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Chanel is no stranger to throwing its weight (and trademarks) around: the French label famously filed, and won, a lawsuit against salon-owner Chanel Jones who named her business after herself. Now, the label seems to be engaged in a fight with the owner of the Instagram handle @Chanel, according to The Fashion Law.
20-year-old Vancouver resident Chanel Bonin has been running her personal account with the handle since 2011, however, it suddenly went dark last week. The Fashion Law notes that while it's possible that Chanel shoveled over some sum of money for the handle, it's likelier that the issue was handled by Instagram internally. Instagram works with brands in-house to deal with these types of intellectual property problems, and may have shut down Bonin's account after being reviewed by the platform's own lawyers. Up until now, Chanel, which didn't join Instagram until the summer of 2014, has been using the handle @chanelofficial.
Considering the fact that Chanel (the brand) has 100-plus copyrights involving its name, it's feasible that Instagram could consider that Bonin was unlawfully holding the handle. Especially, as TFL notes, since she often posted the brand's name and logo. TFL also reached out to Bonin several weeks ago for an interview but was denied. "Under the advice of my lawyer, I've been advised not to do this interview." she said. It's clear that Bonin has probably been involved in talks with Chanel with some time.
We also know from past cases, not just with Chanel, that people cannot use a name for business purposes simply because it is their given name. In the salon case, Chanel argued that there's "no absolute right to exploit one's given name commercially if such use is inconsistent with Chanel's rights."