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.