Instagram: photo sharing app or weed delivery business?

Insta Gram. Get it?

Picture of marijuana with the words "Insta Gram"

Get your grams delivered in an instant.

Instagram has failed to secure the domain name Instragram.nl through a cybersquatting dispute, and the background is very interesting.

A Dutch entrepreneur registered Instragram.nl in December 2010. Instagram (the app) was an infant at the time, but how do you explain this domain registration if it isn’t targeted at the photo-sharing social network? Here’s the explanation:

Respondent states that he decided to trigger an innovative online operation of cannabis distribution in the Netherlands. Respondent argues that his business innovation encompasses the idea of an online “coffeeshop” (licensed establishments in the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption is tolerated by the local authorities) platform. According to Respondent this platform connects physical “coffeeshops” with consumers, allowing them to order cannabis online and having it delivered, as he says, almost instantaneously. Respondent argues that such cannabis courier service would be made available under the name “Insta Gram”, the latter using the metric system unit commonly used for measuring cannabis. Respondent states that the Domain Name has been at the core of this new business offering and significant time, effort and money (to the tune of EUR 30,000) have been expended in the development of this new business.

The business didn’t come to fruition as the entrepreneur hoped.

Lest you think the domain owner is full of it, it’s worth noting that Instagram hadn’t acquired Instagram.com when the entrepreneur registered Instagram.nl. It was just a couple of months after Instagram adopted its current brand name, too.

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist ultimately punted on deciding the case. While he denied the instant claim, he said this matter is better suited for the courts.

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Original article: Instagram: photo sharing app or weed delivery business?

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