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"Stolen" Instagram business name

     
6:05 pm on Sep 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Another company is using instagram.com/my-company-name. My site has been up at my-company-name.com for many years longer than my-company-name.tld has been online. What can I do?
8:13 pm on Sept 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Have you tried contacting Instagram about this issue? Is that account using any of the content or images from your domain? It is a violation of the TOS at Instagram to use a domain name for an account without prior written consent but they mean consent from Instagram, not the owner of the actual domain:
You must not use domain names or web URLs in your username without prior written consent from Instagram.

If there are copyright violations involved, they have a process for submitting claims: [help.instagram.com...]
8:36 pm on Sept 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Do you have a trademark or trademark claim? What is the basis of the TM claim? What is the degree of exclusivity? (Many marks use words while disclaiming exclusivity.) For example, is the company name generic or distinctive? Injury Lawyer vs. The Best Darned Injury Lawyer in Texas. (Still might have a problem with the latter. Too much to discuss right now.)

To what use is the instagram account being put? To compete? Comment? Complain? Just squat?

Are there other instances of similar Instagram accounts . . showing a degree of tolerance, indifference or acceptance (of the practice, with limits)?

There are many variables that have to be evaluated, including how the law may be applied, such as "which jurisdiction's law" to apply. Some jurisdictions may have more restrictive laws, more severe penalties, etc.

I'd follow whatever process Instagram has set up to challenge the use. I'd follow it "to the letter". Do everything they say with great attention to detail.

You might consider hiring a lawyer who practices in Instagram's hometown OR the hometown of the (presumed) prankster. There's nothing like the ability of a lawyer to "reach out and sue someone" (locally) to make a good :p first impression.

As an alternative you might be able to "buy the account". I hate to encourage such a practice but it just might be the shortest, least expensive route to what your company desires.

Plan B is just to open your own account and entitle it "~the real company name" . . and frack the little SOB.

As a last resort your company can file a lawsuit if local (to the proper jurisdiction) counsel believes the claim has merit and a likelihood of success. The lawsuit should trigger the disclosure of the actual user. It could be very interesting if it's a competitor, with assets, subject to your jurisdiction and ability to collect a money judgment.
8:51 pm on Sept 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's actually not a squatter. 2 years ago someone registered my-company-name.tld and now operates an unrelated business there. .tld is a country-specific TLD. I registered and began using my-company-name.com 15 years ago.

I don't have an official trademark. Should I follow Instagram's Copyright Violation process or Trademark Violation process?

[help.instagram.com...]
8:59 pm on Sept 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Without digging into the detials I suspect trademark, since it's likely a matter of "brand, not content".
6:55 am on Sept 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How can there be a trademark violation when there is no trademark?

There is clearly no copyright violation.

If they are in a different line of business in a different country, then common law (unregistered) trademarks, passing off or similar grounds in your, their, or Instagram's jurisdictions are unlikely to apply

If they have used the name in good faith (for example, if they have just come up with the same name by coincidence) then then what are they doing wrong? Otherwise, there may be some sort of of claim, but I cannot see what it is. If you are really determined ask a lawyer, but from what you have said, it just sounds like two businesses happen to have the same name and the other got the Instagram handle first..
11:26 am on Sept 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is it too late to obtain a trademark and use it here?
7:19 pm on Sept 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Although I explained that I am entitled to common law trademark rights, I received this from Instagram in response to my submission:

Instagram usernames are assigned on a first–come, first-served basis. We require a national or community trademark registration in order to consider requests for username transfers.

If you have a national or community trademark registration, please reply to this email with the registration number, a digital copy of the registration, or a link to the trademark registration on the appropriate intellectual property office’s website, and we will be happy to look into your request.


Should I register a national trademark and try again?