This week the USPTO
gave Apple another tool in its endless battle against copycats: a trademark for the layout of its Apple
Store. That’s right, the store that made fools of early critics and became one of Apple’s many success stories now has a trademark to protect such design elements as the “oblong table with stools located at the back of the store.”
Given the trouble Apple has had with copycats in China, it’s not surprising that the company is looking for ways to prevent similar issues in the U.S. Even so, the trademark is going to seem like overkill to many people.
Apple lists several features of the store in its mark description. The storefront (which, despite its length, still ends up sounding like an ordinary store) is described as “a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade consisting of large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front…” Not all of the typical Apple Store features are included in the trademark (the color white isn’t claimed, for example), but Apple covers its bases by pointing out lighting and other fixture placement is “considered to be part of the overall mark.”