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Apple tries to trademark the term 'startup'

Filings hint at educational services in Apple Stores

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Apple is attempting to gain a trademark on the word "startup", and may gain exclusive use of the word in Australia next week.

Apple has also applied for a trademark on "startup" in the USA, but the Australian application offers lots more detail.

The Australian page, hosted by the nation's overseer of patents and trademarks IP Australia, shares an April 2011 filing date with the US application.

It also offers plenty of hints about what Apple is planning, as the classes of enterprise Apple is trying to cover with the term include “Retail store services featuring computers, computer software, computer peripherals, mobile phones, and consumer electronic devices, and demonstration of products relating thereto”.

The application also mentions “consulting services in the field of maintenance of computer hardware, computer peripherals, and consumer electronic devices” along with “Educational services, namely, conducting classes, workshops, conferences and seminars in the field of computers, computer software, computer peripherals, mobile phones, and consumer electronic devices and computer-related services”.

The Australian filing also mentions “troubleshooting of computer hardware and software problems; installation, maintenance and updating of computer software; technological consultancy services in the field of computers … computer diagnostic services; computer data recovery”. The page also gives an "acceptance due" date of September 5th, 2013.

It doesn't look hard to join those dots: Apple seems to be considering using the “Startup” brand for services delivered through its retail stores. The chosen name suggests it may be marketed as a service for novice users, but the inclusion of data recovery and diagnostic services suggest the brand could be used to label all manner of things delivered through the Genius Bar.

There's little point asking Apple why it wants to own “startup”: it doesn't respond to requests on matters like this.

Actual startups, however, aren't happy about this. Australian site StartupSmart has labelled Apple an "intellectual property bully".

If that attitude becomes widespread it may be bad for MacBook sales, as venture capitalist Marc Andreessen told The Reg this week that the startups he works with always buy Macs.

Hat tip to TMwatch, which spotted the application first.

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