Apple Trademarks its Iconic Storefronts

Posted on January 30, 2013 8:30 AM by Rob Williams

When companies design something that ends up becoming “iconic”, it’s inevitable that it’ll be imitated. But sometimes, imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery – especially where business is concerned. Case in point: Apple, which has just trademarked its easily-recognizable Apple Store storefronts. Didn’t know you could do that? Apparently, you can.


Trademarks are dissimilar to patents in that violation would be the result of the “likelihood of confusion” rather than simply copying how something is done. If an HP store were to creep up, for example, and feature a glass storefront, neatly-lined product demo tables and an extension of those on the side along with recessed ceiling lights and a similar color scheme – aka: the entire package – then it could be held as a violation of the trademark.

While a trademark for a store seems (and is) a bit silly, it’s unlikely that any company would be accused of a violation unless they were blatantly copying many of the design elements of Apple’s stores. Given how recognizable Apple Stores are, it seems unlikely that any architect would create a strikingly similar design by “accident”.

Had Apple patented the individual design elements, things would not be so kosher.

  • The Focus Elf

    I trademark the big buckin’ chicken! DIbs.

  • e550mercedes
    • Rob Williams

      I expected to click on those links and for once agree with Apple, but no. You might have to be a massive Apple fan to spot the differences, because I sure can’t. This is unless you’re counting a light color scheme and tables in the middle at -all- as “copying”.

      This store doesn’t use traditional tables like Apple does, has an odd-shaped side and back, splashes color and banners everywhere while ruining the minimalist look Apple strives for, has different lighting, different flooring – what on EARTH am I missing? The only similarity I could imagine isn’t shown in the photo: the all-glass front.

      When looking at a store pic like that Samsung one, I’m actually wondering what they could change to make it so people don’t compare it to an Apple Store. I couldn’t imagine a better way to show off your devices than the way it’s done here.

    • Marfig

      Look it’s really simple. Don’t make white counters. They are trademarked now.

Recent Tech News
Recent Site Content