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Apple Trademarks Its Retail Store Design

by Sean P. Aune | May 23, 2010May 23, 2010 3:22 am PDT

Apple never met a trademark it didn’t like.  I’m actually a bit surprised Steve Jobs has trademarked is signature black turtleneck and jeans look he is always seen in, but I’m sure given enough time he will.

No, this time Apple decided to trademark its retail store layout.  The application says that the mark is in relation to:

Retail store services featuring computers, computer software, computer peripherals, mobile phones, consumer electronics and related accessories, and demonstration of products relating thereto

In other words, if you sell any of those items, your store better look nothing like an Apple store.  Oh, they also went after the color scheme of steel gray and light brown.  Here is the drawing they submitted showing off the colors and store layout.

apple store design

On the surface this is amusing and troubling all at once.  Amusing for the fact that it shows every aspect of Apple’s image is controlled, it’s actually a bit surprising they didn’t file for all of this sooner.  The troubling part is that their layout isn’t that unique.

Most retail stores follow a basic “racetrack” design which is supposed to draw the customer further into the store.  Mall stores tend to have the center aisle open so as you walk back towards the clerks you pass products on either side of you, and then they have the two outer aisles.  Not all mall stores conform to this, but it is a fairly common layout to be sure.

I wouldn’t be too concerned about Apple going after every single store with this layout, it will simply be if they place their products in a similar fashion to them.  These trademarks merely lay the groundwork if they should ever need to go after someone for impersonating them.  It hasn’t happened yet that I know of, but it is bound to happen someday, somewhere.

Now, as for that trademark on Steve’s wardrobe …


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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