December 18, 2019
Rubik’s Brand Ltd., the creator of the Rubik’s Cube, has lost its 3D EU trademark after the EU General Court of Appeal declared it invalid. Rubik’s Brand Ltd. has been fighting since 2006 to gain a trademark over the iconic toy’s shape. However, EU trademark law prevents a company from getting a monopoly on technical solutions or functional characteristics of a product.
While Rubik’s Brand Ltd. originally had some success in defending the trademark, the company has suffered a series of losses since 2016. In 2016, the EU’s top court ruled that Rubik’s Brand Ltd. could not use the trademark to create a monopoly over the functional characteristics of the product, and in 2017 the EU’s Intellectual Property Office removed protection for the cube’s shape. Rubik’s Brand challenged this decision at the EU General Court. The EU General Court found that the essential characteristics of the shape are necessary to obtain the technical result of the rotating capability.
As a result, the Intellectual Property Office was correct in removing the trademark.
Authors: Sarah Stothart and Mark Leonard