It had to happen. Just like all large companies in the past, Instagram has started to get tough with third-party developers that make use of its API to develop custom solutions.

An official Instagram client is one of the most requested apps on the Windows Phone platform. In the absence of one, however, several third party solutions have been developed, many of which use the name Instagram — or a slight variation of it.

Now Instagram has just updated its terms of use for any third party apps that access its public APIs, and the company will now start going after any app, service or product that uses using its trademark.

Word is that the company is directly emailing developers who it believes are in violation of these new rules in order to notify them to change the name of their app — within a reasonable period of time.

The company wrote in an email that:

“It has always been against our guidelines to use a name that sounds or looks like ‘Instagram’ or copies the look and feel of our application.

Similarly, as we have clarified in the new guidelines, use of ‘INSTA’ and ‘GRAM’ for an application that works with Instagram is harmful to the Instagram brand. It is important that you develop your own distinctive branding for your applications, and use Instagram’s trademarks only as specifically authorized under our policies.”

Expectedly, the new rules are pretty hard. Apps cannot use “Instagram”, “IG”, “Insta” or “Gram” in their name. And this restriction transcends mere words — the use of the Instagram name or logo, and the “Camera” logo, as their app’s icon is also prohibited.

These new guidelines are now official. The company obviously explained how and where it’s appropriate to use the Instagram brand, logo and camera icon before, but the guidelines now also contain a section detailing the use of fragments of its name.

Even though completely understandable, this will certain affect many Windows Phone (and Windows 8 developers), and they will have to change the names of their apps to comply with these new rules.

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  • Ray C

    If they’re going to do this, they need to quit BS and hurry up and get a Windows and Windows Phone app out there.