Apple trademarks its Stores to deter copycats

Apple has been granted a trademark on the design of its Apple Stores by the US Patent & Trademark Office.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Apple has trademarked the design of its retail stores in an attempt to prevent copycat shops from being set up.

The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) approved Apple's request to trademark the design and layout of its stores last week, according to patent office records.

The approval was granted more than two years after the company first filed the application to trademark its stores in May 2010.

Apple has requested that no store be allowed to replicate various features, including "a clear glass storefront surrounded by a panelled facade" or an "oblong table with stools...set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall."

A fake Apple Store in the Chinese city of Kunming received international news coverage in 2011 after a blogger published photos showing the white Apple logo and long wooden tables inside. Several other fake Apple Stores were opened in the same city but were later ordered to shut down by Chinese authorities.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was heavily involved with the design of Apple Stores and is listed as the inventor on the patent for Apple's all-glass staircase.

The trademark on Apple Stores does not extend beyond the US, according to a Reuters source, who added that companies that file for domestic protection usually go for similar protection in other countries they operate in.

Apple declined to comment on the trademark approval.

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