Instagram cracks down on brand copycats

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)-owned photo sharing application Instagram has updated its brand guidelines to prevent third-party developer partners from incorporating either "Insta" or "Gram" into their app names.

TechCrunch reports Instagram is sending emails to partners like Luxogram, requesting they retool their brands "within a reasonable period." Instagram says it "cannot allow other applications to look like they might be official Instagram applications or endorsed or sponsored by us," citing the importance of protecting its trademarks.

"For example, it has always been against our guidelines to use a name that sounds or looks like 'Instagram' or copies the look and feel of our application," the Instagram email states. "Similarly, as we have clarified in the new guidelines, use of 'Insta' and 'Gram' for an application that works with Instagram is harmful to the Instagram brand. It is important that you develop your own distinctive branding for your applications, and use Instagram's trademarks only as specifically authorized under our policies."

Instagram contends that the Luxogram name and logo infringe on its trademarks, adding that a response is expected within 48 hours.

TechCrunch notes that while the Instagram name has always been protected by trademark and by the firm's API guidelines, previous policies actually encouraged the use of either "Insta" or "Gram" (but not both together), resulting in dozens of piggyback apps including Statigram, Webstagram, Gramfeed, Instadrop and Instagallery. Developers must now rebrand those apps to continue leveraging the Instagram API. Luxogram creator Jeff Broderick said he is unlikely to make the requested changes and will probably shut down the app for good.

First introduced for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS in October 2010, Instagram enables users to snap, filter and manipulate photos and then upload their work to social media sites. The app expanded to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system in April 2012. Facebook acquired Instagram for $715 million last year and recently announced that the app boasts 130 million monthly users who have shared 16 billion photos.

For more:
- read this TechCrunch article

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