Apple tries to trademark “start-up” in Australia: Time to stand up to patent trolls and intellectual property bullies

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

There are some things in life your humble correspondent just can’t stand.

For example, Old Taskmaster really can’t stand it when someone gets on the radio during the gardening hour and starts talking about politics.

Sure, it’s easy to understand how someone could confuse a politician with a noxious weed.

Still, that’s no excuse to interrupt Old Taskmaster in the middle of pruning the rhododendrons on Sunday morning.

Then there’s red tape, taxes and the bureaucracy of big organisations. All topics to make one’s blood boil.

But that’s nothing compared to an intellectual property bully.

For example, a big business that takes an ordinary, everyday term and tries to trademark it.

A prime example of the latter came up earlier today, when Apple tried to trademark the term “startup”.

Yes, you read that correctly. Apple, the computer company co-founded by Steve Jobs, has filed for a trademark application for the term “startup” in Australia. The full story is here.

Can you stand it?

Big businesses love to play intellectual property games because they can afford fleets of lawyers to fight protracted legal battles. Even if you’re in the right, a long legal battle can be an expensive proposition.

The business lesson here is simple. It’s critical to check whether anyone has registered any terms your business uses. Even something as simple and commonplace as the term “startup”. You never know who might have filed for a trademark.

Get it done – today!