Apple is awarded a trademark for their retail store design

By on January 30, 2013, 5:00 PM

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple a registration certificate for a patent that was filed more than two years ago with regards to the design of their retail stores. The trademark reportedly covers the design and layout of the store which includes details like recessed lighting and the large glass panel storefront.

Other features like cantilevered shelves below recessed display spaces on the side walls, Apple’s familiar rectangular tables arranged in a line in the middle of the store and even multi-tiered shelving are also mentioned in the trademark.

Apple has been working to get the store design trademarked since May 2010. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has twice rejected their application, saying the store design wasn’t inherently distinctive. Cupertino was persistent, however, and submitted additional material and drawings for consideration which apparently was enough to sway the office to approve the application.

As Wired points out, Apple isn’t the first technology company to receive a trademark covering the design of a retail store. Microsoft was granted a similar trademark back in 2011 for their retail stores which some would describe as somewhat similar to Apple’s.

The real goal here, however, is likely to defend against outright copycats like the bogus Apple stores that have surfaced in China over the past couple of years.

The trademark listing in its entirety can be seen at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website for those wanting a more detailed look into what Apple now has the rights to.

User Comments: 23

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2 people like this | hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Does this mean they are locked into this exact design for years to come? If so, what a waste. Trademarks make sense for logos and slogans, but the interior design? Narcissistic much?

misor misor said:

@hahahanoobs, but interior designers would rise if their designs are copied without permits

(engineering and architectural designs are copyrighted.)

while I hate apple as much as I love microsoft, I'm with apple in this one.

1 person liked this | OneSpeed said:

Just goes to prove that if you are persistent with the USPTO, you'll get a patent.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LOL...pretty absurd. A long narrow store with tables set at certain intervals and viola! It's a patent.

Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

Lol, this is a bit much. However, I wonder what this means for the all digital library that was supposed to copy the apple store interior designs.


Rasta211 said:

Next, they are going to patent the way customers enter and leave the store.

PinothyJ said:

Except this is going to do crap all against bogus stores in China because this is a US Patent not some kind of magic worldwide patent.


RzmmDX said:

What happens if the bogus stores switch to round tables?

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Why am I not surprised? Now they probably think they can sue anybody with a store.

fimbles fimbles said:

Looks like my local library, Class action here we come!

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Because we all know China will bend over backwards to comply with US patent laws! -_-

Lurker101 said:

Hang on. They've been able to patent 'large glass panel storefronts'? This basically means they'll be able to sue just about every store within a shopping centre or mall.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

That's exactly what I said.

MilwaukeeMike said:

They're trying to prevent stores in China from copying them? You'd think they'd care more about them selling phones as iPhones that aren't instead of arranging the store a certain way. The knock off stores could arrange things anyway they want. I'll bet your average Chinese customer isn't familiar with the layout of an Apple store in California.

1 person liked this | killeriii said:

"The real goal here, however, is likely to defend against outright copycats like the bogus Apple stores that have surfaced in China over the past couple of years."

Since when have Chinese entrepreneurs cared about U.S. patents and trademarks?

wiyosaya said:

Personally, I think this is stupid, and just another sign of crApple's narcissism as hahahanoobs said. Instead of further innovation, IMHO, they are focused far too much on their "IP."

However, this is not a patent. This is a trademark. While it would apply if say, M$ were to try to open a computer store with the same interior design, it will not apply if say, Bed Bath, and Beyond were to use the same interior design in their stores. No one will confuse a BB&B with a crApple store and crApple will have nothing to stand on in such cases. Still, I think it will be extremely amusing to see crApple attempt to file trademark infringement suits using this as ammo against companies that are not in the same industry; IMHO, they would likely get laughed out of court.

T77 T77 said:

They were granted a patent which included " multi-tiered shelving"!?

lol, don't tell me that my neighbourhood store can't use "multi-tiered shelving" without being sued by apple!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

And to think, I was going to pinch the Apple store's basic design for use in a middle eastern restaurant! Then, Apple slams the crapper door in my face....:eek:

I would have worked too, save for the fact there wasn't enough unobstructed aisle space for customers to make their mad dash for the toilet.

Oh well, It's probably for the better. I wouldn't be caught dead in either an Apple store, or anywhere near middle eastern cuisine.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Apple is so paranoid about everything you really can't blame them I wonder if they know their phones are the most popular items of contraband in U.S. prisons so it makes me wonder when they'll open an iStore in Leavenworth, Pelican Bay etc. There certainly won't be a shortage of potential customers.

Tygerstrike said:

I can only guess at what Apples true motivation for this action is. My guess is that Apple is worried that a competitor will open a store that "kinda" looks like a Apple store and they want leverage to be able to sue. Anything else would simply be Apple being Apple. Apple is turning into that crazy relative that no one talks about in public. And when that relative does something crazy everyone in the family just shakes their heads and wonders when the crazy will stop.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, Apple did get jacked up pretty badly trying to have the "app store", designated as proprietary.....:oops:

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Maybe they patented their store so that they can sue all the grocers of the world for selling one of natures products that bear their patented name. I guess we'll have to think up a new name for real apples.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Maybe they patented their store so that they can sue all the grocers of the world for selling one of natures products that bear their patented name. I guess we'll have to think up a new name for real apples.
Nah, the world's grocers will just have to tack on, "unbitten apples" in all their advertising. Because other than that, there's no way to distinguish an apple from an iPad.

Well for me, maybe there is. Apples, (the fruit), seem to bother my hemorrhoids. No wait, an iPad probably would too.....:eek:

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