The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple a registration certificate for a patent that was filed more than two years ago with regards to the design of their retail stores. The trademark reportedly covers the design and layout of the store which includes details like recessed lighting and the large glass panel storefront.
Other features like cantilevered shelves below recessed display spaces on the side walls, Apple’s familiar rectangular tables arranged in a line in the middle of the store and even multi-tiered shelving are also mentioned in the trademark.
Apple has been working to get the store design trademarked since May 2010. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has twice rejected their application, saying the store design wasn’t inherently distinctive. Cupertino was persistent, however, and submitted additional material and drawings for consideration which apparently was enough to sway the office to approve the application.
As Wired points out, Apple isn’t the first technology company to receive a trademark covering the design of a retail store. Microsoft was granted a similar trademark back in 2011 for their retail stores which some would describe as somewhat similar to Apple’s.
The real goal here, however, is likely to defend against outright copycats like the bogus Apple stores that have surfaced in China over the past couple of years.
The trademark listing in its entirety can be seen at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website for those wanting a more detailed look into what Apple now has the rights to.