Have you tried to open an Instagram account only to find out that the username has been taken?
It’s pretty common to run into this problem when you try to create an account for yourself, your business, or a client.
Unfortunately, as time goes by, it will be harder to obtain the ideal username.
Simply because the username is like your ID; the one you carry in your wallet everywhere. It has a unique number identification, and there is no way someone else can have it.
For most people, though, this isn’t the end of the world. They just choose an available version of the username by adding periods, numbers, underscores, or abbreviations, as Instagram suggests.
But, hey! You’re not like most people.
If you take your brand very seriously, like the way we do, or like the way Gollum protects his ring, setting a different username version of your own brand will never be an option.
So, today, I want to walk you through a proven way to get a taken Instagram username and not die trying.
Instagram is very supportive when it’s about protecting you and your brand.
They believe you have the right to get a taken username as long as you can prove that you should be the owner.
And the only way you can do that is by reporting a violation or infringement of your legal rights, such as copyright or trademark.
So, in this article, I’ll share with you how to report a violation or infringement via trademark.
Whether you have registered your brand, or you plan to do it later, I suggest you save this post if you need to take some action in the future.
What will you need to get a taken Instagram username?
To successfully report a violation or infringement via trademark and get a taken instagram username, you will need:
- Basic contact information (whether it is yours, your clients’, or your company’s.)
- The trademark certificate information or proof
- The username you want to report/own
- The reason you want to get that username
Let’s start with the basics.
What’s a trademark?
According to Instagram:
A trademark is a word, slogan, symbol, or design (ex: a brand name or logo) that a person or company uses to distinguish their products or services from those offered by others. Generally, trademark law seeks to protect consumers from being confused about who provides, endorses, or is affiliated with a particular product or service. And to prevent it, a trademark owner may be able to stop others from using their trademark (or a similar trademark) without permission if that use may cause any confusion.
Now, let’s get to work.
Step 1. Check the status of the account you want to get the username from.
Before anything else, you need to understand what’s the current condition of the username you want to get. This step is a must to plan how you’re going to describe the content of the report. You don’t want to miss anything.
- How many posts does the account have?
- When was the first and last time the account posted?
- Is the account’s business category the same as yours?
- Is the user’s content similar to yours?
- Does it have a defined logo on its profile picture?
- Can the user’s content confuse your audience?
- Can that account put your brand at risk?
If the account is not active, meaning that the user has not posted anything, that’s even better for you.
Step 2. Make an offer…?
Let’s be fair. If you don’t own the username, it’s because you arrived late to the party. In this case, you could do what I consider the right thing and try to contact the user to make an offer, before using the power of the law.
In my case, I contacted the user of @Mercating and made an offer of 500 USD (although I wasn’t successful).
Of course, making an offer is entirely up to you, and it’s totally fine if you don’t want to make any.
Step 3. Navigate the Instagram Help Center.
Reporting this kind of issue on Instagram is tricky. So, for your convenience, you may want to start this process by using any kind of screen device but mobile. The images you will see below are for demonstration purposes only.
To visit the Instagram Help center, go to https://help.instagram.com/
On the sidebar menu, click on Privacy and Safety Center > Report Something > Intellectual Property > Learn more about reporting trademark violations.
Once you click on “Learn more about reporting trademark violations,” you will get to the “Trademark” page. There, click on “Fill out this form”.
You should now be on the page “Reporting a Violation or Infringement of Your Rights on Instagram.”
Next, choose “Trademark” and “Continue with your trademark report”.
Step 4. Fill the Trademark Report Form
Before you start this step, keep in mind that if you submit a misleading or fraudulent report of trademark infringement, Instagram may have the right to take action, including the termination of your account.
To continue, choose what best describes your issue. In this case, “I found content which I believe infringes my trademark.” Then, select “Continue with my trademark report”.
Now, as an example, let’s start filling the report with the information I used in my application. (The reason I can’t show you a PDF of this application is that everything is managed by e-mail, which means that all the information you will input in the form will be sent back to you as a confirmation email, but with no formatting.)
Note that I’ll exclude some information for privacy reasons.
To complete this section you will need basic business contact information.
- Who owns the trademark? Me or my organization
- Your name (name and surname): Adrian Rosales Conant
- Your job responsibility: Owner, officer or director (non-legal)
- Mailing address: 9999 Apple Way, San Diego, CA
- Phone number: (999) 999 9999
- Email address: email@example.com
- Confirm your email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name of the rights owner: Mercating
- Please provide a link to the rights owner’s official online presence: mercating.com
To complete this section, you’ll need your trademark certificate information.
Although it’s optional to attach the PDF of your certificate, I strongly recommend you to do it.
Why? Because this is the most important evidence you have to prove you’re entitled to this trademark.
- Note that within this section, you can also report additional trademarks in case you have them.
- What is your trademark? Mercating
- Where is your trademark registered? Mexico / USA
- What is your trademark registration number (if applicable)? 999999
- Which categories of goods and/or services are covered by your registration? Marketing services, market research, marketing advising services, advertising services.
- If possible, please provide a link (URL) leading directly to your trademark registration: https://mytrademark.com/mybrand
Content you want to report
In this section, you will define and report the account you checked on step 1.
You must be very specific. You don’t want to cause any confusion and end up with a different username.
- What type of content are you reporting? Username
- Please provide links (URLs) or broadcast IDs leading directly to the specific content you are reporting: https://www.instagram.com/mercating/
- Please confirm the username you would like to claim: Mercating
- Please provide a link (URL) to the account that you would like to assign the username to https://www.instagram.com/mercatiing/
- Would you also like for the account using the requested username to be removed? No
- Please describe how you believe this content infringes on your trademark: Review in Step 5 the example statement I actually used to describe this section.
- Do you agree? Yes
- Electronic signature: Adrian Rosales Conant
Step 5. Write a clear statement to get a taken Instagram username
Instagram would like to know the reasons you need to get a taken Instagram username, so make sure you write a clear statement.
The way you describe how you believe the account or content infringes on your trademark may vary according to your situation. For example, the account I reported:
- didn’t have any posts yet. (and it had been like that for at least 3 years.)
- was opened after I registered my brand.
- was in the same category as my brand: Advertising/Marketing.
- had the intention to post about marketing and business too.
To write a clear and bold statement you must check the status of the account you want to report (Step 1) If you haven’t done so, it may be a good idea to go back and understand what you will report.
This is how I did it in my case:
First, I provided some background.
Mercating is a marketing agency that leads brands to a better and more connected tomorrow.
As we, at Mercating, take our branding and reputation very seriously, one of our goals is to hold and protect Mercating’s authenticity over the internet, which includes the right usage of social media platforms and the selection of usernames.
Currently, we have an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tiktok, etc., with the username “Mercating”, except for Instagram, where we want to start engaging with a new audience.
Then, I reported the issue.
Our biggest concern, although the current Instagram account @Mercating has not published any posts yet, is that it seems they plan to publish marketing content that can confuse our current and potential customers, and mislead the purpose and reputation of our brand.
Finally, I kindly asked them for help.
For this reason, we hope Instagram can consider our petition so we can unify our online presence, and so, one day, Mercating can become a strong brand within the online business world.
Thank you for your support.
Adrian Rosales, Founder.
As you can see, it’s a very simple statement that includes who you are, the problem or concern and the closing. I bet you can do it much better.
Step 6. Wait for Instagram’s feedback
After submitting your report, Instagram will receive your request and send you a confirmation email. Something like this:
The time they get back to you may vary depending on the requests they need to review. Just for reference, though, my case was solved the next day! and I couldn’t be happier.
So, if your request is approved, they will send you another confirmation e-mail like this one to let you know that you’re the new owner of the taken username.
I haven’t told you how the story ended with the previous owner of @Mercating.
After the owner realized that his username was changed from @Mercating to @_Mercating_, the user immediately sent me a pretty strong message. I mean, wouldn’t you be mad after losing the chance of getting 500 USD? I would be.
If you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll be happy to reply to you.
By the way, don’t become the guy in this story. You can hire us or someone else to create a unique, bold, and robust name for your personal or business brand. It’s never too late. If you need support from us, you know how to contact us.
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Disclaimer: This post is for educational purposes only, and does not intend or represent any legal advice. We do not claim responsibility for any actions undertaken by or against users. This content is simply sharing information that is available publicly in the form of a publication.