The Fine Brothers have built successful careers showing how folks, old and young, react to everything from split-screen gaming to the Oculus Rift to rotary telephones and 1990s internet. And now it’s the Fine Brothers that people are reacting to, and their decision to try to trademark “React”.
Last week, Variety reported the Fine Brothers, who have one of the biggest channels on YouTube, planned to monetise and licence its React shows, providing tools and support for others to make react videos for their channel. To do that, the brothers also felt they needed to file for trademark protection for “React” with the US Patent & Trademark Office last July. Here is the filing for their filing to trademark “React”.
You know, the actual word. To be clear, the Fine Brothers only want to trademark it 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”. Only!
And here is their announcement:
If the 233,000 dislikes are anything to go by, this video doesn’t appear to have gone over well. The Fine Brothers created another video because “the negative response has been so overwhelming”.
The Fine Brothers explain that they were trying to trademark their React format and not the entire react genre. I’m guessing as long as those in that genre don’t use the actual word “react”?
Kotaku reached out to the Fine Brothers for further clarification, but did not hear back before publication.
Attorney Ryan Morrison, whom Mark Serrels at Kotaku Australia has previously featured, points out that the Fine Brothers has gotten trademarks for phrases like “celebrities react”, “adults react” and “parents react”.
“When a trademark examiner approves a trademark, like they did here, they put it forward for publication,” Morrison added. “On the date of publication, the public has 30 days to file an opposition. Had the Fine Bros kept quiet for another month, they almost certainly would have gotten this trademark, as no one seemed to notice it. Instead, they announced their ridiculous licensing program and turned all eyes on them. How they were not advised to remain silent a bit longer? No idea. But I can tell you that it was a huge mistake, and one that they will regret.”
How has the internet been reacting to all this? The Fine Brothers haven’t made a video, but we do have some comments:
New comment on the Fine Bros video actually made me spit out my chipotle. pic.twitter.com/qgOZfRpD5G
— Davis (@HitchARiide) February 1, 2016
People with more power, all they want is more power. #FineBros
— Yungtown (@yungtown) February 1, 2016
I subscribed to the Fine Bros today so I could unsubscribe.
— Alpha ☆ (@alpharadTV) February 1, 2016
Meanwhile, shades of Sony trying and then failing to trademark “Let’s Play” hover in the background.
Top GIF via Fine Brothers Entertainment