The Rubik’s cube just won the right to European Union trademark protection, fending off a challenge from Simba a German toy maker that had applied an EU trademark in 2006 for the non-color representation of the cube. (see Bloomberg article here)
The European General Court dismissed Simba Toys action in its entirety, thus making it the biggest legal win yet in the Rubik Brand’s history.
In the words of David Kremer, President, Rubik’s Brand Ltd, “Rubik brand can now legally claim protection for any flat sided Cube with equally spaced orthogonal 3x3x3 grid whatever surface decoration within the toy and game category”.
Below is the full official press release from Rubik’s :
Rubik’s Cube: EU Court in Luxembourg confirmed trade mark protection
In 2006, Simba Toys, a German toy manufacturer, applied to the EU Trademark Office (OHIM) to have the Community (EU) trade mark protecting the non-coloured representation of the Rubik’s Cube cancelled mainly on the ground that it involves a technical solution. OHIM dismissed the application and Simba Toys therefore brought an appeal action before the European General Court (EGC).
With today’s judgment the European General Court dismissed the action of Simba Toys in its entirety. The Court confirmed that the cubic grid structure of the trade mark which appears on the representation of the Cube does not fulfil any technical function; therefore the registration of the shape of the Rubik’s Cube as a trade mark cannot be refused on the ground that that shape incorporates a technical function.
In addition, the Court found that the cubic grid structure of the mark differs significantly from other three-dimensional puzzles available on the market. That structure therefore has distinctive character which enables consumers to identify the producer of the goods in respect of which the mark is registered.
This decision may be appealed again to the European Court of Justice (ECJ – the highest authority in Europe) but only within the next two months and only either on procedural irregularities or because of an overarching conflict with EU legal principles. The ECJ rarely overturns the decisions of the EGC and does not go into the technical legal arguments of the Trademark.
There are other Rubik Cube infringement legal cases that were “stayed” pending the European General Court deliberation but now can be concluded with an almost certain chance of success in favour of the Rubik Trademark.
Effectively this decision allows the Rubik brand to claim protection for any flat sided Cube with equally spaced orthogonal 3x3x3 grid whatever surface decoration within the toy and game category.
Source: Rubik’s brand Dec 2, 2014
Rubik’s continues to fight against fakes around the world, with tens of thousands destroyed each year.
Its most recent win in October is a shipment of 40,000pcs of fake Rubik’s Cubes seized by the US Customs and Border Protection.
More about Rubik’s protection here: