Trademark Awarded to Apple Retail Stores

’s Typical Store Design © bfishadow via Flickr

Apple has successfully been awarded a trademark for the “design and layout” of their retail stores. Since opening their first in Virginia over a decade ago, the stores have been at the heart of the company’s branding, with the late Steve Jobs heavily involved in their design. Since, the growing presence of similar stores, including a familiar Microsoft chain launched in 2009, has left Apple feeling the need to protect its own distinctive style.

More after the break.

Apple’s Upper West Side Store NYC – Courtesy of

This move is not without precedent, as last year Apple secured their first on the design of a one-off store in the Upper West Side of New York City. The new certificate, awarded last Thursday on January 24, covers Apple’s more generic mall store design, protecting their original design in both black and white. The following was patented: “…the design of the store front, recessed lighting, shelving, flush video screens and even their unique genius bar layout at the rear of the store”. 

Apple’s Trademark Certificate – Courtesy of

However, with the size and complexity of most architectural designs, questions are being asked about where the line is drawn between close similarity and outright copy.

Nevertheless, as with music and software, copyright and patent infringement could soon become an important aspect of architecture, with many ‘starchitects’ being highly sought after for their distinctive style. Notably Zaha Hadid is currently in a race to finish her Wangjing SOHO office block in Beijing, whilst pirates construct a copy-cat version in the eastern Chinese city of Chongqing.

via Patently Apple 

Cite: Rackard, Nicky. "Trademark Awarded to Apple Retail Stores" 28 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • PabloKoh

    It is time to end the silly idea of owning ideas.

  • JohnF

    I agree with PabloKoh.

    If this ball were to begin rolling, designs could increasingly become merely the result of what ‘isn’t allowed’.

    Besides, good design can’t be copied, only some of the aspects can be mimicked. Designers know that there are too many concealed complexities that make designs successful or not.

  • kenna

    They may want to consider inventing new things again instead of setting their ownership on stone about every single thing they made over the years…

  • Rufino

    It has been traditional that outstanding design have influenced future generations; and now, this patent craze will mark a turning point in the craft we all do. But, where will this lead?

  • Thomas

    …and the patent trolls greatly rejoiced.

  • Patrick Langford

    The patent sounds like the layout in my laundry room. Table, multiple wall shelves etc. I better patent that before apple applies their patent to laundry rooms.

  • Heywood Floyd

    Does anyone know if these will be compatible with next year’s models?

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