back to article Apple tries to trademark the term 'startup'

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 …


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  1. asdf

    here it comes

    Cue the Euros blasting 300 million+ Americans because of the actions of a few douchebag %1ers for a company that pays as much tax in Ireland as in the US.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: here it comes

      There are rumors that US companies are currently using IP weapons of mass destruction!


      1. asdf

        Re: here it comes

        Trust me there will be British and probably French cruise missiles landing in Syria as well. Those countries aren't going to let the American defense industry have all the fun.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Startup is a world colloquialism used in conjunction with new business?


      'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.'

      Are they the New Big Brother?

  2. chipxtreme

    Why don't they just trademark every letter in the alphabet and sue everyone for writing.

    1. cyke1

      well Apple already started with the letter "i" in front of anyname.

      1. Ben 54

        Yes, it seems they got confused with the fact that Apple starts with an "A", not "i".

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        well Apple already started with the letter "i" in front of anyname.

        Well, at least there is prior art there...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are bloody kidding right? What next, filing on the word THE?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are bloody kidding right? What next, filing on the word THE?

      That's what I thought, in which case the group "The the" is clearly double dipping :). I'm not too hot on trademark law, but as far as I know a generic term cannot be trademarked. The variable aka fly in the ointment is that it may be possible to trademark a logo with the name, and so create a backdoor by which to grab the name anyway, but I wish Apple luck if they want to enforce that. It will only take a couple of court cases before the scale of the problem becomes apparent.

      Anyone more up to date in trademark laws? It strikes me as weird.

      As a not entirely unrelated side note, it also *seriously* pisses me off that Apple is again messing around with legal stupidity instead of doing something interesting. Did innovation get buried alongside Jobs?

      1. Chris Parsons

        @AC 07:18 GMT

        How odd that some numbskull downvoted you.

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: @AC 07:18 GMT & Chris Parsons

          "Hell hath no fury like a fanboi scorned"

      2. tslate

        For the trademark it is not all things but specific to their industry, although each country would have limits on how many things even within the industry it applies too. "Windows" is a case in point, try using that common generic term inside the computer industry for branding. But you can use "windows" for anything else, such as a purveyor of windows could use the name windows in their brand without violating the MS trademark. So "startup" would never apply to the casual use of "startup" but specifically to product branding and only specifically for those areas of the computer industry it was approved. Other than that, branding "startup" is lame besides would they actually service other computers, sounds a bit desperate to me.

        1. M Gale

          Didn't Microsoft end up paying a nice dollop of money to make the whole "Lindows" thing go away?

          Now calling your product "Microsoft Windows" would probably be asking for it. However, an innovative new social networking mumbo-jumbo-buzzword something-or-other called "Windows on the World" or similar.. that might just work.

  4. Vociferous

    The most litigious company in the business...

    ...grabs a few more generic things to sue over.

    Patent & Copyright legislation is utterly broken.

  5. Cliff


    This surely has to be bollocks? Someone somewhere has got the wrong end of a stick and this isn't really a balls out land grab to control a whole perfectly good English word?

    I have some very choice Anglo Saxon words for you if you would like one dedicating all for yourselves.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: misreporting?

      Being a trademark, you *can* use a generic word in a commercial context, more precisely in the commercial context listed in the application. There is still a difference between the "TM" and the "(R)", the latter must be a non-generic name (or something), while the former allows you to grunt in the direction of competitors but may not necessarily preclude them from using the same term.

      Better ask Groklaw.... oh wait.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: misreporting?

        Don't forget the oft ignored SM (Service Mark), which applies to the name of a service, not a product.

        It is very popular with banks where it is used to describe what they call products, but which are really services. "Quick Check" online bill payment is an example.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: misreporting?

        @Destroy all monsters....

        Go the the back of the line.

        When talking about the Clickbait (TM) Three(TM) i.e. Apple, Microsoft, Google, it is, under Artcile one, Subsection b2 of the Reg Forum's that, and I quote "It is against the spirit of the forum to point out facts that can be proven by a legitimate source, unless said source is another forum, Yahoo answers or social media, in which case these can be accepted as truths, even if clearly written by an obsessive 12 year old"

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: misreporting?

      >to control a whole perfectly good English word?

      What about "Apple" ?

      1. M Gale

        Re: misreporting?

        What about "Apple" ?

        Would that be the Apple Corps trademark owned by the Beatles, or Apple Inc (previously Apple Computer), owned by the eponymous fruity device purveyor?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: misreporting?

      The difference between a trademark and a word is often capitalisation.

      You can talk about having your windows replaced, but if you say you're having Windows replaced then it refers to the trademark.

      So Apple is just looking for a trademark called Startup.

      1. Chris Parsons

        Re: misreporting?

        How does that work in German?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple going off?

    Intellectual property fights always struck me as the last refuge of the incompetent. Is Apple so afraid of losing it that they have to trademark common-use verbs and nouns to get an edge.

    Next we'll see patents for "The Hand" as in its use to hold a phone!

    Let's get back on the PRODUCT innovation track.

    I hope the Aussies give them a right bollocking and ask for back taxes instead. Perhaps the only value of creating a trademark in this situation is that it establishes that you are doing business in the country where you applied for taxes are due!

    1. SisterClamp

      Re: Apple going off?

      Just to bring Syria and Apple together, the Australians have proven themselves, over and over, to be a bunch of whores. Don't expect much.....

      Obligatory link: ("Australia backs action against Syria, with or without U.N. approval") Democracy, eh? Wunnerful stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple going off?

        "Democracy, eh?"

        Democracy is a fallacy! It don't exist. It can never exist, and can never work.

        The majority of humans are not intelligent enough to workit out.

      2. hungee
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Apple going off?

        As an Aussie can i first say,

        We prefer the term "Gigalo" or "Call Girl"

        as to your spurious claims about our democratic process..?

        If all you have is the option of turd 1 or turd 2, voting is a little less effective.

        2ndly, we are poor working girls/boys surrounded by large nations and sitting on the resource treasure chest of Asia...

        So excuse us if we have to pay for protection by "standing with our allies" (while not promising any actual military support)

        secondly, In australia we ended up throwing out apple's case v samsung whereas other "noted" democratic strongholds (haha) such as the U.S. upheld such ridiculousness.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Apple going off?

      It has nothing to do with competence, or lack thereof, it has 100% to do with being a dick.

      Some people believe that if a law exists it is not only their right, but their duty, to use it/exploit it: After all what's the point in having all these laws if you don't use them to your benefit.

      Personally, I don't buy into that philosophy. That shitty anti-social attitude is directly responsible for laws that get made to fix one problem and cause 17 new problems. As with so many things in life, a few cock goblins ruin it for everybody else.

  7. dougal83


    Don't they hold the patent for using oxygen in a process to release energy? I'm pretty sure the filing includes the by product of CO2 being expelled. There must be someone in the Apple legal team getting off by how much ludicrous crap he get patented. He's the dog's bollocks at what he does!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Google trademarked a well known word too, Android.

      Microsoft has Windows.

      What's the problem?

      1. Bachupan

        Re: Hmm

        Next one could be AC, so all air conditioners and cowards watch out.....

  8. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Are you sure...

    that wasn't 'upstart'?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, according to Google

    there are 88,100,000 hits for this new Apple word "startup", one of which was this Wikipedia entry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, according to Google

      Microsoft has Windows, what's wrong with Startup?

      You can still use the word windows and startup either way, just not use it for a brand name.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to annouce that I am patenting electricity

    Lets see Apple do business without MY IP!!!! Muuuuuaaaaaahhhhhhhhaaaaaaaa!!!!!

    1. Ben 54

      Re: I'd like to annouce that I am patenting electricity

      I'm patenting the use of metal in any form, and I will trademark the word "Smartphone". With these idiot drones approving all these stupid requests, I think I stand a good chance. Even the "Toilet Snorkel" (Look it up) is more innovative than Apples (or any other trolls) claims.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: I'd like to annouce that I am patenting electricity

        Hahahahahaha, suckers. Good luck with all that with my trademarks covering intellectual property or all types, namely "trademark", "patent" and "copyright". My end run will be complete once my trademark for "intellectual property" comes through.

        Who to sue first? Might as well go in alphabetical order and start with "A".

        1. MrT

          "Trademark", "patent", "copyright" and "intellectual property"

          ...sounds like a great renaming of the stations in a new version of Monopoly. What else? Go straight to court? Freemium parking?

          1. Eddy Ito

            Re: "Trademark", "patent", "copyright" and "intellectual property"

            Positively brilliant! It only seems fitting that "Boardwalk" and "Park Place" be replaced by "USPTO" and "USITC".

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: I'd like to annouce that I am patenting electricity

        Oddly enough, registering your toilet snorkel brand as "Smartphone brand toilet snorkels" is a perfectly legitimate (mis)use of trademark within the toilet or toilet snorkeling markets and applications.

        Trademarks are use case specific. The final decision will be made by an actual Human, who may or may not grant that specific use of a term depending on how stupid or or oblivious they are.

        Its all gotten rather silly.

        1. Simon Harris

          Re: I'd like to annouce that I am patenting electricity

          I submitted an application to trademark TM...

          ... but the trademark office got stuck in a recursive loop and disappeared in a puff of stack overflows.

  11. IAmTheMillipede

    How innovative! Apple has done it again!

    The experience of their new word is seamless and fluid. The perfect balance between two root words allows focus on what really matters. This is the market dominating word that we all are about to find we cannot live without.

    Haters will always hate, but clearly Apple's new word has set the gold standard yet again.

  12. MigMig

    Not surprised

    After all, they already seemed to have patented several highly effective forms of brainwashing.

  13. Frankee Llonnygog

    In older news

    Apple registered the generic word, 'Apple', Microsoft registered 'Windows', Hewlett Packard nabbed 'Pavilion', Oracle registered 'Oracle', ....

    But carry on frothing at the mouth anyway.

  14. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    I'm going to patent 'The use of a generic word, phrase, or name for.the purpose of product or service naming or identification or branding, including the use of one or more words abbreviated, reduced, reversed, or converted into an anagram such as it/they may be joined together, preceeded by, or folllowed by, with or without any form of punctuation mark..

    just going to file that and get the lawyers on the phone.

    I'm also going to patent 'The use of fruit to name a company, product, or service.'

  15. d3rrial

    Die Partei

    In germany there's a (satirical) political party. One of their goals is to further complicate the german tax laws in such a way, that it becomes impossible for even the most gifted Lawyers to figure out loopholes.

    Maybe this should be applied to patent / trademark law worldwide ;)

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Die Partei

      They should do a work exchange with people from the US. Our tax code is so complex that entire departments within the IRS can't reach a consensus on what their portion of the tax code means. They just default to pay more of you're middle class, pay less if you're rich and let the poor sort it out.

  16. John Lodge

    Damn! All the startup domains are taken ...

  17. Stuart 14


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

    I can't remember when Apple were on talking terms with the Reg

  18. Mint Sauce

    "Move up one channel"

    That is all.

  19. Fab De Marco

    Terms of the trademark

    Yes, Apple and Windows are trademarks. But they are company names and not trademarked based on Fruit or those sheets of glass that allow light to enter your room.

    Startup, however is being trademarked under many sweeping computer based terms, and the problem with this is that startup is already a term in the computer world. You'll notice a startup folder in your windows start menu. If you open a run prompt in windows and type MSconfig you can control what starts up when you boot windows using the startup tab.

  20. bordersboy

    If we are into the banality of US business employing more lawyers than engineers look no further tham MacDonalds. Its TM, there is a small issue in Scotland where there are thousands of MacDonalds with lineage longer than a burger recipe who cannot legally call their busines after their longstanding family name for fear of being prosecuted for 'passing themselves off' as being associated with a burger chain. The thin end of the wedge has just been inserted

    1. tslate

      You're comparing coporate names to product names. Apple if awarded the TM on startup could not sue for the use of the name and win against a non-computer branded product for which their TM will probably only cover specific computer usage. Windows is a case in point, there are plenty of companies that use Windows in their branded product name and cannot be sued for it. Using MacDonalds is no different than say "Wendy's", a well known burger chain. It's like pizza, there must be 1000 variations of business names with pizza in them, there's nothing stopping someone from naming their company MacDonald's Tires. TM's usually only exist within a specific industry. McDonalds has only litigated within their specific industry that I can tell.

  21. Craigness

    Give them it

    "Startup" to me suggests a guy with an app, no revenue and no plan. If you start a business, call it business; if you have an app just say so. If all you're interested in is "starting" and you don't know where to go there are other words you can use.

    I'm happy for Apple to block this word.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let the iPhone startup

    Obvious really.

    The iPhone has been in startup mode for ages.

    What with the screwed up beta mapping and the beta Siri.

    'It just pretends'.

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Startup"? For a store name?

    "Startup"? To me this strictly means, you know, starting up my computer (or of course a tech startup which is an actually new company). Talking about it in the context of a store name to me sounds like the same kind of nonsense as people saying they made their computer "bigger" if they added some RAM or HD space to it.

  24. Infernoz Bronze badge

    This IP nonsense is brain dead; Apple is cored!

    Some people say that corporations like Apple, innovate; nonsense, only genuine living beings can innovate, not these slave brands. Apple is not just a facade for bullies, but a facade for slavers of ideas, language, and people. Apple does nothing, it is a facade, a fiction; only living beings, physical things, and energy do stuff.

    Only physical stuff, and stored energy, can honestly be owned, although slavery was supposed to have been abolished (was it really?); claims on ideas and language (including DNA) is toxic sophistry, so should be laughed at, not backed by legal thugs!

    Attempts to increasingly centralise control of resources and people concentrates risk, and amplifies exponentially the size and probability of "Black Swan" catastrophic failures; stop it, or we eventually get Depressions and wars; 2007/2008 was just a tremor, worse to come!

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