Trademarking a Store Design: The Case of Apple Stores

The Apple Store chain, with outlets in more than 40 countries, has done very well in recent years. Shoppers like the service and the interactivity of the stores. Average sales per square foot are the highest among retail chains.
Now, Apple has something else to brag about — and capitalize on, a trademark for its U.S. interior store design. But, the efforts to gain this legal protection have not been without their hurdles.
As reported by Valentina Palladino for
“Apple officially trademarked its store design last week, an endeavor the company has been pursuing since May 2010. After being rejected twice by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which claimed the store design was not ‘inherently distinctive,’ Apple submitted additional materials and drawings, and gained the trademark on its mall-centric, rectangular store layouts.
Descriptions in the registered trademark certificate detail the brand’s simple retail atmosphere: ‘…a primarily glass storefront, rectangular recessed lighting traversing the length of the store’s ceiling, Cantilevered shelving and recessed display spaces along the front side walls, rectangular tables arranged in a line in the middle of the store parallel to the walls and extending from the storefront to the back of the store, multi-tiered shelving along the rear walls, and an oblong table with stools located at the back of the store below video screens in the back wall.’
“Arguably. one of the most practical reasons for the trademark is to protect the Apple brand from copycats, like the ones that have popped up in China in the past few years. Those imitators not only capitalized on bootlegged Apple products, but were also able to mimic the look and feel of Apple retail environments with fake stores complete with glass walls, minimalistic décor, and open floor layouts.”
Click the chart to read Palladino’s full story.

Image source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


This entry was posted in Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 4: Store Location Planning, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Trademarking a Store Design: The Case of Apple Stores

  1. Pingback: A Graphical Look at the Apple Store’s Peformance | Retailing: From A to Z by Joel Evans

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