Apple Retail Store Layouts Can Now Be Trademarked In EU

Apple Store Layout EU
Customers attend the launch of the new Apple store at Madrid's central Sol square, June 21, 2014. Reuters

A court approved Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) right to trademark its retail store layouts throughout the European Union on Thursday, widening the reach of the Cupertino, California company’s current intellectual property granted in the United States.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the EU Court of Justice approved the Apple’s retail store layout trademark request after finding that the store designs fulfilled key trademark criteria: they constitute a design, can be represented graphically and distinguish services and goods sold by Apple from those of other companies.

The EU Court of Justice’s decision is a reversal of a 2013 decision by the German Patent and Trademark Office, which ruled that a layout of a retail store couldn’t be a trademark by itself.

The EU Court’s ruling prevents other stores from replicating the signature Apple layout throughout Europe.

Apple first earned approval to trademark its retail store layouts in the U.S. in 2010, after it filed an application with the Patent and Trademark Office.

apple USPTO An illustration from the Apple Retail Store trademark filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  USPTO/Apple

The Apple retail stores have been a distinctive part of the company's image for some time, but recently the tech titan has been rumored to be in the process of revamping both its online and retail stores. Last year, Apple announced that it hired Burberry Group PLC (LON:BRBY) veteran Angela Ahrendts as its new senior vice president of retail and online stores.

Apple also just brought on Tag Heuer’s vice president of sales, Patrick Pruniaux, for an undisclosed role at the company. Reports speculate that the hiring may be used to bolster the launch of the highly rumored iWatch this fall.

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