Is Rubik's Cube a Trademark?

According to the judgment of 25 November 2014 (Case T-450/09) of the Court of Justice of the European Union, "the registration of the shape of the Rubik's Cube as a EU trademark is valid. The graphical representation of the cube does not involve a technical solution that prevents it to be protected as a trademark. "

The ruling solves a dispute arose as a result a registration request in front of the the application filed  in 1996, by Seven Towns a British company that manages the intellectual property rights related to the "Rubik's Cube" - for the registration as a Community trade mark of the three-dimensional shape of the cube to "puzzle in three dimensions.

In 1999 Seven Towns registered the famous cubes as a European trade mark. In 2006 Simba Toy, a German company that manufactures toys, filed for declaration of invalidity of the trademark.

According to the Court, the thick black lines that are part of that structure and appearing on the representations of the cube drawing a grid within them do not make any reference to a rotation capacity of the individual elements of the cube and, therefore, are not a technical function.

Indeed, the ability of rotation of the vertical and horizontal bands of the Rubik's cube is not derived from or black lines nor the grid structure, but by an internal mechanism of the cube that is invisible on its graphical representations. Consequently, the registration of the shape of the Rubik's Cube as a EU trademark can not be denied on the ground that it incorporates a technical function.

The Court also notes that the mark in question does not entitle the owner to prevent third parties to market all kinds of puzzles in three dimensions with a capacity of rotation, since the monopoly of commercialization of the owner is limited to the puzzle three dimensions having the shape of a cube whose faces are posted grid structure.

Finally, the Court considers that the cubic structure grid stand considerably from the representations of other puzzles in three dimensions on the market. This structure is therefore equipped with a distinctive character that enables consumers to identify the producer of the goods for which the mark is registered.

The ruling can now be appealed before the Court of Justice within two months of its service.