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Instagram warns developers off using 'Insta' or 'Gram' in app names in Facebook-inspired move

If you think you're being clever by attaching "insta" or "gram" to the name of your photo-related app, think again.

Instagram is now banning third-party apps from using variations on its moniker in the name of their apps.

"Don't: Use 'Instagram,' 'IG,' 'Insta' or 'Gram' in your app name," Instagram says in its updated brand guidelines.

Third parties are also banned from using the Instagram name or logo in their app icons, and the Instagram stylised font in their product or marketing materials.

As noted by TechCrunch, this is a reversal of Instagram's previous guidelines; a cached version reads, "While you cannot use the word "Instagram" or "IG" in your product's name, it's ok to use one (but not both) of the following: 'Insta' or 'gram.'"

As a result, many existing apps will have to re-brand or lose access to the Instagram API, rendering their products useless.

TechCrunch highlighted Luxogram, a web-based Instagram client that received an email from Instagram saying that it cannot "allow other applications to look like they might be official Instagram applications or endorsed or sponsored by us."

"It is important that you develop your own distinctive branding for your applications, and use Instagram's trademarks only as specifically authorized under our policies," the email continued.

"All uses of the Instagram brand need to be in accordance with our branding guidelines," an Instagram spokeswoman said in a statement.

The firm did not address how long Luxogram and other apps have to alter their names and branding. According to the email, companies will have a "reasonable period" to do so.

Instagram's parent company Facebook has made similar efforts to protect the "face" and "book" names. In November 2010, Facebook was granted permission to trademark the word 'face'. Earlier that year, it also went after education site TeachBook for using 'book' in its name; that case ended in 2012 when TeachBook agreed to change its name to TeachQuest.