In today’s guide, we are going to talk about getting an Instagram username that is owned by someone is but you have that name registered as a trademark. In other words, by using your name as a ‘username’, someone is infringing on the registered and valid trademark that you own. So, let’s take a look at what we can do to remedy such a situation. Can we get an Instagram username via trademark infringement? Let’s find out!
Instagram Username Trademark Infringement
First, let us understand what is Instagram’s stand on this issue. Unfortunately, here is what they have to say:
Unless someone is impersonating you as a brand on the basis of them having the username, you don’t have many options. In other words, if a username has your trademarked username, but, their content has nothing to do with your brand, your service or your website – then in Instagram’s eyes that is not a violation. You can find more on what they have to say about this here.
In a case where an account is actively impersonating your brand, you can file a report. Keep in mind, unless the report you file has significant weight and proof that the target username is impersonating your brand, don’t expect Instagram you simply ‘remove’ the account just so that you can have that username. We’ve had thousands of customers trying to ‘report’ an account in a hundred different ways just so that they can get their desired username – only to realize that, it just doesn’t work that way.
With that said – there is still a way out! Keep on reading.
Claiming an Instagram Username for your Trademark
And, now, we are the fun part of the blog. Here we’ll discuss a solution.
So, there is a way for you to ‘claim’ a username that matches your trademark or other business documentation (like incorporation) provided that the username you’d like has been inactive for some time.
Contrary to the popular belief that if a username is taken, its gone forever – there is a straightforward way for getting usernames.
Now – here is the deal. Facebook (which owns Instagram) provides large brands and digital agencies with what they call a ‘media support panel’. This is an invite-only portal from Facebook that allows brands and agencies (that have enormous spend with FB) access to a suite of unique services.
From claiming usernames, to requesting verified badges and a range of other fun services. It’s all there.
Ever noticed a celebrity or a movie easily take up a username that is already registered? Well – they requested for a claim via a media support portal. That’s how they did it.
Ever wondered how Netflix can create unlimited accounts for its movies and series and have them instantly verified even with low followers? Yup. That’s a portal doing its magic.
What Makes a Username Claimable?
As long as the username has been active for approx. 1.5 years, it becomes ‘claimable’. But – there is a catch. The username you want must be of 6 characters or more. Meaning, you cannot* claim short or generic handles.
Reason? Because short Instagram handles that are generic or first names, they go for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the market. And Instagram knows that. So, they limit claim requests to 6 characters or more. Unless you have what we call an AAA portal. Now – media support portals have rankings and hierarchy. At the bottom, you have portals that can barely do anything – not even claims or verifications. And at the top, you have these super portals that can get you verified without any press and claim short Instagram handles for you like ‘@blue’ or ‘@dragon’ (here, @blue is short and @dragon is too generic)
So, to sum it up – as long as the username you want has been inactive for 1.5 years and is of 6 characters in length or more, it becomes ‘claimable’, provided that you have access to a portal, or you know someone who does.
So, what do you do if you don’t have a knowledge panel? Well, for that, we’d have to go to the next step. But remember, a knowledge panel significantly increases the chances for Instagram verification for musicians. So – it’s one thing that you should not ignore.
How Do We Claim a Username for a Trademark?
Well – this is simple. You’re at the right place. At Fresh Engagements, we help individuals, brands and businesses claim their desired usernames across all social media platforms. As a brand, we understand how not having consistent usernames across all socials that also match your domain just doesn’t cut it. And, we are here to help solve that problem.
We have access to multiple portals via which we can submit your inquiry. If you have a trademark, we can attach the trademark along with the application. And, within a matter of days – your desired username will be claimed onto your current account.
Claim requests are processed by changing an existing username to a desired username. For example – someone already had @freshengagements on Instagram registered but it was inactive. Here is what we did. We created an account @freshengagements_ (we hated the underscore but had no choice). We filled it up with a bio, a couple of posts, and some followers. Next, we made an application. In a few days, we got a confirmation email and when we logged into our Instagram it was changed to @freshengagements (without the underscore, finally!)
So – is trademark even necessary? To be honest, no. It’s not. It’s a great addition to the application but it’s not necessary so long as the claim you want are ‘regular’ claims that are of 6 or more characters in length.
Now – if we’re talking about generic or short handles, a trademark is a must. Not only a trademark but, you’d be expected to have a proper website, a decent following, lots of content, and a few other documents. Trust us, they make claiming short and generic handles a pain!
What About an Active Username Infringing my Trademark
Ah, yes! So, what if someone has the username that you want. But – its not claimable because they are active on it. Well, there is no straight solution to this to be honest. But here are a few –
- You file a report with Instagram against this account and pray that they take action (chances of you getting struck by lightning would be higher than Instagram actually replying)
- You can have an agency like ours have report this account via a media support request – this will increase your chances at getting the target account banned, but, it still wouldn’t make it ‘claimable’. Only accounts that are registered AND not suspended are claimable. So, we can get it banned. But, that doesn’t free up the username even if you have the trademark for it.
- Finally – you can reach out to the owner of the account and request them to give you the username. Now – please be sure to understand this – DO NOT ever pay anyone for a username exchange. Reason? They can always pull it back. Given that Instagram usernames are linked to email addresses, the owner of the original address can always pull back the username after the sale EVEN IF you have changed the email to your email in the settings. We’ve seen far too many brands get scammed this way, so please, avoid it!
And that’s about it. If you have a username that matches your trademark and is inactive, lets get it claimed! Check out our Instagram username claim service. For anything else, feel free to reach out to us here.
Until next time! Stay safe!