BRUSSELS, Belgium—The European Union’s highest court says Apple’s characteristic retail store layout may be registered as a trademark.
The Court of Justice on Thursday overturned a decision by German patent authorities which last year rejected an application to grant copyright protection to Apple’s store design—parallel lines of big tables with electronic gadgets spread out on them under a high ceiling.
The Luxembourg-based EU Court said a design pattern like Apple’s “may constitute a trademark provided that it is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking” from others.
The case will go back for a final decision to Germany’s highest patent court which had sought the EU judges’ advice.
Apple Inc. successfully registered its store layout as a trademark in the United States in 2010.