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(The Verge)   Apple is trademarking its retail store design, so if your were planning on using rectangular tables arranged in a line to display the wares in your shop, get ready to be sued   (theverge.com) divider line 42
    More: Stupid, dry cask storage, patent office, USPTO, reveal, tables, trademarks  
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1132 clicks; posted to Business » on 29 Jan 2013 at 7:23 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



42 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-01-29 07:10:06 PM  
Looks like they'll have to redesign the new Enterprise bridge.
 
2013-01-29 07:13:41 PM  
NOT SO FUN FACT:  The Fifth Avenue Apple store is the most photographed place in New York City.
 
2013-01-29 07:14:04 PM  
Wait, did they just patent trademark every craft show and flea market out there?
 
2013-01-29 07:22:21 PM  
FFS

/that is all
 
2013-01-29 07:23:39 PM  
Tag must be for Submitter. Have you seen a Microsoft store?
 
2013-01-29 07:23:41 PM  
Didn't GM already spend the entire 1980's proving that hiring more lawyers doesn't equate to more profits?
 
2013-01-29 07:26:06 PM  
Or if you're a school...
 
2013-01-29 07:27:04 PM  
I don't think this trademark would survive a legal challenge the way they somehow enforced a patent on rounded corners.  This is too universal, far outside of the arena of electronics / tablets.  They might be granted a trademark to the extent that someone who directly copies it to confuse a consumer is liable (per TFA) but there are just too many stores that use a display method similar or identical to this.
 
2013-01-29 07:27:49 PM  
I imagine it's because the realization that their fearless leader is dead finally set in. The company realized it can't rehash the same ideas ad infinitum, and decided ridiculous lawsuits will keep Apple solvent. Good luck with that.
 
jvl
2013-01-29 07:29:27 PM  

ajgeek: Wait, did they just patent trademark every craft show and flea market out there?


No. The extent of the patent is being exaggerated by those who enjoy hyperventilating about Apple.

If your Grandma enters the flea market and asks if it an Apple Store, then either the flea market is violating the patent or Grandma is off her meds again.

Seriously: has Best Buy ever considered a design that looks like an Apple Store? Of course not. That's why you can fairly say the Apple Store is different. On the other hand, I've seen Architecture exhibits which vaguely resemble the layout of the Apple Store, so it might still be possible to overturn the patent in Court.
 
2013-01-29 07:31:13 PM  
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how they managed to trademark an apple symbol.
 
jvl
2013-01-29 07:31:33 PM  

Elandriel: I don't think this trademark would survive a legal challenge the way they somehow enforced a patent on rounded corners.


"Somehow enforced". Yeah no. Despite the hyperventilation you may have repeatedly heard from biased sources, Apple did not patent "rounded corners." The design patent was a lot more specific than that, which is why it survived in court.
 
2013-01-29 07:32:24 PM  
Regardless of the validity or legality of trademarking the design, the reason Apple wants to is because they make so much per square foot of retail space. So, other retailers have tried to copy the design (i.e. Microsoft). Though I don't think the store design is really the reason for Apple's success.
 
2013-01-29 07:33:18 PM  

mr_a: Didn't GM already spend the entire 1980's proving that hiring more lawyers doesn't equate to more profits?


Has Apple hired more lawyers?  I don't see any evidence of that.  Apple patenting and trademarking up was the direct result of a patent troll suing it after it released the iPod and losing in court.  Before that point - Jobs cared less about patents and even settled a number of ongoing lawsuits.  So Apple basically said fark it and started registering everything up to and including the kitchen sink.

/which is why all tech companies do this - but because Apple is doing it - it allows everyone to get all false outraged
 
2013-01-29 07:34:06 PM  

Elandriel: I don't think this trademark would survive a legal challenge the way they somehow enforced a patent on rounded corners.  This is too universal, far outside of the arena of electronics / tablets.  They might be granted a trademark to the extent that someone who directly copies it to confuse a consumer is liable (per TFA) but there are just too many stores that use a display method similar or identical to this.


You obviously don't live in Northern California, where even people who live in cardboard boxes (called condos) own Apple stock.
 
2013-01-29 07:47:38 PM  

gingerjet: mr_a: Didn't GM already spend the entire 1980's proving that hiring more lawyers doesn't equate to more profits?

Has Apple hired more lawyers?  I don't see any evidence of that.  Apple patenting and trademarking up was the direct result of a patent troll suing it after it released the iPod and losing in court.  Before that point - Jobs cared less about patents and even settled a number of ongoing lawsuits.  So Apple basically said fark it and started registering everything up to and including the kitchen sink.

/which is why all tech companies do this - but because Apple is doing it - it allows everyone to get all false outraged


I agree with you that Apple hasn't exactly caused the problem, but there is no question they are spending more on lawyers than ever.  An excellent article on the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/technology/patent-wars-among-tech- gi ants-can-stifle-competition.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 
2013-01-29 07:51:10 PM  
I don't think you risk infringing without the turtlenecks and scorn.
 
2013-01-29 07:59:36 PM  

bingethinker: Tag must be for Submitter. Have you seen a Microsoft store?


They're called stores.
 
2013-01-29 08:01:29 PM  
Are they going to trademark douchey, unhelpful, hipster employees?
 
2013-01-29 08:23:45 PM  

bingethinker: Tag must be for Submitter. Have you seen a Microsoft store?


For real. The one in the Prudential Center here in Boston is like watching a dog trying to mimic its owners. "How cute, he thinks he's speaking!"
 
2013-01-29 08:24:59 PM  

kronicfeld: Are they going to trademark douchey, unhelpful, hipster employees?


Weird. I went into the one in town here to see what all the hype was about. Made it clear I wasn't going to buy anything right from the get-go, and yet everyone in there was really nice, really helpful.

A few months later on a business trip I got into a discussion about their demo machines and whether they were actually internet-capable, so we went into one in San Diego specifically to download an MP3 and play it (those were the terms of the bet). I told the guy at the door that I was only there to win a bet, and then went about it. The guy by the door was nice, the girl I met by the mac book wafer or whatever those microsized laptops are called was really nice (though maybe 12 years old) and when I told her what I was up to, she told me the more fun thing would be to download it on three machines and try to get them to play in synch. I didn't really want to do that even after she offered to be the hand on the third "play" button - just wanted to win my hamburger - but again, nice above and beyond.

I guess YMMV applies to pretty much any interact-with-people scenario, but I've had two separate encounters with Apple stores that were nothing but pleasant.
 
2013-01-29 08:26:02 PM  
Meh...never even seen an Apple store. Probably never will.
 
2013-01-29 08:48:44 PM  
You mean an extremely loud, poorly laid out storefront, full to the brim with people, with unhelpful service staff (unless you're potentially there to buy something, in which case the same staff member will literally shove other customers out of the way to get a chance at your money) and always in locations that are nearly impossible to park near without paying an arm and a leg? I like Apple products but FFS their stores inevitably make me hate humanity slightly more every time I step inside of one. Every time I hear their "retail solution" lauded in the press I assume the writer is just trolling me. It's like they took all of the evil marketing solutions of the 1990s - "loud, uncomfortable atmosphere closes the deal faster!" and stuck it into a glass-encrusted bright white hell. I avoid them at all costs. In fact, I would rather shop at Best Buy than the Apple store.
 
2013-01-29 08:59:28 PM  
I'm OK with the idea of no other stores having unhelpful and under-trained "geniuses" who can't fix the problem but will swap out the product if it's broken under warranty or sell you an overstock product at a discount.
 
2013-01-29 09:09:23 PM  

Contents Under Pressure: I'm OK with the idea of no other stores having unhelpful and under-trained "geniuses" who can't fix the problem but will swap out the product if it's broken under warranty or sell you an overstock product at a discount.


Don't forget about the part where they won't even acknowledge your existence unless you made an online appointment days beforehand.
 
2013-01-29 09:15:52 PM  
Goods displayed on rectangular tables don't occur in nature.
 
2013-01-29 10:16:07 PM  

brap: NOT SO FUN FACT:  The Fifth Avenue Apple store is the most photographed place in New York City.


How long has the Ed Sullivan theatre been filmed?
 
2013-01-29 10:17:55 PM  

jvl: The extent of the patent is being exaggerated by those who enjoy hyperventilating about Apple. patents


Which is really a valid complaint
 
2013-01-29 10:50:47 PM  

moothemagiccow: jvl: The extent of the patent is being exaggerated by those who enjoy hyperventilating about Apple. patents

Which is really a valid complaint


this is genius. >

i mean this smart.
 
2013-01-29 10:53:48 PM  
Something like this?

www.stratel.com.au
 
2013-01-29 11:02:54 PM  

brap: NOT SO FUN FACT:  The Fifth Avenue Apple store is the most photographed place in New York City.


Mostly because of people trying out iStuff. Not because people are actually taking photos as souvenirs.
 
2013-01-29 11:09:34 PM  
I wonder if this was the problem...

cdn.macworld.co.uk
 
2013-01-30 12:48:55 AM  
Fark Apple and its hipster market. Apple could compress a pile of shiat, paint it white and give it a few elegant contours and you assholes would gobble it up and call it chocolate. With any luck, this leviathan of a poser is on the way out.
 
2013-01-30 12:49:25 AM  
Apple is long overdue for a complete overhaul of their designs. When the Mac and the 2c came out, they looked all futuristic and stuff. The problem is, they still look like 1960s science fiction. They've gone from futuristic to retro. If people are still buying that, good for them, I guess, I've moved on.
 
2013-01-30 12:50:30 AM  
Anyway, Apple didn't invent rectangular tables, they just made them marketable.
 
2013-01-30 01:10:13 AM  

NewWorldDan: Apple is long overdue for a complete overhaul of their designs. When the Mac and the 2c came out, they looked all futuristic and stuff. The problem is, they still look like 1960s science fiction. They've gone from futuristic to retro. If people are still buying that, good for them, I guess, I've moved on.



Who the fark buys a computer based on the way it is shaped? My first real job was as a bench tech, and was the only tech who had any interest in the Mac. I ended up the Apple tech and stayed mostly Apple side through the iiFx. The Mac customer fell into one of two categories: a user who needed the machine for its ability to handle graphics and sound (Mannheim Steamroller or an ad agency) or the poser with money to waste on a machine that made them look cool. Argghhhh.
 
2013-01-30 08:54:54 AM  

Elandriel: I don't think this trademark would survive a legal challenge the way they somehow enforced a patent on rounded corners. This is too universal, far outside of the arena of electronics / tablets. They might be granted a trademark to the extent that someone who directly copies it to confuse a consumer is liable (per TFA) but there are just too many stores that use a display method similar or identical to this.


Actually there is some pretty solid caselaw on trade dress for storefronts.  See, e.g., Two Pesos, Inc. v. Taco Cabana, Inc., 505 U.S. 763 (1992), The Yankee Candle Co. v. New England Candle Co., 14 F.Supp.2d 154 (1998).  I think Apple can pretty well show that they have secondary meaning, as love em or hate em, i think most people seeing the frosty white apple store "look" with different products (see microsoft) think: "wow they are trying to look like an apple store."

Of course there could be an interference at the PTO by these other store designers and there could be a delightful hullabaloo about it, but frankly its not that difficult to imagine they would be successful.
 
2013-01-30 08:55:05 AM  

Shaggy_C: You mean an extremely loud, poorly laid out storefront, full to the brim with people, with unhelpful service staff (unless you're potentially there to buy something, in which case the same staff member will literally shove other customers out of the way to get a chance at your money) and always in locations that are nearly impossible to park near without paying an arm and a leg? I like Apple products but FFS their stores inevitably make me hate humanity slightly more every time I step inside of one. Every time I hear their "retail solution" lauded in the press I assume the writer is just trolling me. It's like they took all of the evil marketing solutions of the 1990s - "loud, uncomfortable atmosphere closes the deal faster!" and stuck it into a glass-encrusted bright white hell. I avoid them at all costs. In fact, I would rather shop at Best Buy than the Apple store.


Yeah, I don't get the "magic" of Apple Stores. It always feels like I'm going to Shady Slim's Used Car lot, the way I'm constantly being shuttled between various "experts". I typically just want to go in, buy something, and get out. For example:

I had a Mac laptop with the ever-expanding battery issue (the battery expands as it heats up, which then compresses on the bottom of the track-pad, rendering the laptop useless as it constantly triggers false track-pad hits). It was past 3 years (beyond any kind of warrantee).

So I go to the Apple Store with my battery. I explain to the girl who is doing nothing at the front of the store I need to buy a replacement. She tells me I need to go find a guy with an iPad to make an appointment. Now, she has her own device that is hooked up to the store internet; why SHE can't make an appointment is beyond be. So now I venture in further, amongst the teeming crowds (and this is the point I don't get, SOOOOO many people are standing around, not actually buying anything). And eventually butt my way through to a guy with a iPad who is busy with other people, and get a spiel about needing to set up an appointment with a genius. I tell him "All I want is a new battery!" At which point he tells me to wait a minute....and then he eventually comes back with SOMEONE ELSE, who I explain, again, that all I want to do is battery a replacement battery. I give it to her, she goes in the back room, and eventually comes back out with a typical minimalist-label box that says "MacBookBattery".

Of course, the kicker is that I get it home, and it's not the right battery. Because the minimalist labeling on the package doesn't provide any comparison data between what's in the box versus the thing you are holding in your hand that you are trying to replace. So, I really don't get the whole "stylish packaging, but we keep all of that in the backroom where you can't see it" thing going on. On the other hand, I can appreciate wanting to keep your stock off of grubby paws in a busy store...but do I really need to talk to 3 people in succession to get something like a battery (but then again, the Apple store seems to have no issue with the potential of people walking away with $350 headphones which are out for sale and on display)? Why couldn't the girl up front "ring up" a stock clerk on her iDevice for me?
 
2013-01-30 02:22:59 PM  
I don't care that they patented this shiat. I care that they will use it as a club to whack other tech companies over the head when they experience success. And they'll do it by suing them for using stainless steel, glass, tables, or the color white to do it. They don't have to win, they just have to cause the other guys distress and distract them and make them spend money on bullshiat lawsuits.
 
2013-01-30 02:24:16 PM  
trademark - not patent. sorry.
 
2013-01-31 12:13:10 PM  

jvl: ajgeek: Wait, did they just patent trademark every craft show and flea market out there?

No. The extent of the patent is being exaggerated by those who enjoy hyperventilating about Apple.

If your Grandma enters the flea market and asks if it an Apple Store, then either the flea market is violating the patent or Grandma is off her meds again.

Seriously: has Best Buy ever considered a design that looks like an Apple Store? Of course not. That's why you can fairly say the Apple Store is different. On the other hand, I've seen Architecture exhibits which vaguely resemble the layout of the Apple Store, so it might still be possible to overturn the patent in Court.


Patent != trademark
 
2013-01-31 03:44:07 PM  
Microsoft did this for their stores in 2011, where was the faux outrage over thatÉ
 
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