It uses hologram technology to create ‘mixed reality’ videos, but Microsoft’s new Actiongram app faces a struggle to keep hold of the -gram suffix in its name, following opposition from social media platform Instagram.

Microsoft’s attempt to register the name Actiongram for its new holographic video app at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) immediately drew an opposition from Instagram. The social media platform owns 14 trademarks protecting the Instagram brand, and fiercely protects the suffix -gram.

Is there a likelihood of confusion?
Instagram’s registered trademarks cover a range of goods and services, including 'computer software for the collection, editing, organising, modifying, transmitting, storing and sharing data and information'. Microsoft has sought to register the name Actiongram for similar goods and services. In its opposition, Instagram argues that there is a high risk of confusion between the two brand names, and that its interests risk being harmed because the public might think that there is a relationship between Instagram and Actiongram.

In our view, however, it is questionable whether Instagram and Actiongram are confusingly similar. To assess likelihood of confusion, there’s generally an emphasis on the first part of a mark. In addition, the examiner will take the extent of the distinctiveness of the ‘gram’ suffix into consideration. The circumstances of the case will also play a role. (Find out more about the opposition procedure.)