Seven Towns – the UK based maker of the iconic Rubik’s cube has successfully fought off a challenge brought by German toy manufacturers – Simba Toys. The European Union General court has ruled that the registration of the shape of the Rubik’s cube as a Community trade mark is valid.
In 2006 Simba toys filed a cancellation action at the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market. The company argued that it was the Rubik cube’s capability to rotate that made it unique, and therefore it was protectable only by patent and not by a trademark.
The European Union’s office for Harmonisation has rejected the arguments put forward by Simba Toys and has ruled that the “essential characteristics of the contested mark, are the cube per se and the grid structure which appears on each of its surfaces”. Further in the judgement the General Court commented: “the black lines and more generally, the grid structure on each surface of the cube in question do not perform, or are even suggestive of, any technical function”. As such it can be registered as a shape trademark.
Written by: Fozia Cheychi – A Work Experience Student