Court grants Apple the right to trademark its shop layout

The decision means Apple can lock down its store design across Europe

Apple's worked hard to create a distinctive shop front on city thoroughfares worldwide, and now it's been given the right to trademark its shop layout across Europe.

The European Union Court of Justice has granted Apple the right to trademark the layout of its stores - only within the EU, of course.

Apple already acquired the trademark for the layout of its flagship stores in the US back in 2010, and has since been trying to extend this to Europe.

The German Patent and Trademark office refused the extension in 2013, arguing that Apple's shops are just an 'essential aspect' of retail, and that customers wouldn't see the store as an indication of product origin.

Apple appealed the Deutsch decision, and was referred to the European courts who ultimately decided to grant Apple the power to trademark its store layout across Europe.

To win the appeal, Apple's store layout had to satisfy three conditions of the 'trade marks directive'. (1) To constitute a sign; (2) be capable of graphic representation; (3) to be capable of distinguishing the 'goods' or 'service' as Apple, in contrast to a different brand.

Apple's store layout fulfilled all three criteria, and was granted the ability to trademark, with the court report reading: "the Court concludes that the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services."