mobile photography technology, culture and community

Instagram cracks down use of its brand name


We totally understand when a company like Instagram wants to protect its brand name, but some new guidelines seem to be putting the squeeze on the very apps that helped turn Instagram into a $1 billion Facebook acquisition.

Instagram has a long list of dos and don'ts under its Using Instagram Brand Assets guidelines. New to this list are rules and regulations for app developers. Within those regulations, Instagram says, you can associate the app with Instagram by using the naming convention "[Your App Name] for Instagram" but the name cannot contain any of the following: "Instagram,"  "Insta," "Gram" or "IG." Of course, there are restrictions as to how Instagram logos can be used as well (in short, don't use them in a connected app's icon).

Adding "for Instagram" to an app's name may work for Instagram, but what about the apps that built their own brand by integrating the now forbidden "Insta" or "Gram" into their names? Some app developers — including the ones that helped Instagram become so popular — must now either adapt (and lose the brand name they worked so hard for) or face the consequences. 

Is this a case of corporate bullying or a smart move on Instagram's part to protect its brand?


Total comments: 12

When Warner Brothers aimed to sue Marx Brothers for using word "Casablanca" in their movie "Night in Casablanca", Groucho Marx aimed to sue Warners for using the word "Brothers", claiming that Marx Brothers were there before Warners.


These actions are pretty normal really.

They manifest when a company starts to falter.

The rats on board are agitated when they sense the ship is sinking.


1 upvote

This is one more reason I don't use Instagram. First it was a smooth seamless integration into facebook and iphone and that was cool. Then they wanted copyright to your personal pix just because you used the software ( that's when I was done) and now
they have gone the farther than needed. Is facebook this much of a control freak ? Zuckerburg wont stop until he has infringed the privacy and ultimately control of every human being on the planet.


Just one more reason not to like Instagram... !


I do like the icon. Neat little retro camera icon.

Having had my attention drawn to the 'Insta' in the upper left corner, I see the rainbow...

Cameras in the past used a rainbow... I think I had a Kodak with the rainbow motif.. Maybe it was a brand of flashcube. Anyway.

If Instagram wants to prohibit the use of 'insta' alone, I wonder if they might get rid of the rainbow. I confuse their product with flashcubes. They should not steal the rainbow idea.


There are many branding restrictions out there for all sorts of products. You can have a Jones Honda dealership, for example, but your Accura dealership must have a location or something other than a proper name: Accura of Cincinnati.
"Insta", however, has been used a lot in the past relating to photography. Everyone had a Kodak Instamatic or two in the family!


I understand 'application for Instagram' and the requirement to not have 'Instagram' or 'IG' in the title. I presume they are trademarked or whatever.

I don't follow the prohibition of 'Insta' or 'Gram' from the title. Separated, I am not sure how these two can be restricted. There must be more to the story.

Prohibiting 'insta' alone is like prohibiting the 'i' that had become so popular after iMac or iPod. iThis and iThat. Maybe Apple likes that. iDon'tknow.


I don't see how regulations issued today, can prohibit a certain custom or use that predeces it, unless those regulations are just a repetition of general law.
But in that case, Instagram should not include it now to try and crack down on use they seem to have tolerated and encouraged before.
Adding it to corporate regulations seems to be a message that "there is no more Mr. Nice Guy" (from now on), which is kind of an admission, that previously much more was tolerated.


Nothing new here. With the launch of Microsoft Windows 3.0 in May 1990, developers were not allowed to market "Windows applications." They could, and should market "applications for Windows." That's a big difference and it's Intellectual Property Mamagement 101. And there are zillions of other similar examples.

The only problem here is that Instagram let this get out of their control.

Similarly, you don't write an "iPhone app." You do write an "app for iPhone."

Nothing to see here, move along people. The author of the piece should know better.


Plain stupid... like they invented the word "Insta" which has been used centuries back.

And I am sick and tired of seeing insta-crap pictures everyday. They all looked the same with that crappy filters on it.


If Kodak was still in the photography business, I guess they'd be suing Instagram for trademark infringement on Instamatic.


You mean an ethereal endeavor built by mounting over thin-air-shoulders now wants to dissipate those very same thin-air-shoulders to maximize their sucker-bred-returns?
How unheard of in these days and ages...

1 upvote
Total comments: 12
About us