“Apple Inc. has a secured a court ruling allowing the company to register the layout of its retail stores in the European Union as a trade mark, an extension of its intellectual property that it had already acquired in the U.S.,” Matina Stevis reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The EU’s top court said Thursday that Apple’s flagship stores fulfilled the three criteria for a trade mark: they constitute a sign; they can be represented in a graphic; and they can distinguish the goods or services sold by one company from those of another,” Stevis reports. “‘From this 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,” the court said in its judgment.'”

Stevis reports, “The judgment allows Apple to replicate its distinguishing store layout—airy, well-lit interiors displaying Apple goods on open table tops—in the EU and stops competitors from replicating the style in their shops.”

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