Apple trademarks design of its stores

The company won U.S. trademark protection for features such as its clear glass storefront and signature tables

Apparently not satisfied with its dominion over round-cornered rectangles, Apple Inc. has now trademarked the design of its stores.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the tech giant’s 2010 request for trademarks on design elements such as “a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled façade” and an “oblong table with stools … set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall.”

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was famously involved in nearly every detail of the company’s retail stores, and held patents on features such as the stores’ floating glass staircases. Competitors have occasionally copied these features: In 2011, a blogger posted photos of a fake Apple store in the Chinese city of Kunming, one of several in the area that sold Apple products without the company’s permission. Chinese authorities later ordered the closure some of those locations.

Apple’s trademark does not apply outside of the U.S., but companies that apply for trademarks domestically often seek similar protection internationally, a source tells Thomson Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of Apple, see:

Steve Jobs threatened Palm with patent litigation to stop it poaching Apple employees

Apple must rewrite Samsung “apology ads” following reprimand from UK court

Apple not the only company able to use the term “app store,” judge says

How Apple v. Motorola could alter patent litigation

Technology: Are you an Apple or a Samsung fan?

Alanna Byrne

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