Instagram is one of the most popular apps and one of the few that you will find on all the operating systems including Android, Windows, Apple and Blackberry.
Instagram recently changed its guidelines and sent out notices to all third party apps stating that they are no more allowed the use of the words ‘INSTA’ or ‘GRAM’ or the initials ‘IG’ for the brand names of their apps.
Luxogram and Webstagram, two of the most popular third party apps which help the users upload pictures on Instagram and access their gallery directly, each with a user ship of over 50,000 individually, seems to have suffered the most. They will either have to change their brand name or worse, shut down completely. What is ironic is that these third party apps helped Instagram gain more popularity and reach its current rate of success.
Initially, Instagrams guideline stated that the use of both Insta and gram together is not allowed but using them individually was acceptable.
So Why Is There A Change In Guidelines Now?
Since Instagram has gained so much of popularity, it seems the minds at the company have thought of the step to safeguard their trademark and brand name. Of course, Instagram might argue that due to the ever growing apps in the market it wants to make sure that their consumers are not misled and have no problem identifying the original applications. But, what was acceptable till now changed with a mere change in the guidelines – and we need to take a look at that issue.
Now it seems, Instagram is planning on releasing its own range of ‘Insta’ apps so it is to avoid any further confusion that they have taken this step.
Though some developers are suffering and reeling from this move, it is seen as necessary in such an unforgiving legal environment. A trademark is only truly protected when you protect it – however accepting some brand name today and rejecting it later might come in for review from legal experts.
What Do We As App Developers Learn From This?
Firstly, protection of trademark since the beginning of the app life is important. You don’t want anybody stealing your idea and benefiting from your app and your hard work and later get involved in legal issues. Though initially you do not know how successful your app will be, it is an important investment that you need to make. You want your app to remain exclusive and your consumers should not be misled.
Secondly, do not depend on another app. If possible, think of something new and innovative. If you must build a supporting app ensure you can avoid as many as future complications as possible. Of course, follow all the guidelines of the app but also keep in mind that guidelines can change, like in the case on Instagram – you don’t want to suffer from a similar fate that Luxogram and Webstagram did.