You may have heard that the Facebook-owned Instagram is possibly launching a Snapchat competitor – a one-tap photo messaging app likely called Bolt. I know there’s a lot of doubt built into that sentence, and that’s because the evidence for said launch has been sparse at best.
Even so, outlets are reporting that Instagram Bolt is a real thing and likely to launch soon. Despite the obvious questions like Why? and Can Facebook actually create a standalone app that people want to use?, the company is now facing another issue. A legal one.
Turns out, there’s already an app called Bolt – and it’s a messaging app. And in an elegant and incredibly level-headed blog post, Bolt CEO Andrew Benton kindly asks Instagram (Facebook) to reconsider its choice of name.
“We know it’s a great name, because we chose it last year when we set out to build a better mobile voice and messaging experience,” he writes. “We’ve worked really hard since then building the Bolt brand and technology to where it is today. Please don’t destroy all that effort.”
Benton then takes a “don’t make us sue you” stance, a we really don’t want to go through this, so please just don’t argument:
It wasn’t too long ago that you were the little guy. I know you haven’t forgotten how hard it is to build something from nothing. And not just technology, but a brand and distinct identity for yourself. Imagine how it would have felt if Google or Apple or Facebook had launched a photo-sharing app called Instagram in 2011.
We’ve been using the Bolt name in the mobile messaging market for a year, and technically we have to “police our mark”, otherwise we risk losing it.
We don’t want a legal battle over this, and we think it’s not too late for you to consider an alternate name before launch. I have a whole list of names we brainstormed last May that I’d be happy to share.
Please do the right thing, and choose an alternate name.
Benton claims that Bolt users are already confused, and some have asked if the company is being acquired.
According to TechCrunch, ‘Bolt’s trademark application is currently pending.
Image via Bolt