Littergram 'gets deadline' from Instagram to change name

Website front page Image copyright Littergram
Image caption The littergram website invites people to share photos of rubbish

The owner of an anti-litter app says he has been told he has until Friday to confirm with solicitors for Instagram and Facebook he will change its name.

Littergram invites people to share pictures of rubbish on their smartphone and report it to their council.

Danny Lucas, of Wrotham, Kent, has been asked to change it to a "unique name that does not call to mind" Instagram.

Facebook, which owns the US photo-sharing giant, said it was "obliged to protect its brand".

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Lawyers for the US photo-sharing giant Instagram, which was bought by Facebook for $1bn (£629m) in 2012, said the name was "not acceptable".

Mr Lucas said he thought the case had been closed in May.

"We agreed to not trademark it... they agreed to us trademarking it for t-shirts, bags," he said.

Mr Lucas said he was then given until the end of April to confirm a change in name.

He then assumed the matter was closed when Facebook said in May "they were merely taking steps to stop us trademarking".

Image copyright Littergram
Image caption Danny Lucas said changing the name would "undo everything achieved"

Facebook said it had been talks about how to find a way for them to have an app which was different enough to Instagram, but ultimately Littergram was a photo-sharing app which operated in a similar way.

The company said it had therefore asked them to change their name to avoid infringing the Facebook trademark, but so far had merely taken steps to object to their registration of the name as a trademark.

Facebook added they were obliged to take reasonable measures to protect their brand.

'Avoid court'

In response, Mr Lucas said: "It's exactly not what they're saying now, because they're saying change your name.

"We're not trademarking it. We'd already agreed not to do that in November 2015."

He added he was happy to discuss the matter further with Facebook.

"Don't go to the courts because we've not got the money for that," he said.

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