Apple has applied to trademark the term 'startup'.
The tech giant's application, submitted by its Cupertino headquarters and filed in Australia, seeks to trademark use of the word in relation to retail store services, maintenance, installation and repair of computer hardware, educational services and design and development of computer hardware.
The application was filed on August 27, and the company is well-practised in buying startups - it recently purchased mapping platform Embark.
The firm has lodged similar applications in the past - in Australia and the US in 2011, though neither has been accepted.
Apple has not announced its intentions regarding the word, though its official website describes its operating system boot-up process as 'Startup'.
Apple was awarded a US patent in December 2012 for its computer boot-up 'chime' sound.
Meanwhile StartupSmart, an Australian-based news vendor, called Apple an "intellectual property bully" on its website.
The post read: "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."
Apple has applied for a number of trademarks in Australia, including a successful one to trademark the leaf in its logo.