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Apple Store design and layout can be trademarked in Europe, court rules

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
The European Union's top court ruled Thursday that Apple's distinctive retail store layout is worthy of trademark protection under European law, allowing the company to enjoy the same legal cover on the old continent that it secured in the U.S. last year.

Apple Store TM
Source: USPTO


"From this the Court concludes that the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," the European Court of Justice wrote in its decision. The court's directive was first noted by the Wall Street Journal.

Apple submitted its store design for protection to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010, and the application was approved in January of 2013. Soon after, the company applied to extend that trademark to Europe and was rebuffed by the German patent office, which argued that such a trademark would not be valid under EU law.

German courts escalated a review of the law to the ECJ, which has the final say on interpretations of EU law.

Apple often cites is expansive retail empire as a major competitive advantage, and rivals -- including heavyweights like Microsoft -- have attempted to mimic the stores' design and layout, generally without success. Thursday's ruling comes as the iPhone maker is in the midst of a major expansion under new retail chief Angela Ahrendts, including what appears to be a new flagship store in a nearly 250-year-old building in the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh.
post #2 of 24
A win is a win. Good on Apple in this case.

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post #3 of 24
That's a funny feeling. With my partners at the time, I opened an Apple Center (a similar concept to the Apple Store which Apple furnished with Bang Olufsen furniture and grey and white striped carpets) in Edinburgh in an equally old building except ours was on the Royal Mile. This was in the mid 1980s. We had a dedicated showroom area, training room and repair facility, we even had a image setter room for out-putting film from PageMaker and Illustrator etc.. It had an Italian style coffee bar upstairs over looking the Royal Mile where clients could sip coffee and chat with my sales staff. Here is one of the few photographs I still have, this inside the show room showing the furniture.

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post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

That's a funny feeling. With my partners at the time, I opened an Apple Center (a similar concept to the Apple Store which Apple furnished with Bang Olufsen furniture and grey and white striped carpets) in Edinburgh in an equally old building except ours was on the Royal Mile. This was in the mid 1980s. We had a dedicated showroom area, training room and repair facility, we even had a image setter room for out-putting film from PageMaker and Illustrator etc.. It had an Italian style coffee bar upstairs over looking the Royal Mile where clients could sip coffee and chat with my sales staff. Here is one of the few photographs I still have, this inside the show room showing the furniture.

Sometimes I forget how much history and experience this forum has :)  Cool to see this type of stuff. Looks like a IIci or cx and the lovable Mac Luggable.

post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

Sometimes I forget how much history and experience this forum has 1smile.gif  Cool to see this type of stuff. Looks like a IIci or cx and the lovable Mac Luggable.

And I still look exactly the same too .. 1rolleyes.gif

It's a cx I think ... I'll blow up there image and look ... I wish I'd realized what a part of history all that was back then and taken more pictures. Heck before this place I had a another in England with 5 branches around the country selling Apple ][s, ///s and Lisa ... then Mac of course. I have only hand full of pictures from over 36 years of being totally involved with Apple. That really annoys the heck out of me now! That said my play room here in Florida is stacked with many Macs from over the years but sadly my Apple ][e, disk drives and monitor (all pristine in boxes) vanished from my dad's basement in Grange over Sands, Cumbria just after he died a few years back.
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post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


And I still look exactly the same too .. 1rolleyes.gif

It's a cx I think ... I'll blow up there image and look ... I wish I'd realized what a part of history all that was back then and taken more pictures. Heck before this place I had a another in England with 5 branches around the country selling Apple ][s, ///s and Lisa ... then Mac of course. I have only hand full of pictures from over 36 years of being totally involved with Apple. That really annoys the heck out of me now! That said my play room here in Florida is stacked with many Macs from over the years but sadly my Apple ][e, disk drives and monitor (all pristine in boxes) vanished from my dad's basement in Grange over Sands, Cumbria just after he died a few years back.

I was wondering if that was you or not :)  Certainly now with digital photography, we tend to have many more pictures of things. Back then with film, people tended to be much more selective.

 

That sucks about the ][e :(

 

Back on top (ha), I wonder how long Apple will themselves even stick to this store design. Will it be revised with Angela taking over?

post #7 of 24
What ever happened to the Microsoft Kiosks and impending stores that popped up here and there last year?
post #8 of 24
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

Back on top (ha), I wonder how long Apple will themselves even stick to this store design. Will it be revised with Angela taking over?


The implication is that she’s the one who made the change.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #9 of 24

I really don't see how this survives a test of obviousness or prior art, but the EU is free to run their set of countries anyway they chose.

 

The real problem I have is that, at least in the US, a properly defended trademark never expires.  If enough layouts are trademarked, at some point shop owners could be subject to trademark trolls demanding ransoms for infringing on store layout trademarks or patents.

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post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

I really don't see how this survives a test of obviousness or prior art, but the EU is free to run their set of countries anyway they chose.

The real problem I have is that, at least in the US, a properly defended trademark never expires.  If enough layouts are trademarked, at some point shop owners could be subject to trademark trolls demanding ransoms for infringing on store layout trademarks or patents.

I'd love to see Apple granted proper legal protections for this in China...but I don't see that ever happening.

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post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

That Mac Portable cost $7,300 in 1988

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


What furniture? All I see is captain bad ass Chuck Norris. lol.gif
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post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That Mac Portable cost $7,300 in 1988

Really? Wow and I probably had a few in stock too. I had forgotten what they cost. The Lisa always stuck in my mind as the costliest beast. Not that a fully loaded Apple /// with Profile and all the trimmings wasn't getting up there too. And people moan about an iMac or MBA costing $1,000 today 1biggrin.gif. We bought in £s of course and back then I seem to recall the exchange rate was a tad better, I could be wrong I have't checked.
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post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

What furniture? All I see is captain bad ass Chuck Norris. lol.gif

ROFL, that was after a hair cut too! It is funny seeing ourselves from past eras of fashions ... not that I look much different now ... lol
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post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That Mac Portable cost $7,300 in 1988

Really? Wow and I probably had a few in stock too. I had forgotten what they cost. 

Add another $2,000 for the additional 8 MB of RAM option. It came with 1 MB. You could have a max of 9 MB.

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post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Add another $2,000 for the additional 8 MB of RAM option

Are you suffering from "road rag"?

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post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Add another $2,000 for the additional 8 MB of RAM option. It came with 1 MB. You could have a max of 9 MB.

So that's why my bank was always moaning about my stock levels! 1hmm.gif
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post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

I really don't see how this survives a test of obviousness or prior art, but the EU is free to run their set of countries anyway they chose.

The real problem I have is that, at least in the US, a properly defended trademark never expires.  If enough layouts are trademarked, at some point shop owners could be subject to trademark trolls demanding ransoms for infringing on store layout trademarks or patents.

sssshhhhhhhhhh .... don't give them ideas.
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post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

A win is a win. Good on Apple in this case.

They tried to file for the same trademark here a few years back, however since Apple didn't have a store in Switzerland yet it was denied. In the mean time our big Apple reseller DataQuest converted all of their stores to look like Apples. So when Apple finally opened their first store in Zurich the first thing they did was file for the trademark again, it was denied, this time because it would have interfered with a Swissy company. The Apple lawyers told the commission that it could affect future relations with Apple, as in no more stores, the commission responded with a stern don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. We're all kinds of nuts here. Apple also ran into some problems with their employees, all businesses are required to hire a certain percentage of locals, it's some absurd ratio, like 60 percent, Apple didn't pass a spot check and was forced to hire more Swiss people.

DataQuest

head_bhp__head-large.png

I have to say I prefer shopping at Dataquest, one I've known the people who work their for years, two they sell used and demo models, three I don't have to go to Zurich, the Dataquest store is only 5 minutes away.
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post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

What furniture? All I see is captain bad ass Chuck Norris. lol.gif

Chuck Norris doesn't need a phone to make calls.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Chuck Norris doesn't need a phone to make calls.

Right, plus the Edinburgh police denied me a permit to carry ... 1hmm.gif
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post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Right, plus the Edinburgh police denied me a permit to carry ... 1hmm.gif

The only time Chuck Norris was wrong was when he thought he had made a mistake. lol.gif
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #23 of 24

In Zürich, there's a DataQuest store just around the corner of an official Apple retail store. They look pretty much the same. However, you hardly ever see people at the DataQuest store, even though it is bigger and has a better location. I believe, that the appeal of the Apple retail store is far more than just nice furniture and pictures on the walls. One important aspect of it, is that the Apple staff is way better trained, motivated and customer-focussed than in any other store. It's just a whole different experience to shop there.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by supersheep View Post
 

In Zürich, there's a DataQuest store just around the corner of an official Apple retail store. They look pretty much the same. However, you hardly ever see people at the DataQuest store, even though it is bigger and has a better location. I believe, that the appeal of the Apple retail store is far more than just nice furniture and pictures on the walls. One important aspect of it, is that the Apple staff is way better trained, motivated and customer-focussed than in any other store. It's just a whole different experience to shop there.

Oh I'm sure, I only mentioned I liked the DataQuest by me because it's close to where I live in Zug. My husband takes the kids all the time to the Apple Store in Zurich, I've only been twice myself. Nice store, to many Germans working there though. I personally still prefer to purchase everything online from Digitec in Zurich or StegPC in Luzern, better prices and they both ship same day if ordered before 13:00.

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