In 1974, a Hungarian inventor Erno Rubik created a solid cube with colored stickers that twisted and turned without falling apart; which is now eminently known as Rubik’s cube. Rubik’s cube is a multicolored puzzle that has kept all hands busy since its creation. It is said that there are “43 quintillion” ways to align all the sides in an evenly colored manner and Rubik himself took a month to work out the solution.
Erno Rubik says “IF YOU ARE CURIOUS, YOU’LL FIND THE PUZZLES AROUND YOU. IF YOU ARE DETERMINED, YOU WILL SOLVE THEM. ”
The game which one in seven people alive have played, recently won the right to European Union trademark protection, fending off a challenge from a German toymaker, Simba Toys.
An eight-year battle over the trademark of the Rubik’s Cube’s shape ended with ruling that the mark does not involve a technical solution to the puzzle that would exempt it from protection.
Seven Towns, a UK company which manages inter alia intellectual property rights relating to the ‘Rubik’s Cube’, registered the shape of the cube with the EU’s Trademark Office (OHIM) in 1999. A German toy manufacturer, Simba Toys had brought to the OHIM in 2006 that it was the toy’s technical rotating capability that made it unique.
The company argued that the technical solution can only be protected by a patent and not a trademark. It claimed that it performed a purely technical function. But the EU General Court in Luxembourg rejected the claims agreeing that the cube’s distinctive surface is eligible for the EU-wide right.
“The black lines and, more generally, the grid structure on each surface of the cube in question do not perform, or are not even suggestive of, any technical function,” the EU court said. The EU trademark is granted for three-dimensional puzzles of the same shape with the same grid structure, without blocking other toymakers from creating differently shaped puzzles that rotate in a similar way, the court said.
Photo Credit: yamada kiyohero /www.flickr.com / CC BY-SA 2.0
by Akshatha Karthik