updated 09:22 am EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Claims same legal protections already obtained in US
The European Court of Justice has issued a decision granting Apple an EU trademark on the layout of its retail stores. The ruling (PDF) states that "the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," giving the trademark scope enough to cover all of Apple's locations.
Apple already enjoys similar trademark protections in the US, having been granted them by the US Patent and Trademark Office in January 2013. The company then tried to secure a trademark in Europe, but faced opposition from Germany's patent office, which claimed that such a trademark wouldn't be valid under EU law. It's this battle that brought the matter in front of the European Court of Justice.
So far Apple hasn't made use of its US trademark. Although chains like the Microsoft Store have often been accused as imitators, no legal actions have been filed. The company may be more concerned about deterring stores that sell Apple-related products but give the illusion of being official.