Facebook Protects the Instagram Brand

Facebook is protecting its brand and trademark by banning apps that have the words "Insta" or "Gram" in the name to make sure users know there's no official connection.

Instagram has sent out emails to those apps asking that they change their names, according to TechCrunch. From a letter sent to the app Luxogram:

While we encourage developers to build great apps with Instagram, we cannot allow other applications to look like they might be official Instagram applications or endorsed or sponsored by us. . . . The two new points that Instagram indicates that Luxogram is treading on are the fact that it uses “gram” in its name, and that (a highly customized variant of) the camera logo is being used. Instagram notes that a response to the email is expected within 48 hours and that a “reasonable period” will be provided to fix these items.

Instagram continued by stating that it is now protecting the terms "Insta" and "Gram" even though it acknowledged that Instagram previously encouraged it. "The new rules exhibit a pulling back of sorts," it wrote in the letter. The new policy affects dozens of app developers who will have to rename and rebrand accordingly, which likely may hurt Luxogram's 1 million users a month.

Viewed cynically, it appears that Instagram needed and actively encouraged these early apps to partake in part of their name to help it attract users and fuel the startup's success. Now that it doesn't need to grow and can rely on the investment and ownership of Facebook (which bought the photo app last year for $1 billion, which later became $740 million because of falling shares), these apps aren't as important or necessary. Facebook simply wants to protect the trademark, which is a large part of Instagram's assets.
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