Instagram is launching a new mobile messaging app named Bolt. The problem is, another developer already has the rights to the name – and their app is very much like Instagram’s.
In his blog, Bolt founder Andrew Benton asks Instagram to change the name of their new app or face a legal battle.
“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,” Benton notes on the company blog. “We’ve worked really hard since then building the Bolt band and technology to where it is today. Please don’t destroy all that effort.”
Instagram – whose parent company is Facebook – is launching Bolt this week amidst a slew of other possible releases. Benton worries that having two “Bolts” in the market will create confusion, especially because both apps primarily revolve around mobile communications. Even their logos bear a striking resemblance to each other.
The two apps aren’t identical copies of each other, however, as Benton’s Bolt focuses on voice communications, while Instagram’s is essentially concerned with photo-messaging.
Benton’s long-term goal was for Bolt to move into messaging – a plan which might end up getting derailed thanks to Facebook and Instagram.
“I doubt that Instagram’s Bolt will try to move towards becoming a replacement for carrier voice and SMS, but by launching a photo messaging app they would effectively preclude us from continuing to develop our service into messaging, which we are currently working on and plan to launch this fall,” Benton states. “This has been our plan all along, and has been a major part of every investor pitch we’ve made.”