Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Texas

Q: I own an Instagram account that is the name of a company and they are wanting me to delete or hand it over.

I do post content relative to their service/product but I can remove or change it. I also added “Not affiliated with business name” in the bio.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Sergiy M Sivochek
Sergiy M Sivochek
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA

A: This question lacks sufficient detail to provide a meaningful answer. These types of demands are rather frequent and they are always very fact-specific. Sometimes those demands are warranted and sometimes not. The most important question here is whether the company that sent you that demand can show trademark or other intellectual properly rights that entitle it to make this demand. For example, if you were able to somehow get an Instagram account under the name "MICROSOFT" and started to make posts about computer technology in general, then you would very likely get in trouble even if you never posted content relative to Microsoft's services/products and even if you had fifty disclaimers on your account as to no-affiliation with Microsoft. Why? Because MICROSOFT is a long-registered trademark and so they will have a strong argument that by making Instagram posts under the same name, you are causing "a likelihood of consumer confusion" in the marketplace and thus committing trademark infringement. On the other end of the spectrum, I have also seen lots of frivolous demands in my more than ten years of practicing trademark and intellectual properly law.

Bottom line: Such demands must be taken very seriously. The best thing to do would be for you

to consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney as to your specific situation.

This answer is for general educational purposes only. This is not legal advice. I am not your attorney.

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