Apple seeks to trademark ‘startup’ globally for computer retail service


Apple is seeking to trademark the term ‘startup’ as it relates to computer retailing, support and education. Although filed in Australia, the application reportedly could have global impact. The move comes as Apple preps its September launch of a new iPhone 5S and 5C, accompanied by the addition of a new iPhone trade-in program at its retail locations. But is there any concern that Apple’s application is too broad?

The trademark application filed by Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters appears limited to four classes, including retail store services, maintenance, installation and repair of computers and devices, educational services, as well as design and development of hardware and software.

“Apple’s filing would not constitute a blanket trademark over the term ‘startup'”, notes AppleInsider. “Startup businesses would still be able to use the term.”

Indeed, Apple apparently trademarked the ‘startup’ term back in 2011 in the United States and is using it in reference to the area in Apple Stores where Personal Setup is conducted, which is the process of setting up Macs in-store, notes Mark Gurman.

Indeed, in 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave Apple a preliminary trademark which prompted a number of challenges. Apple has until September 30 to answer the objections. A similar trademark request by Apple was made earlier in Australia, but rejected.

An interesting wrinkle to this application is its international implications.

Apple event 201203 (iPad 3 introduction, Apple Store video, boy and girl interacting with iPhone 001)

Although initially, it would seem odd to file for a trademark in Australia, rather than the U.S., there are apparent advantages to the strategy. Not only does the application somewhat fly under the radar, but Australia is a backdoor to gaining international trademark acceptance.

That’s because the country is a member of the Madrid system overseen by the World Intellectual Property Organization. A trademark granted in one member nation is recognized by all countries that are a part of the WIPO system.

Apple applied for a related trademark when the company registered its design of retail stores. That followed a spate of knock-off Apple stores which popped up in China. It recently also dropped its bid to prevent Amazon from using the ‘App Store’ term.

However, this latest trademark appears to prepare its retail efforts ahead of the September launch of the rumored high-end iPhone 5S and the mid-tier plastic iPhone 5C and the August 30 unveiling of the iPhone a trade-in service.