In response to the appeal of Apple relating their application of the Apple Store, the European Court of Justice ruled that a store design could be a distinctive trademark. So, shop design applications got a green light and several applications have been filed since then. Of course, this kind of non-traditional trademarks are still uncommon and for most applicants not even relevant.
So, how is the OHIM responding to these applications? Well, not quite enthusiastic. An application of the appearance of the Vodafone shop, filed at the beginning of this year, still is under examination, often not a good sign. The question of course remains whether people in a shop can identify the products or services because of the shop design. Regardless of logo’s on storefronts of course, as these logo’s are often not included in the trademark application. Not a very easy task for a store design application. So, the ECJ said yes, but we wonder whether this yes is only a theoretical yes.
Below the claimed wine bar, the Vodafone store and shop.bar filed by Rewe.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”