Apple Store design trademark approved

Apple has trademarked the design of its retail stores, which includes the glass-panel fronts and recessed lighting.

The US Patent and Trademark Office issued a registration certificate to Apple last week, about two-and-a-half years after the original application was filed.

The trademark covers "the design and layout of a retail store."

Specifically, that includes "a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade consisting of large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front, and two narrower panels stacked on either side of the storefront."

Inside, the mark covers: rectangular recessed lighting units traversing the length of the store's ceiling; cantilevered shelves below recessed display spaces along the 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 side walls; and an oblong table with stools located at the back of the store, set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall.

The trademark does not cover the walls, floors, lighting, and other fixtures, but "the placement of the various items are considered to be part of the overall mark." Apple is also not claiming any particular colour as part of the mark.

In March 2012, Apple was awarded a design patent for its retail store in Shanghai. The store, located steps away from the Shanghai's Pearl Tower, features a cylindrical glass tower with the glowing, white Apple logo floating within. Don't get too close - a small, shallow moat of water surrounds the glass tower. Clear, circular stairs take shoppers to the subterranean store, which features the familiar Genius Bar and tables upon tables of Apple gadgets.

In recent years, meanwhile, Apple has trademarked its "there's an app for that" catchphrase and acquired the Lightning trademark from Harley-Davidson. It failed, however, to trademark the iTunes music icon, losing out to MySpace. The Cupertino-based firm is also involved in a trademark dispute with Microsoft and Amazon over the use of the phrase "app store."