Apple this week was awarded a design patent for the cylindrical entrance to its iconic Shanghai retail store — Â a concept credited in part to late company co-founder Steve Jobs.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday awarded U.S. Design Patent D732,188 S to Apple for a term of 14 years, as discovered by AppleInsider. It includes both Jobs and former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson among its creators.
Apple was also awarded a utility patent for the glass cylinder entryway by the USPTO back in 2013, but Jobs and Johnson were not listed among the creators in that filing.
Like the flagship Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York, the Shanghai cylinder is made almost entirely out of huge monolithic glass slabs, with only connecting joints fashioned out of metal. The Chinese build is more complex, however, as the specifications required the glass pieces required be curved to form arcs. These panels were then joined to create a circle and ultimately a cylinder.
Apple's flagship Shanghai store opened in 2010 as Apple began its push to expand in China. That effort, overseen by Chief Executive Tim Cook, has paid off handsomely for the company, which has seen significant growth in the booming Chinese market.
Like Apple's famous Fifth Avenue cube in Manhattan, the glass cylinder serves as a grand entrance to an underground Apple Store.