INSTAGRAM TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT
Representing Trademark Owners in Infringement Cases on Social Media
When you think of popular social media platforms for businesses, brands, or public figures, you may first think of Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. However, with more than 600 million users, Instagram has risen to become one of the most popular social media companies. The largely app-based platform has in recent years grown in popularity with celebrities and companies alike and is an exceptional way to get your brand seen on a regular basis by customers and other followers. With faster growth than other major social media sites, Instagram is a great opportunity for marketing and to express your brand to the public.
However, whether you have a recent trademark for a start-up or have a long-established trademark, it often occurs that someone uses a username for an Instagram account which is confusingly similar to an existing trademark. As mentioned, more than 600 million accounts already exist, so Instagram denies many people their first username choices because other people already claimed them.
If you have noticed someone infringing on your trademark rights on Instagram or another social media platform, the attorneys at Mandour & Associates, APC, are here to assist you. We will evaluate your options and work to resolve the matter in the most efficient way possible while still protecting your rights.
Potential Harm Caused by Trademark Infringement
As a business owner, you want to control the messages associated with your brand. Modern customers can pull their loyalty and express their dismay with a company at the news of the slightest mishap, or if the company issues a message that does not align with their own views. With consumers that can be fickle, you want to ensure that social media does not confuse your messages.
Instagram is a platform on which to post photos and videos. Controversial images on Instagram regularly make the news and go viral. Someone else who uses your trademark as an Instagram username might post something that goes against the spirit of your brand and repels existing or potential customers. This can cause irreparable harm to your company’s reputation, and can hurt your current and future profits.
Too many trademark owners do not take action regarding possible Instagram infringements until they have suffered damages. If you learn that someone is using your trademark in a manner that may confuse the public, do not hesitate to discuss your options with a skilled trademark lawyer as soon as possible.
Your Options With Instagram
LIke other social media sites, Instagram does have policies against trademark infringement. However, enforcing your rights against infringement is not so simple with this company. Instagram’s policies do not consider every use of your trademark to be an infringement. If the trademark is used in a different context or if Instagram decides that the username will not cause brand confusion, the site may allow the existing user to keep infringing on your rights, even if you have a federally registered trademark.
Instagram also prefers that parties handle trademark disputes outside of its reporting process. If a report requires in-depth or technical analysis regarding trademarks and trademark law, the site may not act on the matter. Instead, the company encourages trademark owners to directly contact the third-party infringer to attempt to resolve the situation on their own without Instagram’s direct involvement. If you do make a report with Instagram regarding trademark infringement, the company states it will provide your information to the reported party so they may contact you to resolve the matter.
Because Instagram tends to avoid getting involved in trademark disputes whenever possible, a typical first step is for us to send a cease and desist letter. If the party refuses to cease the infringement or has caused harm to your business or brand, that may require a lawsuit. A lawsuit will allow you to seek a trademark injunction to prevent someone from using your trademark, as well as to seek damages when appropriate.
If you learn that someone is violating your rights on Instagram, you should contact an experienced trademark or copyright lawyer as soon as possible. An intellectual property attorney can help negotiate with the third party to stop the infringement voluntarily or to represent you in a legal claim against that party if necessary.
Contact a California Instagram Trademark Infringement Law Firm
At Mandour & Associates, APC, we not only help you put protections in place from the very beginning of your trademark, we also help you stop any infringement on your rights, and we seek compensation for any damages you incur due to infringement. If you have an intellectual property issue on Instagram, please contact us today by clicking here: contact to discuss your situation.