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Trade mark puzzle solved - Rubik’s Cube 3D CTM found valid

28 November 2014

The community trade mark (CTM) for the shape of the famous Rubik’s cube puzzle has been found valid this week by the General Court. Simba Toys sought cancellation of Seven Town’s CTM on various grounds including that the mark consisted exclusively of the shape of goods “which is necessary to obtain a technical result” and that “it was devoid of distinctive character”. The court disagreed.

It found the representation of the mark only shows a cube, the surfaces of which bear a grid structure. A cube made up of elements with a rotatable function couldn’t be inferred from that. Furthermore a cube bearing a grid structure was not, at the application date, commonplace for three-dimensional puzzles (which exist in a multitude of shapes) and was inherently distinctive.

The narrow interpretation of the technical function grounds for invalidity applied in this decision is open to challenge. It will therefore be interesting to see if this decision is appealed to the CJEU.

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