Apple obtained a registration (U.S. Registration No. 4,277,914) which covers retail store services in the United States for the design and layout of its retail stores. The description of the mark is as follows:
--The store features a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade consisting of large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front, and two narrower panels stacked on either side of the storefront. Within the store, rectangular recessed lighting units traverse the length of the store's ceiling. There are cantilevered shelves below recessed display spaces along the side walls, and rectangular tables arranged in a line in the middle of the store parallel to the walls and extending from the storefront to the back of the store. There is multi-tiered shelving along the side walls, and a oblong table with stools located at the back of the store, set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall. The walls, floors, lighting, and other fixtures appear in dotted lines and are not claimed as individual features of the mark; however, the placement of the various items are considered to be part of the overall mark.--
Registration was initially refused for lack of inherent distinctiveness by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because the applied-for mark consists of a nondistinctive three-dimensional configuration that would not be perceived as a service mark, but only as decoration or ornamentation. Apple was able to obtain registration by claiming that the mark had acquired distinctiveness. In order to prove acquired distinctiveness, Apple submitted declarations describing the success of Apple’s retail stores, consumer awareness of the store configuration trade dress, and Apple’s marketing efforts to increase consumer awareness of its store design. Further, Apple submitted promotional materials, images, articles, web pages, and consumer surveys in order to demonstrate the United States awareness of the Apple retail stores.