Puzzle Solved – The Rubik’s Cube Is A Valid 3D Trade Mark

The European General Court has recently upheld the validity of a 3D trade mark protecting the iconic Rubik’s Cube toy.


The makers of the toy, Seven Towns Limited, were granted a Community trade mark for a black and white depiction of the toy in 1999.

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A competitor, Simba Toys GmbH & Co (“Simba”), applied to have the mark cancelled because the shape:

  • is devoid of distinctive character;
  • purely designates the quality and kind of the goods;
  • is necessary to obtain a technical result; and
  • imparts ‘ a technical advantage’ to the goods.

Particular attention was drawn to the thick black lines dissecting the cube, which Simba argued were a purely technical feature as they designated the mechanism which allows a person to ‘solve’ the puzzle.

The court held the mark was distinctive and Simba failed to demonstrate the structure of the cube represented a ‘norm’ in 3D puzzles. Further, there was nothing in the appearance of the mark to indicate the mechanics of the cube which are ‘hidden’ under the black lines. Therefore none of the distinctive characteristics of the trade mark derive from a ‘technical function’.

This judgment is good news for owners of 3D trade marks, which by their nature are more likely to depict an object with a ‘function’ than their 2D equivalent. For further information, please contact our trade marks team.