Apple, stop trying to steal our words. Or feel the wrath of Lord George R.R. Martin

So, just after tech terms like Bitcoin, hackerspace and BYOD were added to the dictionary for everyone to learn, use and enjoy spicing up sentences with, the story that Apple is trying to trademark the term ‘startup’ broke.

This seems utterly daft, what with Tech City having a few thousand such companies, and considering the term startup is so widely used in the UK, US, Europe and most other parts of the globe, where cities foster their own startup scenes.

It’s worth pointing out that we don’t know exactly what meaning of the term Apple is attempting to trademark – its own computer boot-up process is described as ‘Startup’ – but it seems bizarre to be able to copyright a word which a. already existed anyway and therefore is not your own creation and b. has not been adopted as a company title (as, say ‘Apple’ has – the company’s hardly going to sue me for saying how much I love apples, but it might rightly take offence if I begin my own digital music device firm and name it after the shiny red fruit).

Hopefully the trademark attempt will fail, as have two previous efforts in Australia and the US.

In the meantime, there is a rather amusing ebook story to humour ourselves with which arose on Tumblr and which I saw over on scifi publisher Tor’s website.

I’m not sure which eReader was being used, but in one person’s copy of George R.R. Martin’s Feast of Crows, the digital version had the name of the author and title of the book inserted into random places in the text, making for some excellent, serendipitous results as shown above (pic from Tumblr).

You feel Lord George R.R. Martin, whose well-written prose readers delight in, would deal swift justice to Apple if it succeeds in its trademark attempt and inadvertently restricts the use of the English language.

It had just better stay away from ‘sword’, ‘dragons’ and ‘chainmail’ if it knows what’s good for it.

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