Game over for Rubik’s cube
After several years of legal saga, the European Court declared the invalidity of the three-dimensional EU trademark Rubik’s cube on 24 October 2019.
The famous Rubik’s cube has been registered since 1999 as a three-dimensional EU trademark for “three-dimensional puzzles”.
The case started in 2006 when Simba Toys GmbH & Co. KG, a German toy manufacturer, filed an application for invalidity of the three-dimensional trademark on the ground that it contained a technical solution and can therefore not be protected as a trademark. However, considering that the technical solution results from an invisible mechanism inside the cube and not from the shape, the EUIPO and then, the European Union Court dismissed its action.
In 2016, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) , seized of an appeal, annulled the court's ruling and the EUIPO’s decision holding that they should have taken the non-visible elements into account when assessing and referred the case back to the EUIPO for re-evaluation.
The Office finally concluded in 2017 that the Rubik’s Cube 3D mark had been registered in breach of EU Trade Mark Regulation which excludes from registration trademarks that consist exclusively of the shape of goods that is necessary to obtain a technical result.
The ECJ confirms this new decision and decides to cancel the trademark protection for Rubik’s Cube in 2019.
This decision highlights once again the difficulties in obtaining and enforcing three-dimensional trademarks.
We would be happy to assist you with obtaining the most adequate protection for your projects.