The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has abolished the trademark protection for the so-called Rubik cube. Technical features like the rotatability of the cube parts can not be protected by a trademark, the ECJ ruled in a judgment announced on Thursday. The Rubik cube was invented several decades ago by the Hungarian engineer Erno Rubik. It is also called Magic Cube.
The German toy manufacturer Simba Toys had applied for the trademark and the dispute had lasted for ten years. The reasoning was that the applicable EU regulation should prevent a company from being granted “a monopoly for technical solutions or uses of a product” by means of trademark law. When examining the trade mark protection for the cube, the Court therefore had to take into account the technical function of the three-dimensional puzzle and the externally invisible rotability of its parts.
The contention by Rubik is not only the external shape of the cube that is three-dimensional but also the technical inner life, which allows for rotatability, must be taken into account. The Trademark Office and a first European court had rejected Simba’s contention that Rubik Claim is Technical and therefore does not come under Trademark Protection.
The highest European court now decided in favour of Simba Toys. According to the judges, the cube shape and lattice structure of the three-dimensional which is a technical function and can not be protected as a trademark.
The Impact is going to severe that many local players will now make and sell cheaper version of Rubik Cube.