BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's highest court says Apple's characteristic retail store layout may be registered as a trademark.
The Court of Justice on Thursday overturned a decision by German patent authorities which last year rejected an application to grant copyright protection to Apple's store design -- parallel lines of big tables with electronic gadgets spread out on them under a high ceiling.
The Luxembourg-based EU Court said a design pattern like Apple's "may constitute a trademark provided that it is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking" from others.
The case will go back for a final decision to Germany's highest patent court which had sought the EU judges' advice.
Apple successfully registered its store layout as a trademark in the United States in 2010.
Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. And there's one small company making Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!
The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.