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.

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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.

Top Rated Comments

Steve121178 Avatar
131 months ago
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?

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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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xenc Avatar
131 months ago
After the patent wars there was the furniture war...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mvmanolov Avatar
131 months ago
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 :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
131 months ago
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...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Laird Knox Avatar
131 months ago
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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mums Avatar
131 months ago
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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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