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Owners of Instagram infringe trade mark

Written by Rehana Ali on 05 August 2014

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Instagram (owned by social media giant facebook) has launched a picture-messaging app called ‘Bolt’ regardless of the fact that a company was already using the name and despite the fact that the earlier company (that allows users to call each other for free) insisted Instagram do not use their name!

The new app allows users to exchange videos and photos that are deleted once they have been viewed. At present the new app is only available in South Africa, Singapore and New Zealand but is due to be sold globally soon. The app can also be downloaded on the iOS and Android platforms.

The chief executive of the earlier company (Andrew Benton) whose 'Bolt' service has been in existence since 2013, said the confusion between the companies would cause substantial damage to his company, he has further commented:

“our users have reached out to us, wondering whether we have been acquired or are possibly providing the underlying technology behind your Bolt app. People are searching for Bolt in the Play Store and downloading our app thinking its the one created by Instagram, then leaving frustrated when they don’t get what they expected”

Benton stated that he did not want to enter into litigation with the photo-sharing service, he made it clear however that he was entitled to police his US mark. In the UK the Trade Marks Act 1994 also entitles a proprietor of a registered trade mark to take action for trade mark infringement in the above scenario, with the usual end result being the later user of a mark is prevented from using a mark that has previously been registered.

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