Reelz claims Instagram’s new Reels video app is trademark infringement

Instagram trademark disputes

This week the ReelzChannel filed suit against Instagram and its parent company Facebook. The case was brought in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota by the Reelz parent company, Hubbard Broadcasting. 

The ReelzChannel, commonly known as Reelz, claims that Instagram is guilty of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. They seek an injunction stopping Instagram from using their new Reels feature. Damages are to be determined.

Reelz claims that the feature’s name, Reels, infringes on its 14-year-old trademark. The suit also claims that Reels is likely to confuse consumers who might mistakenly associate Instagram’s new feature with the Reelz brand.

“Unless stopped, Facebook’s and Instagram’s pervasive use of ‘Reels’ will completely swamp the distinctive brand identity that Plaintiffs have built up for their own, pre-existing REELZ media services,” the complaint states.

Reelz launched in 2006 and has 50 million U.S. satellite and cable channel viewers. Its content reaches millions more through distribution platforms, including streaming, on-demand, and over-the-top (OTP) services on all kinds of devices.