Sweden 22 Dec 2014

Apple denied trademark protection in Sweden

Apple’s application to register trademarks in Sweden which consist of depictions of store layouts has now been rejected by The Swedish Court of Patent Appeals.

We have previously covered that Apple, through the ruling from the European Court of Justice has opened the doors for trademark registrations of renderings of store layouts. The European Court of Justice decided that every individual national office in every country has to decide if the store layouts should be able to be registered in any given case. This issue has now been decided in Sweden in regards to the Apple Stores.

Apple sent an application to The Swedish Patent and Registration Office, however, they rejected the application. Apple then appealed The Swedish Patent and Registration Office’s decision to the Swedish Court of Patent Appeals. Apple claimed that the marks were distinctive or at least that they had acquired distinctiveness as a result of use.

The Court noted at the outset that store layouts may indeed constitute trademarks under certain conditions. The Court of Patent Appeals found that Apple stores do not deviate significantly from what is the norm of the electronic industry. The renderings of the store layout were therefore devoid of distinctive character for the services that Apple’s international registrations covered. The Swedish Court of Patent Appeals also felt that Apple had not proved that distinctive character had been acquired through use in Sweden, even though Apple had presented a number of different marketing surveys.

Therefore, according to the judgment, Apple’s international registrations for their store layout will not apply in Sweden.

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