Apple ‘startup’ claim unlikely to get off ground

Apple ‘startup’ claim unlikely to get off ground
SHARE
THIS



Apple will need to produce significant evidence of prior use to even come close to winning it’s trade mark application for the term ‘startup’, it has been claimed.

Apple’s application, lodged in Australia with the help of law firm Baker & McKenzie on Tuesday (27 August), will have to satisfy an examiner that it’s capable of distinguishing a range of Apple’s products and services.

“They’d want to have quite a bit of evidence up their sleeve because startup is such a common word, particularly in the technology space,” said Tim Hemingway, an IP and technology partner at Swaab Attorneys.

Apple is seeking to use the trade mark in relation to all retail store services, including computer hardware, software and other digital devices, as well as educational services like classes, workshops and seminars and computer diagnostics, often carried out through its in-store Genius Bar.

“Even if for the last three years the word startup has been plastered all over every Apple store in the country, and various uniforms and devices and the rest of it, well that’s one thing, but the public’s perception of that is another,” said Hemingway.

IP Australia’s trade mark examiner will consider the potential inconvenience caused should the trade mark application be successful; while it would not give Apple a total monopoly on the word startup, it would prevent others from using it to distinguish similar goods and services.

“The risk is getting into an argument about whether somebody’s use of the word startup is as a brand,” said Hemingway.

“It would be a tremendous waste of everyone’s time and resources if [people] had to sit back and think twice about whether to use the word startup in their marketing activities because it was Apple’s.”

Apple previously filed for trade marks over the word in the US and Australia in April 2011. The initial Australian filing was rejected, but Apple received a preliminary trade mark in the US, pending a consultation period. Numerous US parties filed objections and Apple reportedly has until mid September to respond to those objections. 

Parties can object on a number of criteria, including by showing ‘”concurrent or co-existent” use of the term startup.

“Even if Apple can show use and reputation in the term, equally, others may show they’ve used it for longer and in a similar way,” said Hemingway.

If Apple passes the examination phase in Australia, anyone can oppose the application within a two month period.

An IP bully?

Apple has not made its intentions clear, but it has been suggested the global corporation could be trying to use the phrase as a marketing tool to push out mobile operators and sell contracts to customers directly.

The official Apple website refers to its operating system turning on as Startup (with a capital letter) and late last year it was granted the US trade mark for its startup chime – the sound a Mac computer makes when switched on.

Apple has a reputation for trying to trade mark generic terms in an effort to marginalise competitors or extract licensing dollars from individuals and companies.

Last month it dropped its lawsuit against Amazon over the phrase ‘app store’ when success looked doubtful; earlier in August it lodged another trade mark application in Australia for the phrase ‘multi-touch’, covering various electronic devices.

“The branding is as important as the technology itself and products they sell,” said Hemingway.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Optus Offers Victorians Free Access To Optus Sport
  • Media

Optus Offers Victorians Free Access To Optus Sport

Locked down Victorians who don’t currently have an Optus Sport subscription will have complimentary access to Optus Sport from this weekend to enjoy the UEFA Champions League tournament plus access to premium health and fitness content through the Optus Sport app. UEFA Champions League – the world’s premier continental football tournament – kicks off at […]

Torrens University Australia Launches ‘Career Crush’ Via VCCP Sydney & Lash
  • Campaigns

Torrens University Australia Launches ‘Career Crush’ Via VCCP Sydney & Lash

Torrens University Australia has launched ‘Career Crush’ via VCCP Sydney and Lash, to help match students with a career they’ll love. Career Crush is an online quiz that determines prospective students’ personal strengths, passions and aspirations to match them with the careers and courses they’re most compatible with. One of the toughest decisions young people […]

Pedestrian Partners With With NZ’s Mi9 To Expand Commercial Offering
  • Media

Pedestrian Partners With With NZ’s Mi9 To Expand Commercial Offering

Pedestrian Group has partnered with Nine subsidiary Mi9 New Zealand to offer NZ brands the opportunity to partner with the likes of Business Insider Australia, Pedestrian.tv and Gizmodo Australia. Next month, Mi9 New Zealand will be representing Pedestrian Group in the NZ market, offering clients the opportunity to work with leading youth publications including Lifehacker […]

VCNI To Launch SVOD Service Featuring ViacomCBS Content, Replaces 10 All Access
  • Media

VCNI To Launch SVOD Service Featuring ViacomCBS Content, Replaces 10 All Access

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), a division of ViacomCBS, is launching a premium streaming service internationally, appealing to audiences of all ages. The new SVOD service will start its international roll-out early in 2021, offering exclusive premieres of all new SHOWTIME series, including Halo and American Rust. CBS All Access originals will also premiere exclusively on the new service, such […]

Optus ‘Yes’ Brand Mark Taken Into New Territory By FutureDeluxe
  • Media

Optus ‘Yes’ Brand Mark Taken Into New Territory By FutureDeluxe

As part of a larger project to refine their brand with partner branding agency Re, Optus have engaged experimental creative studio FutureDeluxe to explore how the iconic ‘Yes’ brand mark behaves in a sophisticated 3D environment. FutureDeluxe have produced a series of 8x idents and a number of static key visuals which will be used […]

Emotive Partners With YouTube And The United Nations
  • Media

Emotive Partners With YouTube And The United Nations

Creative agency, Emotive, and Good Oil Films, is partnering with YouTube and the United Nations to raise awareness around the importance of quality education, which forms part of the UN’s Global Goals for sustainable development.