back to article Microsoft gets trademark for retail store plans

Microsoft has been awarded a trademark on its design for a store selling all things high tech. Trademark registration 4036534 covers the design of “a retail store with four curved tabletops at the front and rear side walls and a rectangular band displaying changing video images on the walls.” The trademark covers stores …


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  1. hplasm

    Let me the first

    To copyright the terms whoop-de-do and So and/or What...

  2. Pete Spicer

    So, Microsoft basically patents a copy of the Apple store, yes? Apart from the fact that I don't see how you can essentially patent the layout of a store, this should have been thrown out up front by prior art.

    1. Term


      A Trademark isn't the same as a Patent!

      1. Pete Spicer

        So what? Trademarks still have to go through vetting, one of which is that similar examples can't already be in use. Still a case of trademarking something that's already in use, quite heavily.

        Still the same group of people getting it wrong, too, unless USPTO does only patents now.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      They didn't get a patent, they got a trademark, in the same way that they have trademarks for most of their product names (Word isn't trademarkable, but Microsoft Word is) and their logos.

  3. jonathanb Silver badge

    I believe the plan, if it hasn't been abandoned, was to sell pcs that don't have the usual cr**ware installed to slow everything down and pester people with messages to upgrade it to the full version. People might queue up for that.

    1. Tim Bates

      No crapware?

      So if they plan to sell computers without the crapware that slows them down and pesters you about registering and upgrading, they must be planning to sell computers running Linux?

      <ducks flaming arrows>

      1. craigb

        <provides cover from flaming arrows>

        I second the sentiment :)

  4. vic 4

    four curved tabletops

    I thought apple had copyrighted/trademarked/patented curves?

    1. Tim Bates

      It's OK...

      Microsoft patented the tabletop a few years back... They can do a deal.

  5. vic 4

    attracted the attention of the Simpsons

    And don't forget those pesky kids in south park, best episode ever!

  6. LarsG

    I have copyrighted a.......

    photo copy of my a**e, anyone uses it for anything other than what it is designed to do I will SUE SUE SUE and SUE.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You sound like my ex-wife

      1. bobbles31

        You owe me a keyboard!

      2. Cunningly Linguistic

        Her name isn't Sue perchance?

  7. newtonslife

    Lonley In Microsoft Land

    Now I hate Microsoft as much as the next man, but I cant believe they want to set up more shops, for several days In LA ( that's the usa you know) I walked past one of the Microsoft shops, daily.

    The poor shop staff were all alone in there, on the the one hand its sad for the shop staff on the other at least they have a job,which hopefully pays more than basic for them, its lonely in there,now if they have some free coffee at least they would have some company.

    I nearly went in to say hi, but I guess i didn't feel sorry enough for them.

    1. frank ly

      Luton Airport ...

      ... is about 25 miles north of London, England. I didn't know they had a Microsoft shop there.

  8. JaitcH

    Really grabs you? Uh? What happens ...

    when you want to move the furniture, or add some, another TM application?

    What better example of what's wrong with the US Patent/Copyright system!

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Once again!

    It's a "trademark" people.

    It's NOT about copyrights.

    It's NOT about patents.

    It's a unique design on how a Microsoft Store is supposed to look. I guess, a 1998's website in comic sans, blinking gifs and gaudy colours might not have been unique enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's all the same and all bad for this crowd of commentards.

      Free everything, information anarchy. Who cares about tomorrow. Yeahh!

  10. Don S.

    Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, oh my.

    Not a patent - a copyright big difference.

  11. heyrick Silver badge


    Surely a trademark is.... that? A device used to mark a product you are trading? You know, like the apple with a view out of it, the flying windows thing, the big green acorn, the v-with-a-tick card logo, etc etc. How the hell can you.... oh, wait, American legal system, I forgot, I'm truly sorry, I thought the sort of stuff that turned up on Ally McBeal was supposed to be fictional...

  12. thecakeis(not)alie

    Good for Microsoft.

    I expect to be seeing great things from Microsoft's retail operations. They have a strong and vibrant consumer electronics line that promises to become even better as the kinks in WP7 and Win8 are worked out. They also have the opportunity to do some very good SME demos for cloudy technologies and all-in-one servers that ought to impress, if they can get bodies into the stores.

    As much as I like to deride Microsoft for a great many things, they have spent some time earnestly creating some good consumer electronics kit, even if they don’t personally manufacture it all. (They do licence their software, after all…)

    Xbox and all of it’s accessories. Phones. PCs & Notebooks. Soon, tablets. Media centers of various kinds, home automation kits, HTPCs,

    I choose to see this as a starting point, not an abject failure because they aren’t bigger than Apple in every little thing. Marketed correctly (Aha – and here is Microsoft’s critical failing!) Microsoft does have “good enough” consumer gear to sell.

    Trademarking the store only makes sense. It prevents others from ripping off the store once (if?) Microsoft gets enough own-brand recognition that others are wanting to invest time, money and effort into ripping them off. Think about it: Microsoft gear isn’t “Microsoft-branded, sold only by Microsoft.” It’s partner-made stuff.

    That means that anyone can set up reseller agreements with all the various manufacturers and resell [i]the exact same equipment.[/i] Thus having a distinctive storefront is really Microsoft’s only way of differentiating themselves in a retail environment without completely cutting all their partners off at the knees.

    Worth the effort by MS, IMHO.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge


      1. HollyHopDrive
        Thumb Up

        Sir, I Couldn't have put it better.

      2. Anonymous IV

        In an intellectual debate, there's nothing like a well-reasoned, closely-argued, response, is there!

    2. danny_0x98

      And, they could be setting up for a place to showcase Nokia smartphones, either as a first among equals or as a subsidiary.

    3. BitDr

      A small problem...

      I think someone alluded to this earlier, a trademark is 'fixed', you can't go reorganizing the layout at will and sue others because their store looks like one of yours, else you could end up being able to sue anyone peddeling tech in a retail environment...oh wait.

  13. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    If you build it, they will come.....

    .... Then they'll see there's not much, turn around and leave.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real question is...

    ...when you enter the shop, will it crash and give you a blue screen of death?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Dunno,. but if the front door is locked there's always another way in

    2. Paul 129

      BSOD hell yes

      Since autoreboot is automaticly enabled, you might catch a flicker of the blue screen.

      The give away of course is each time you enter the shop, somehow you end up back outside without being able to achieve anything.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring your MS device in for free....

    ...patches and driver upgrades.

    ..and virus scans

    ..and more drivers

    ..and fixes to the patches

    1. bobbles31

      I do love the way that people bring up patches as if MS are the only ones that do it.

      1. nematoad


        us poor Linux users get what's called a new distro every six months or so.

      2. Goat Jam

        MS Patches

        Sure, MS are not Robinson Crusoe with regards to patches, but they are pretty much the only ones that require an OS reboot *every*single*time*.

        1. Tim Bates


          Every single time... And then more updates appear and you reboot again. And perhaps a 3rd and 4th time if the computer's been off the internet for a few months.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Goat Jam in criticising Microsoft shocker!

          Yes, you have to reboot more often with MS patches than you do with some others, but if you'd ever bothered to use Win 7, or 2008 server, you'd know that you have to reboot after a patch far fewer times than with older OSes. It most certainly isn't *every*single*time*.

          Then again if you actually used MS software rather than slagging it off all the time, you would have known that, wouldn't you?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where has the year gone?

    April 1st already?

  17. Stuart 22

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    So not danger there then!

    These companies do work hard to protect themselves from any sort of affection. Except Apple that is, but if you balance the love against the bile they probably rate even lower than MS.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Its all part of the master plan!

    I think its mainly because no desktop user (without touch) would buy Windows 8 in its current form. So to prepare for that they simply hired a lot of high quality staff which are standing ready to talk you into upgrading to Windows 8.

    If you can't beat 'm...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS needs a better plan

    The current one

    watch what apple does, wait a few years to see if it works, try and copy it

    is not working.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe some of you should look at your own trademarks before saying something about America. I can easily point out several that would make this look like it has some merit.

  21. mfraz

    Novilty items

    That would include Windows, Windows Phone 7 and the Zune?

  22. ratfox

    First thing is to trademark it

    We lose money for a few years, then some schmuck will build a store that looks like ours... Then we can sue him for millions! Millions! Muhahaha!!

  23. Peter Clarke 1

    Lack of Customers

    I can imagine the call to Head Office

    Nobody's walking through the door. What do we do?

    Try closing all the Windows(tm), turn off the power and then turn it all back on again

  24. Steve Brooks

    So presumably they have been into every store in the USA and checked the current layout and desigend one thats different? What happens if they haven't and one does? Do the current owners of a shop with a layout they have had for years get sued by MS for misusing the MS trademark, or do they get to sue MS? Any guesses for which way around it would actually happen? Also, does this mean every shop in the USA needs to trademank their shop design to prevent themselves getting sued by somebody?

    1. cloudgazer

      If they have even a single photograph proving that they were trading with that design before the TM then they're allowed to continue, though they may have problems opening new stores with the same design in new markets.

  25. jim 45

    I'm in Minneapolis, near their big store in the Mall of America. It is actually pretty cool, and is exactly opposite the Apple store. The massive array of monitors is impressive. Yes, they do need some new products to draw people in. They need them desperately, and they know that. Windows 8 with 'Metro', on a tablet that doesn't weigh 8 pounds and have a whining fan, would be a good start.

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