Apple has patented the layout of its stores. So now, if you want to open a shop with tables in it where people like at IT products I suspect you can’t.
Why does this matter? First, because that seems, at the very least to be absurd. How can you patent where you put a table?
Second, because you can apparently patent where you put a table you do as a result create an entirely artificial property right that means that Apple can now extract a rent from ownership of that right.
And if you want to know where that leads, listen to this. This is the direction in which capitalism is moving by seeking to control all aspects of our lives, and in the process are seeking to control all we do.
Please do not think we live in a world of benevolent corporations. We most definitely do not.
He actually links to something that gets it right:
Apple has managed to secure a court ruling from the European Court of Justice allowing it to trademark the layout of all Apple retail stores within the European Union.
A trademark is a very different thing from a patent. The confusion comes from the fact that these days trademarks are often called “design patents”.
Apple does not own a patent on having a store in which you look at electronics sitting on tables. It has a trademark on the specific designs that it uses. The effect of which is to stop people passing off as Apple Stores by, say, calling themselves Aple Stores and displaying cheap Android devices in exactly the same manner as Apple does in its own stores.
This is not a new thing in law either. I recall one from decades ago where Selfridges won a judgement against an electrical goods retailer calling itself Sell Fridges. You can’t stick a red triangle on a bottle of beer because that is a Bass trademark (and has been for centuries, it was, I think, the first ever granted trademark).
And a tiny piece of advice for the MonsterMurph. If you’re going to try to comment upon patent and trademark law it would help if you had the first clue about either of them.