people

Claims To Owning Symbols And Words

Gene Simmons from Kiss tried to claim this gesture as his own…

We live in world where symbols and words help us to understand each other. The English language in which I write is testament of that. Symbols and words allow you to recognise and identify meaning. Once you can derive meaning from a symbol or word you can communicate with someone else.

Entrepreneurs and C.E.O.s also understand this. Additionally they need to create revenues to keep going with their businesses. When you produce and sell goods and services, it makes sense to have your own brand, register it and trademark it. When you have a self-developed method or invention you can even file a patent.

Sometimes though people are stupid. Recently Gene Simmons from the band Kiss tried to trademark the now culturally iconic Metal salute. Here is an article with some context. In the end he had to back off as the backlash was harsh. But this was nothing compared to what the Finebros had to endure.

Ever heard of reaction videos? Well Youtube, the video sharing platform is a playground for new content ideas. Reaction videos are a thing there. A good format for entertainment, everyone can do it. Well the Finebros wanted to trademark the word “react” for their “react world” concept. Why? To sort of monopolise and share the reaction video format on Youtube and on-line. Hank Green explains it here. Channel subscribers left by the thousands in protest and left negative remarks. The backlash was epic.

The thing is, claiming to own a symbol or word is tricky. When other people also use that symbol or word you have to explain why. Claims to symbols or words are part of a large realm. It is called intellectual property. In short I.P. this realm demands that you do your homework.

You start a company to create a new product or service, okay you need a brand to distinguish yourself.

You claim to own a symbol or word that everybody uses, something universal. Not going to happen.

P.S. Ever since the “react world” scandal I generally avoid anything the Finebros make. Earn your monopoly by being smart.