The Brothers and YouTube
Brothers Rafi and Benny Fine are the well-known YouTubers behind the 'The Fine Bros' and 'React' YouTube channels. They are some of YouTube's most popular channels and have attracted audiences of approximately 13.7 million subscribers. The brothers are known for their popular 'reaction video' series which involves people of all generations being filmed reacting to videos about popular culture or current affairs.
The brothers sought to register the word "react" as a trademark but have since announced a change of heart.
In July 2015 the brothers applied for a trade mark for the word "react" which essentially covered: "Entertainment services, namely providing an ongoing series of programs and webisodes via the internet in the field of observing and interviewing various groups of people."
Some of their most successful series include "Kids React", "Teens React" and "YouTubers React". Along with the trademark application for the word react, the brothers also attempted to register "kids react" and "adults react".
However, news of their application was met with a backlash from fans, users and subscribers to their channel, and resulted in thousands unsubscribing.
After losing a huge number of subscribers the brothers have finally announced on their blog that the trademark scheme, which they had named 'React World program' has been discontinued, existing react trademark applications have been rescinded and past YouTube copyright claims have been dropped. Had the brother's company, Fine Brothers Entertainment, been successful in trade marking the word "react", it would have given them and their licensees the sole right to use the word in relation to online reaction videos in their format.
The pair have now also apologised publicly on their blog stating that, "...trademarks like these could be used to theoretically give companies (including ours) the power to police and control online video is a valid concern, and though we can assert our intentions are pure, there's no way to prove them."
Owning a brand and recognising the various factors which differentiate you from your competition is certainly reasonable and recommended. On the other hand, if you want to claim a stake to an idea that was not originally yours, it will be unlikely that followers will accept this. The publicity generated highlights that careful brand management is key and the team at McDaniel & Co. are able to help on 0191 281 4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org: Digital/Tech, News, Trade Marks