Apple owns application 85/097,331 for the configuration of its glass cube store. Its successful brief arguing that it has obtained secondary meaning is reproduced below.

The mark consists of:

the distinctive design and layout of a retail store comprised of a cube-shaped building constructed almost exclusively of transparent glass, with transparent glass walls and roof, transparent glass double doors and a transparent glass awning and featuring a pendant of an apple with a bite removed suspended from the ceiling.

The question arises here that arises with any unique combination of elements, some of which individually are exclusive to the trademark owner (such as the Apple pendant) and some of which are not (such as transparent glass double doors).  What is a confusingly similar combination of fewer than all of these elements?

In my role as architecture critic, I note that the mark’s description doesn’t include an element that contributes to the striking uniqueness of the cube as a retail space: it is mostly empty.  The 2(f) evidence contains quite a few descriptions that refer to the store as ‘airy,’ ‘spacious’ and ‘transparent.’  This is in part because the cube isn’t actually the store, it is the empty anteroom to the below-ground store.  I think that an empty glass cube as an entrance to a below-ground store absolutely suggests Apple as the source, but what about any glass cube enclosing any store?

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