Instagram: Don't use 'Insta,' 'Gram,' or 'IG' in your app name

The photo-sharing social network puts the kibosh on other apps using portions of its trademark name, look-alike logos, and even the "Instagram stylized font."

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Apps like Luxogram, Instaframe, and Webstagram had better watch out. Instagram is hunting down those companies that use words and logos that resemble its app and politely asking them to cease and desist.

The photo-sharing social network recently updated its brand guidelines with a revised list of dos and don'ts. Some dos include "name your product something that is unique and original to you" and "design your own app icon that represents your brand."

The don'ts list gets more specific. It includes don't "use 'Instagram,' 'IG,' 'Insta' or 'Gram' in your app name," don't "use the Camera Logos, or the Instagram name or logo," and don't "use the Instagram stylized font in your product."

To be fair, many of these apps do use logos strikingly similar to Instagram's rainbow-flagged camera. But, many of these apps are also designed to boost the Instagram experience.

Apparently, Instagram has begun sending out e-mails to those offending apps, according to TechCrunch. Luxogram is one company that got such an e-mail, and then forwarded it to TechCrunch.

"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," Instagram wrote in the e-mail to Luxogram. "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 is asking all of these copycat apps to change their branding "within a reasonable period."

Facebook, Instagram's parent company, is also known for cracking down on the re-use of words it uses in its name. As insane as it sounds, the company tried to trademark the word "book" last year. It also already has a host of active trademarks listed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including the letter "F," "Face," "FB," "Wall," and "Facepile."

When contacted by CNET, an Instagram spokesperson said, "All uses of the Instagram brand need to be in accordance with our branding guidelines."

Update, August 20 at 5:25 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Instagram spokesperson.