned social media posts. 

"Some people saw it as an attempt to own our culture and profit from it," said Elainne Ramos, vice chair of nonprofit Latino social media group LATISM. "This is going to be a marketing case study on what not to do."

Though many are crediting the social media backlash for the decision to withdraw the trademark bid, the company claims the decision came from a change to the movie's title. 

"Disney's trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities," a company statement said. "It has since been determined that the title of the film will change and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing."

[View the story "Disney caves to social media pressure over 'Dia de los Muertos' trademark" on Storify]

What do you think of Disney's attempt to trademark a holiday? Let us know in the comments.