Though the Instagram name itself has always been protected by trademark and by the company’s API guidelines, the terms ‘Insta’ and ‘Gram’ have not. In fact, until the recent changes to the brand policies, use of those terms were actually encouraged by Instagram’s API documentation. You could use ‘Insta’ or ‘Gram’, but not both together in the name of the app.
So the new rules exhibit a pulling back of sorts when it comes to the branding and naming of apps that connect to Instagram. While Instagram, and by extension Facebook, cannot stop apps that don’t use its API from using the terms, the continued use of that connection is now dependent upon apps not using either term in their names. We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment.
If Instagram thinks it controls the term “Insta,” perhaps Glenn Reynolds should look into legally acquiring the company in a lawsuit for trademark infringement. Given that the Blogfather’s joint predates Instagram by, oh, about a decade.