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Apple wants to patent glass design of Upper West Side NYC store

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Apple continues to seek patents for the designs of its one-of-a-kind flagship retail stores, with the latest application related to the curved glass roof of the Upper West Side location in New York City.

The details of the Upper West Side store are revealed in a new patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled "Support Structure and Building Including Same." In particular, the filing concentrates on the curved glass roof that Apple has constructed at the New York store.

The documents describe the support structure implemented at the store to support the massive glass structure that acts as both its front and its roof.

The support structure on the sides of the building not only helps support the glass entrance and roof, but it also gives the store its simple, elegant look by hiding utilities from view.

"In order to help maintain the glass look and feel of the building, building utilities can be routed through (the) support structure, hiding them from view and thereby preventing them from interrupting or interfering with the glass look and feel of the building," the filing reads. "To accomplish this, utilities can be routed within purlins."

Patent


The latest filing comes a week after the USPTO also revealed Apple's intentions to patent the design of the huge class cylinder that serves as the entrance to its megastore in Shanghai, China. The underground retail location has an elaborate, 12-meter-tall cylinder assembled from a number of curved glass panels.

Apple's Upper West Side store in New York City also features curved glass on its roof, along with a front entrance that is 54 feet tall, 75 feet wide and 30 feet deep, made primarily out of glass. It officially opened in November of 2009.

Patent 2


A long list of inventors is credited with the design of the Upper West Side store. They are Karl Backus, George Bradley, Tim Eliassen, Timothy W. Gudgel, Scott David Hazard, Holger Krueger, Marcin Marchewka, Michael Mulhern, Patrick O'Brien, James O'Callaghan, and Yutang Zhang.

For the last few years, Apple has focused primarily on building larger, more impressive stores that can accommodate the massive amount of foot traffic they attract. During the company's most recent quarterly earnings conference call, Apple officials revealed that Apple stores have an average of 18,000 visitors per store, per week, earning average quarterly revenue of $12.2 million per location.
post #2 of 12

I wasn't aware that architecture could be patented.  I'll have to look into it.

 

I'm glad that nobody patented the method of using steel beams as support for a building.  Had that happened, I'm not sure what cities would look like today.

post #3 of 12

That almost looks like the new one they just built in Houston.  Houston's had less glass protruding from the front but it had a glass back wall too unlike the NYC store

post #4 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

I wasn't aware that architecture could be patented.  I'll have to look into it.

 

I'm glad that nobody patented the method of using steel beams as support for a building.  Had that happened, I'm not sure what cities would look like today.

 

Supporting structural system can be patented if they use special systems. There are many patented structural systems all other the world. However, the system they are describing is not something new. The architects and structural engineers on that patent application might think they have invented something but they didn't. All they did was find someone to pay for this expensive design.

post #5 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

I wasn't aware that architecture could be patented.  I'll have to look into it.

 

I'm glad that nobody patented the method of using steel beams as support for a building.  Had that happened, I'm not sure what cities would look like today.

 

Agree.  The proper route for this would be a trademark registration to protect against copying the look, not a patent.  (Inter alia, I think they'd be hard-pressed to prove that attributes such as glass ceilings or hiding utilities in walls were "new and novel".)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

That almost looks like the new one they just built in Houston.  Houston's had less glass protruding from the front but it had a glass back wall too unlike the NYC store

 

Which points up another problem with design "patents" - every time you tweak the design, do you apply for a new patent?  If you do, then the implication is that someone else could tweak your initial, patented design and it wouldn't infringe the patent (because the tweaked design was sufficiently different to support a separate patent).  If not, then you immediately run the risk of getting the patent thrown out for being overbroad and/or ambiguous.  (Assuming the initial patent is granted at all, which I don't think it should.)

 

post #6 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"In order to help maintain the glass look and feel of the building, building utilities can be routed through (the) support structure, hiding them from view and thereby preventing them from interrupting or interfering with the glass look and feel of the building," the filing reads. "To accomplish this, utilities can be routed within purlins."

 

Pure genius. I would have never thought of routing utilities through a building's support structure when it's primarily made from glass panels, that's not obvious at all.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zith View Post

I wasn't aware that architecture could be patented.  I'll have to look into it.

From the summary, I have trouble understanding how they could patent running utilities in purlins of a roof structure-- it has been done for a long time.

Typically, architecture is just copyrightable, not patentable. Specific systems can be patented where they provide real innovation. I didn't think you can do a design patent on architecture.
post #8 of 12
Swiped it did they not?
post #9 of 12

i wouldn't be surprised if the google copycats already haven't started their own version which is an exact ripoff but with a different material...

and...like all things google...full with vapor!  lol.gif

post #10 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

I wasn't aware that architecture could be patented.  I'll have to look into it.

 

I'm glad that nobody patented the method of using steel beams as support for a building.  Had that happened, I'm not sure what cities would look like today.

 

Of course you can patent architecture. You can patent anything that describes a unique system or method to meet an end goal. The goal doesn't have to be unique, just the path taken to get there. I think that's why so many people get confused with the patent system and jump to moronic conclusions and analogies.

 

"Using steel beams" would not be patentable unless they were used in a unique way in constructing the building. As it went, they were used in the same manner beams made of other materials were used. Having said that... Inventing a new material and using it in place of traditional beams is patentable.

 

If Apple believes they've accomplished something unique,there's no reason why they shouldn't submit a patent application. If the USPTO finds that it is isn't unique enough, it'll get rejected.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #11 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

 

 

[snip]

 

If Apple believes they've accomplished something unique,there's no reason why they shouldn't submit a patent application. If the USPTO finds that it is isn't unique enough, it'll get rejected.

 

More likely, the USPTO will find that their application has been filled out correctly and accept it.

 

Then, someone else will build a glass building and "route uilding utilities through (the) support structure", because really, where else are they going to go in such a structure? Then Apple will go all nuclear on them. Then we'll be treated to a bunch of "prior art" from Kubrick movies that show glass buildings that presumably have utilities running through the support structure. Then some court in California will take a year to put together a trial, while more and more glass buildings are built that have utilities running through the support structure. Finally, a bunch of normal people who know nothing about a) the history of architecture and b) structural engineering will have to decide if running utilities through the support structure of a glass building is obvious or not.

 

Or something like that.

post #12 of 12

 

Quote:
"In order to help maintain the glass look and feel of the building, building utilities can be routed through (the) support structure, hiding them from view and thereby preventing them from interrupting or interfering with the glass look and feel of the building," the filing reads. "To accomplish this, utilities can be routed within purlins."

 

looks classy to me!

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