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Apple attempting to trademark the term 'startup' for retail services

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Apple has filed an application in Australia to trademark the term "startup" when it relates to retail store services, computer maintenance, and a few other situations, and the move could have international implications.

Apple's Cupertino headquarters filed the application in Australia on Tuesday alongside the Sydney branch of law firm Baker & Mckenzie, according to TM Watch. The filing covers four classes of goods and services:

  • Class 35: Retail store services, including retail store services featuring computers, computer software, computer peripherals, mobile phones, and consumer electronic devices, and demonstration of products relating thereto
  • Class 37: Maintenance, installation and repair of computer hardware, computer peripherals and consumer electronic devices; consulting services in the field of maintenance of computer hardware, computer peripherals, and consumer electronic devices
  • Class 41: Educational services, including 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; providing information in the field of education
  • Class 42: Design and development of computer hardware and software; technical support services, namely, troubleshooting of computer hardware and software problems; installation, maintenance and updating of computer software; technological consultancy services in the field of computers, computer software and consumer electronics; computer diagnostic services; computer data recovery

As shown in the areas covered, Apple's filing would not constitute a blanket trademark over the term "startup." Startup businesses would still be able to use the term. Only in the areas described in Apple's filings would the iPhone maker be able to assert trademark, and those likely within a limited scope.

Observers note that Apple has previously filed for similar trademarks in the United States and in Australia. The initial Australian filing was never accepted, but in 2011, Apple received a preliminary trademark pending a consultation period. Numerous U.S. parties filed objections, though, and Apple has until September 20 to respond to those objections.

Wired added that having the trademark granted in Australia could have implications across much of the world. Australia is a signee of the Madrid system, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Under that system, trademarks assigned within one signee country are applicable across all other signee countries.