Instagram, which is owned by social network giant Facebook, has decided that any app that connects to the service may not use "Insta" or "Gram" in its name. The news of the changes first came when Instagram updated its Instagram Brand Guidelines yesterday. The "Naming Applications and Products" section it now reads, in part:
- Use "Instagram," "IG", "Insta" or "Gram" in your app name
TechCrunch got a hold of an email Instagram sent to developers whose apps infringe on the new policy. The email states:
We appreciate your interest in developing products that help people share with Instagram. 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.
As we hope you can appreciate, protection of its well-known trademarks is very important to Instagram. 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. 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.
While it might be easy to jump on the "Instagram is overreacting" bandwagon, this is common practice for companies where branding is of the utmost importance. Apple itself began requiring that no iPod speaker manufacturer use any derivative of "iPod" in its products names a few years ago.