Apple is Attempting to Trademark the Word “Startup”

Will someone save the world from the US legal system please?

Apple wants to trademark the word “startup,” and it’s already filed the applications in China, Australia, and the US. Technically it’s perfectly legal to file an application for this trademark. Trademarking isn’t the same as patenting or copyrighting, which means that there’s a little more leniency when it comes to letting people use the word. I mean, “Apple” was trademarked, as was “Galaxy.” Apple can’t sue me for going to the grocery store and picking up some apples, for instance. But it doesn’t mean we’re out of hot water.

Even though trademarking means you can only get in trouble for specific uses of the word, people have certainly gotten in trouble, such as when Facebook tried to sue a teachers’ network called Teachbook. And it’s not impossible. Apple has a reputation for being a corporate bully, having joined the ranks of the patent trolls, and pressuring music labels to pull artists’ music from Amazon’s Daily Deals distribution. Such examples lead me to believe Apple isn’t likely to play nice.

apple2The application seeks to use the trademark in relation to retail store services; the maintenance, installation and repair of computer hardware and other devices; educational services, including classes, workshops and seminars, and the design and development of computer hardware and software. So pretty much everything Apple does then. – Read more at Wired

There is nothing “startup”-like about a 37-year-old, multibillion dollar corporation. When a company like that uses a word like “startup,” if they can successfully maneuver it to become a household term, it effectively takes the meaning out of the word “startup” for actual startups and other small companies who use the word to accurately describe their business. It does more harm than good when you consider how startups and startup culture will change if the word stops being associated with small companies and starts being associated with Apple.


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