Apple files trademark for “distinctive” design of Apple retail stores

Thu, May 20, 2010

Legal, News

For a company as dedicated to protecting all facets of its IP as Apple, the following news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Apple recently filed a trademark application that would cover the “distinctive design and layout” of their line of retail stores.

The correspondent listed for is LISA G. WIDUP of APPLE INC., 1 INFINITE LOOP, MS 3TM, CUPERTINO, CA 95014. The trademark is filed in the category of Advertising, Business & Retail Services . The description provided to the USPTO for is Retail store services featuring computers, computer software, computer peripherals, mobile phones, consumer electronics and related accessories, and demonstration of products relating thereto.

Retail store services featuring computers, computer software, computer peripherals, mobile phones, consumer electronics and related accessories, and demonstration of products relating thereto

Mark Description: The mark consists of distinctive design and layout of a retail store.

Now while you might be scratching your head as to why and how Apple can trademark the appearance of a store, the look and feel of brick and mortar establishments are, in fact, subject to protection under Federal law. The pertinent area of IP law is called trade dress and is designed to prevent customer confusion.

Under trademark law, the total commercial image of a product is known by the term “trade dress.” Trade dress refers to the manner in which a product — or place of business — is “dressed up” to go to market.

It’s basically what keeps people from opening up restaurants that look like the inside of a McDonalds.

But Apple Stores have been around for a while, so we wonder if this trademark filing has anything to do with Microsoft’s recent entry into the retail business in October of last year. If you recall, Microsoft’s two retail stores look eerily similar to Apple’s. Peep these videos of the Microsoft Store grand opening in Scottsdale, Arizona to enter a Seinfeld-esque bizarro world.

Related: Steve Jobs shows off the original Apple Store

via SlashGear



4 Comments For This Post

  1. disgusted with microsoft Says:

    disgusting, microsoft just cant stop copying apple. its so gross that almost every piece of the windows OS, and now even their new stores, are a blatant copy off of apple. they’ve been doing this since 1984, it needs to stop. its just plain stupid.

  2. Nikolay Kolev Says:

    Not Microsoft, but Apple is disgusting by patenting the obvious. I’ve seen many non-technical stores being organized exactly the same way.

  3. Mac Gadget Gal Says:

    And how would this be any different from your typical grocery store? Would anyone have the NERVE to try to patent the ‘distinctive design and layout’ of fresh-flower kiosks, in-store deli/cafe’s, free food sampling stations, what have you of a grocery shopping ‘experience’?

    Ah, but we deserve patent laws like this: It’s what happens when we have a government that is subserviant the interests of big business and the Fortune 500 first and foremost.

  4. pinky Says:

    Who said anything about “patent law”?
    Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights are each distinct legal constructs for protecting rights of ownership for real and intellectual property.
    This is a Trademark, not a Patent, issue.

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