German and European Courts Consider Apple Store Layouts to be Registerable Designs

Trade marks create a link between a consumer and the proprietor of the mark.  Where a trade mark is sufficiently distinctive it may be registered.  It is great fun walking through shopping centres spotting the various marks.  Most readily evident will be the word or logo emblazoned over the store front.  But what about the layout of the store itself? Well the German Federal Patent Court thinks that yes, such could be sufficiently distinctive in a decision concerning Apple Inc’s attempt to register its store layout, a decision the Court of Justice agreed with, further stating that protection from the mark would cover not only goods but also services provided by the proprietor (CJ (Third Chamber); C-421/13).

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