In recent years, Web presence has become an unavoidable necessity for many companies. This presence should take the form of an accessible and relevant website, as well as social media, which helps build a community of consumers whose values are reflected by the company.
Among the many options available, Instagram has a special place in the hearts of social media users, making it one of the most helpful tools available for reaching customers.
Username vs. Hashtag
You can usually create an Instagram account using your trademark as your username. However, this will not prevent other Instagram users from using your username as a hashtag. A hashtag is a word that can be clicked on to find all posts about the same subject in Instagram. This hashtag can be used not only by the holder of the username associated with it, but also by any user who wants to link their posts to it.
It should also be noted that usernames are assigned on a "first come, first served" basis and cannot be reserved. Thus, if your trademark has been assigned as a username to an individual who uses it personally before you created your business profile, negotiating with them would be your only option. In the event that the individual in question refuses to transfer the username, their use of such a name cannot be contested with Instagram.
Beware of Misleading Posts
However, Instagram does prohibit any misleading or fraudulent publication. Thus, if your trademark is used in association with the products and services you sell or any related products or services, such use would be prohibited and would permit Instagram to intervene. For example, if you were a tea company, you could not prevent a user who uses their account to share their private photos from using your trademark as their username, but you could intervene if another tea company used your trademark as a username, even if that other company was given that username before you. In such cases, having a registered trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office is an undeniable asset in asserting your rights.
To develop an effective marketing strategy based on solid legal protection, it is essential to consider all issues related to your company's presence on Instagram while your business is developing or expanding.