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What's Next, A Patent For The Lines Around Apple Stores?

Officially as of last week, there's nothing quite like Apple's stores. After an array of patents of its products, Apple has decided to go whole hog and trademark its minimalist store design. The trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 22, Reuters reported.

The trademark's description includes the glass storefront windows, "surrounded by a paneled facade" and the signature "oblong table with stools ... set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall."

According to the Patent and Trademark Office, Apple began the process of patenting the design of its 250 U.S. stores and those in a dozen other countries in May 2010.

"After being rejected twice by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which claimed the store design was not 'inherently distinctive,' Apple submitted additional materials and drawings, and gained the trademark on its mall-centric, rectangular store layouts," Wired reported.

Even though it seems overprotective of an image, Apple isn't the first tech giant to acquire a trademark for its store design — Microsoft did it for its stores in 2011.

Apple also has good reason to be paranoid. Last year, a fake Apple store cropped up in China that "looked so authentic, even the upbeat salespeople thought they were working for Apple."

When it was discovered the store was selling Apple products, Chinese authorities ordered the store closed, as well as 20 other bootleg retailers.

What will Apple trademark next?

Lizzy Duffy is an intern on NPR's Social Media Desk.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Shante, He Stays: RuPaul Reflects On Decades Of Drag — And 2 Emmy Nominations

RuPaul is the most recognizable drag queen in America. His hit show, RuPaul's Drag Race is up for two Emmy Awards as it begins filming its ninth season. But drag, he says, will never be mainstream.
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Food World Rallies For Quake-Hit Amatrice, Home Of Famous Pasta Dish

In Italy and the U.S., restaurants are pledging to use sales of Amatrice's signature dish, spaghetti all' amatriciana, to raise funds for the Italian town devastated by Wednesday's earthquake.
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Friday News Roundup - International

Italy searches for survivors after a devastating earthquake. Turkey escalates its role in the fight against ISIS. And Colombia and the FARC rebels sign a peace treaty ending a half-century-long guerrilla war. A panel of journalists joins guest host Derek McGinty for analysis of the week's top international news stories.

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WhatsApp Will Start Sharing Data, Including Phone Numbers, With Facebook

It will also test new ways for businesses to communicate with users on the app. The privacy policy changes mark the long-expected move by Facebook to begin making money from the free app.

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