Do the tables have rounded corners? :D
Europe's highest court has stated that Apple can indeed trademark the layout of its stores - the iAltars - in a ruling that could ultimately dunk copycat retailers in hot water with the litigious US titan. The decision follows a spat last year, when the German Patent and Trademark Office said Apple could not extend the 2010 US …
Scratched and dirty lino floor, faded prints on the wall, a big counter with no-one behind it when you walk in. After a five minute delay a customer service representative (in grubby brown overcoat thing) walks in and then walks out. Five minutes after that they come out again and speak to you in Dothrakian.
There is a shop near me that is an Apple reseller that has copied the store design to a T. The logos are plastered all over the place and they sell mainly Apple products (although they also sell all high value electronics such as sonos stuff) It really is hard to tell if it is an Apple store or not (and many people in town refer to it as "the apple store" despite the fact that the name is nothing like Apple), other than the fact that the person behind the till actually knows what they are talking about!
> The logos are plastered all over the place
Apple's logo is trademarked and there are are severe restrictions upon how you can use it and in what settings - even if you are selling their products.
This alone would give Apple the ability to shut down the clone store without the EU granting them a trademark on a store layout.
"Little brown evelopes quietly slipped through their mailboxes" - er, no. What is done these days is to contribute heavily to their grandchildren's schools, local Rotary, Lions, etc. Making sure His Honour is told about the donations outside of the public eye. How do you think Australia got the Olympics in 2000. Or Brazil?
They were granted a trademark not copyright, sigh. The rules surrounding the two are very different and confer different rights. The most obvious difference you will immediately come across is the fact that you have to pay to register a trademark* whereas copyright is free and immediate once the work has been created. Another difference is that you can lose a trademark even if it is registered if it becomes diluted. For example: I'm going to hoover the house after a good googling for aspirin.
* there are situations where you can apply to the courts to protect your trademark even where you haven't registered it if you can clearly prove that it is a mark you are using for trading e.g. imagine Apple had forgotten to trademark their fruity logo, it's unlikely you would get away with using it or registering it yourself.
And I say this is an all round Mac head and general purpose fanboi.... Apple has patented a method of producing a store that is functionally unusable at the weekends and on holidays, when it is too busy to be able to attract the attention of the staff. Even for things you can pick up off the shelf, there's no checkout as such. Instead, you have to find someone. I know check out queues are terribly old fashioned, but at least you know where you stand with them (and get service in accordance of when you arrived).
My thought exactly. Who is going to "copy" a store that is unable to functiun as such except when it's nigh-empty? I've set foot in an Apple store twice by myself. Both times I exited the store empty-handed after more than 30 min of fruitless waiting, and got the stuff I needed from a generic computer store, in perhaps 10 minutes, despite the fact that the vendors in an Apple store are often almost as numerous as the customers and the generic computer store has 1 person behind the counter, period (perhaps 2 in absolute rush periods, like around xmas).
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Cupertino, California--five years ago.
Steve Jobs: YOU DID WHAT?!! You committed us to paying for 1 million hours of outside legal representation each year for the next 10 years!!?
General Counsel: But Steve, at these prices that works out to $38 an hour! We can't lose on this!
Steve Jobs: Great.... (Sighs). Well, as long as we have the lawyers, let's put them to work on something.
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