Can you trademark a YouTube channel?
In short: Yes, you can trademark a YouTube channel. You can trademark the name, logo, or slogan that you are using to promote your YouTube channel. As a YouTube channel is considered to be an entertainment service, it can be subject to the standard protections under trademark law.
Why Bother Trademarking Your Channel?
A trademark will prevent another YouTube channel from using your name, slogan, or logo. This is an important step in building a specific brand identity for your channel. In order to register a trademark, you must prove that the name or logo is distinct and specifically associated with your channel.
Limits of Channel Name or Logo Trademarks
A trademark will not prevent a competitor from creating videos that are similar to yours. Trademarks do not protect content, but rather the way that the content is identified and promoted. A trademark will not prevent the general public from using the slogan or logo. Trademarks only prevent direct competitors from using your branding materials to mislead consumers.
Some Current Examples of Trademarked Channels
When discussing trademarks or servicemarks like this, it's always helpful to have some examples. Let's look at two.
Epic Meal Time
The Epic Meal Time channel on youtube has, as of October 2020, about 7 million subscribers to its channel and has amassed just over a billion views of the videos.
The trademark application is careful to caveat that no claim is being made on the exclusive right to use "meal" apart from within the full name of the mark. While the channel began in Sept of 2010, the trademark filing for the name was dated August 2011. The relevant class describes it as...
"Development and production of television programs; providing a website for entertainment purposes featuring videos in the nature of cooking shows"
Fine Brothers Entertainment
Brother Benny and Rafi Fine are the guys behind the wildly popular "react" videos like "Teens React" and "Kids React" as well as the "Do They Know It?" series. Their videos have reached a huge audience - for example, their video playing 90's music for teens has be viewed nearly 16,000,000 times:
However, the Fine Brothers looked to take their "React" franchise a bit farther than the YouTube community seemed to be comfortable with. FBE attempted the trademark "react" in the context of YouTube videos in an effort to license the concept out to other creators. They also attempted to trademark "kids react", "celebrities react" and other names. This caused a huge backlash, and ultimately ended with the brothers not only giving up on the licensing effort, but abandoning their trademark applications as well (save their main Fine Brothers Entertainment mark.) You can read more on the issue here as well.
Copyright on YouTube
Youtube provides resources for content creators to file copyright complaints, as well as respond to copyright strikes on their youtube account.
- Submit a Copyright Infringement Notification
- Submit a Counter Notification
- Copyright Strike Basics
- Retract a Claim of Copyright Infringement
- Dispute a Content ID Claim
- See Your Youtube Account Status
Trademarks and Other Social Platforms
We've also compiled information on other social platforms and their stance on trademarks and copyright. You can see those here:
Registering Your Trademark
We have a simple, 5 step process we use to help our clients secure their trademark. Check out the video below for an explanation of the process: