Apple has been seeking trademark approval from the European Union and it appears the EU has approved the company's intellectual property rights claim over store layout.
Apple had already earned approval from the United States government to trademark of its store's layout.
According to recent reports, the EU's highest court ruled the company will be allowed to trademark its store layout, adding to Apple's worldwide list of intellectual property rights. The Apple store layout trademark was approved in the United States in January 2013, breaking ground for the move to gain approval and trademark security in Europe.
News of the trademark approval in Europe is a welcome signal to Apple to continue efforts to solidify a worldwide brand and its style. Apple reportedly applied to extend its store's design diagrams as trademark for approval in the EU shortly after the approval in the U.S. Included in that report was the fact that Germany rebuffed this application, claiming that it was not legal under EU law, but the courts escalated review of the patent application to higher courts to determine legality for the intellectual property claim. The Court of Justice, the European Union's highest court for EU law, had final say. It was deemed legal, finalizing Apple's dominance in brand ownership.
Apple is also reportedly expanding its retail efforts around the world. Apple showed it was a retail force when it moved into the Chinese markets and succeeded. It is reportedly building another store in Scotland, and speculators say it may be large. Apple has not disclosed any details.
The design of the Apple retail locations includes its well-lit interior and fixtures, store facade and so-called Genius Bar. Also, products are displayed along parallel tables, as one report describes.
Under U.S. trademark law, any reproduction of the Apple Store would need to meet a certain burden of proof that customers were confused into thinking the store was an Apple retail outlet before the trademark would have legitimacy in court.