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Apple Now Allowed to Trademark Apple Store Layout in Europe

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple is now allowed to register the layout of its retail stores as a trademark in Europe following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The EU's top court said Thursday that Apple's flagship stores fulfilled the three criteria for a trade mark: they constitute a sign; they can be represented in a graphic; and they can distinguish the goods or services sold by one company from those of another
The company was originally awarded a trademark for its store design in the U.S. last year, and has been actively trying to extend it to the rest of the world ever since. Prior to the ruling, Germany's patent office ruled that the particular layout of a shop cannot be qualified as a trademark, which Apple then challenged.

Currently, Apple has a total of 425 retail stores worldwide. 89 of those retail locations are spread out across Europe, and are found in countries including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

Article Link: Apple Now Allowed to Trademark Apple Store Layout in Europe
 

sofila

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,098
1,211
Ramtop Mountains
I'm stoned. Trademark rectangular stores with one glass entrance, wooden shelves and tables. And lights on the ceiling.
 
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coredev

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2012
206
328
"... architectural layout as a form of intellectual property can be owned and branded, no matter how simple or intuitive it may be."

I totally agree with this.
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,575
4,449
This is great news. Everyone knows Apple has created a unique shopping experience that delights all consumers, and nobody should be allowed to shamelessly copy it.
 
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Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
5,356
4,601
Bedfordshire, UK
Layouts like that have been going on for decades! Our desks at school were set out in the same format with lights above them and this was 20 years ago, ha!

If Apple get some kind of protection for this, then, well, what the hell is the world coming to?

----------

This is great news. Everyone knows Apple has created a unique shopping experience that delights all consumers, and nobody should be allowed to shamelessly copy it.

No one should be allowed to arrange benches in a store in a particular way?

Nonsense.
 
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FieldingMellish

Suspended
Jun 20, 2010
2,440
3,108
Such bull crap. We'll soon be confronted with an iPad bearing legalize to agree to when entering a store or taking pics in it.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,012
4,888
At first I was with the crowd that says this is insane, but as I thought about it more, it occured to me that I can draw out the layouts for a few different stores and recognize them from their layouts.

Draw Target's floor plan. Draw Walmart's. Draw Radio Shack's. Draw GameStop's. Draw Best Buy's. Draw Apple's. And so on.

They're each chains that follow the same general floor plan each time, and you can tell one from another just by looking at their floor plans.

Even the grocery store chains in my area each have different layouts. Trader Joes goes with those diagonal aisles... I can't think of other grocery store chains in the area that actually expand beyond 50 miles from here so they wouldn't make for very good comparisons on these forums as most of you wouldn't know what I was talking about...
 
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Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,643
2,632
Shropshire, UK
I think this is perfectly valid - Apple's stores are iconic and if someone blindfolded you and put you in one, you'd know as soon as the blindfold was removed that it was an apple store, even if there were nothing on display and no apple logos visible. IMO, this is perfectly acceptable as intellectual property.

Both O2 and PC World in the UK have tried to copy Apple's layout to a greater or lesser extent so I guess this will reign that in.
 
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mrbrown

macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2004
526
198
Ozark, Missouri
This is nothing new. Companies have been doing this for decades (Taco Cabana instantly comes to mind for me because they were the subject of a lawsuit regarding trade dress). Nothing to see here.
 
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mvmanolov

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2013
858
3
A comment for the editors :)

Just a small correction to this piece.. it is no longer (and hasn't beed for a couple of years now - since the Lisbon Treaty in December of 2009) called the "European Court of Justice"! (ECJ) the name changed to the "Court of Justice" or the "Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) referring to the combined multi-level judiciary (iow including the "Court of First Instance)... not that it matters much for this piece but only in the interest journalistic accuracy :)
 
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Beautyspin

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2012
75
2
There must be a Billion stores out there. Imagine all of them trademarking their layouts. Any new company that is opening a store will not be able to do that if it has to search and make sure it is not infringing on any of those prior layouts. Apple is really really in a very big RDF and it looks like it has a big sense of entitlement. It looks like it has not learnt anything even after the latent losses in the patent courts. It needs a kick in the pants by similarly loosing in the trademark case also..
 
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avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,936
3,838
Copying a successful store's layout does not mean the business that's copying will automatically be successful. Microsoft has shamelessly copied the Apple Store layout but you don't see people tripping over each other to get in the door at the Microsoft Store.

There are only so many ways to arrange tables and lights. If Apple changes its store design in 10 years, does that mean they have to re-apply for the trademark or are other stores prohibited from copying any new store layouts under the current trademark?
 
Comment

Mums

Suspended
Oct 4, 2011
667
559
If Apple get some kind of protection for this, then, well, what the hell is the world coming to?

I pretty much agree. Nobody should be able to trademark minimalism - that's part of the point of minimalism.
 
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Laird Knox

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2010
1,871
1,164
This is great news. Everyone knows Apple has created a unique shopping experience that delights all consumers, and nobody should be allowed to shamelessly copy it.

I would have to disagree with the highlighted part. When you go into a busy store to buy something there is no point of sale, no line. You have to corner a busy associate and hope that they aren't giving a half hour demo. Even just picking up something you paid for online and have been emailed that it is ready for delivery can be a painful experience.

The self pay has helped a lot but it is still a madhouse. This is with three stores along a five mile stretch of the same road.
 
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madsci954

macrumors 68030
Oct 14, 2011
2,685
558
Ohio
Copying a successful store's layout does not mean the business that's copying will automatically be successful. Microsoft has shamelessly copied the Apple Store layout but you don't see people tripping over each other to get in the door at the Microsoft Store.

Reminds me of when I visited Austin, TX a month or so ago, The Domain has both stores. Sunday mid afternoon, Apple Store is jam packed with people. Microsoft Store, I saw one family in there, and they were all playing the Lego Movie game in the back.
 
Comment

pedromcm.pm

macrumors 6502
Mar 23, 2014
483
0
Porto, Portugal
I'm stoned. Trademark rectangular stores with one glass entrance, wooden shelves and tables. And lights on the ceiling.

Go to Xiaomi's website. Watch the introduction of their flagship and the first videos. Are you going to say with a straight face that that wasn't copying? Everything? Aren't they trying to copy the Apple brand? The stores, their "genius" with red shirts, the whole video in itself, etc.?

That's why patents like these are needed. Not because Apple is greedy and needs protection, but because some companies are shameless and some costumers too easy influenced and ignorants.
 
Comment

byke

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2007
692
35
LDN. UK
Given that both Samsung and Microsoft have tried to emulate a similar look within both standalone stores and 3rd party electrical stores. It will be interesting to see how this rule of patent will be applied.
 
Comment

John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,149
655
Holocene Epoch
I would have to disagree with the highlighted part. When you go into a busy store to buy something there is no point of sale, no line. You have to corner a busy associate and hope that they aren't giving a half hour demo. Even just picking up something you paid for online and have been emailed that it is ready for delivery can be a painful experience..

The sales staff is a different person than the person doing training or troubleshooting. They even wear different colors. Just because the organization isn't immediately obvious to you (and you can certainly make the case that it's not obvious to the "average consumer") doesn't mean there isn't an organization in place. There is an associate with an iPad whose job is routing you to the right person as you walk in, though they are plenty easy to dodge if you don't care to be bothered.

And yes, as in any busy retail environment, you may have to wait.

Still, it's a problem most retailers would love to have.
 
Comment

Zellio

macrumors 65816
Feb 7, 2012
1,152
466
That picture looks like many small stores I've been into in malls since the 90's. Anyone who believes this is a good ruling is a moron/Apple fanatic.
 
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