Blogger Reacts To The Popular YouTubers Who Want To Trademark The Word 'React'

Blogger Reacts to the Popular YouTubers Who Want to Trademark the Word 'React'

The Fine Brothers pissed off a lot whole lot of people when they announced a bold new scheme to trademark the word "react" last week. I'm one of those people, and I don't even have any aspirations to be a YouTube star. I just hate greedy idiots. You can't trademark the word "react". Sure, the Fine Brothers have enjoyed lots of success and won millions of subscribers by posting videos of kids and old people reacting to all kinds of stuff. Now that they have gotten successful, they want to keep growing their empire and making more of that sweet YouTube money by franchising their recognised brand and format. But what the bros didn't make terribly clear in their initial announcement was that they want to own the word "react" so other YouTubers making reaction videos couldn't post videos with similar titles.

The Fine Brothers claim that they're not trying to trademark the entire genre of reactions videos. But come on, guys. It's a very common verb, and one could argue that it's the only verb you'd use to describe what happens when someone sees a thing and, well, reacts to it. By the way, in case you thought they had a more specific definition, the Fine Brothers' trademark application says they want to protect the term under "entertainment services, namely, providing an on-going series of programs and webisodes via the Internet in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people". Which effectively means that yes, they think they should have a monopoly on the very concept of a reaction video.

You might say the Fine Brothers have some kind of moral claim to acknowledgement — except they didn't even come up with the reaction video idea! It's an old hat in the TV world, a parlour trick that dates back at least as far as Kids Say the Darndest Things. And while the Fine Brothers say that they're not planning on trying to take down others' reaction videos, they have been quietly gobbling up trademarks that would give them the power to do just that. The asshats already own trademarks on the phrases "elders reacts" and "teens react", and they have applications pending for "celebrities react", "adults react" and "parents react". Don't worry, an attorney is already trying to get these existing trademarks and applications cancelled.

This all sounds infuriating because it's so obvious what these two goons are trying to do. After failing to get a network to pick up their TV show idea, they have managed to build a YouTube channel filled with videos that anyone with a camera and some random kids could produce. It's a tried and true method, one that's so easy to replicate that many other YouTubers are doing the same thing. The Fine Brothers may not be the first to make reactions videos. But you could say they have been the most successful. Now, they want to make even more money being unoriginal.

But trademark law was not written to help bearded bros make more money. Trademark law is designed to protect consumers. Coca-Cola got to trademark its curvy bottle, so that other companies couldn't put lesser colas in similarly shaped bottles and fool people into thinking they were buying Coke. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not grant protection to companies who try to take generic words, phrases or symbols and claim them as their own. Just look at Sony who unsuccessfully tried to trademark the term "Let's Play" last year and got shot down. As much as Sony would love to own the phrase for its own marketing purposes, the phrase is very widely used to describe online videos of people playing video games.

Will the Fine Brothers win their attempt to trademark a generic term? I hope not. Are they doing it for the money? You bet. Will they lose thousands of subscribers for broadcasting their greedy ambitions to the world? They already have.



    It just keeps falling, I guess the public knows how to React to idiots who try to trademark generic terms!

    Last edited 02/02/16 10:20 am

    Trademark law is designed to protect consumers. Coca-Cola got to trademark its curvy bottle, so that other companies couldn’t put lesser colas in similarly shaped bottles and fool people into thinking they were buying Coke

    I think you mean "other" colas. The trademark makes no claim of the quality of the items which the trademark applies. It just protects traders by allowing them to stop people using their brands. It has nothing to do with the quality.

    In this regard, these brothers probably have a very similar claim to Coca Cola's when it was made. At the time there were lots of colas being made and they were all fairly unoriginal and mostly indistinguishable from others. The bottle itself is also fairly unoriginal. It's a traditional soda bottle and before Coca Cola trademarked it, there were lots of sodas in similar bottles. I guess after supplying all of that Fanta to the Germans during WWII Coca Cola just wanted to get paid.

    The important thing is to remember (according to the author) is that this is about "protecting consumers", that's why now there's only two colas. (Apparently choice could harm consumers)

    I could see them being allowed to trademark those logos in the background of the screenshot in the article, "Teens React", with those specific colours, fonts and layout. (that's what a trademark actually should be, imo (aside from the legal definition, for wherever they're filing). It should identify a product as belonging to a certain company.

    But in the actual application, they just want to trademark the word react, without any particular font, colour or style.. and that's a no, in my mind. Waaay too generic, and any time I see the word "react" somewhere, I'm not going to think of these two guys, that's for certain. ergo, not a trademark.

    One eye on their money, one eye on the streets

    They're already released a response video (a react video?) addressing a bunch of these issues that people are complaining about. They have explicitly stated they're not trademarking "react" and trying to stop other people making their own reaction videos. They're trying to stop people copying their whole format (without becoming a licensee).

    Teacup meet storm...

    Last edited 02/02/16 6:49 pm

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