28 February 2018Trademarks

Rubik’s Cube owner hits out over tutorial videos

The owner of the Rubik’s Cube is taking on a US-based company that is allegedly using the puzzle’s trademarks in tutorial videos.

Rubik’s Brand, which produces the puzzle—made by Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik in 1974—sued  TheCubicle at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday, February 26.

Approximately 40 million Rubik’s Cube puzzles have been sold in the US, with upwards of 100 million cubes being sold worldwide, Rubik’s Brand said.

TheCubicle sells twist puzzles to US customers and, according to the claim, has published videos that promote its puzzles using the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ trademark (US number 1,242,974).

The videos provide viewers with information on how to solve the puzzle cubes. However, the cube used in the video is not a “genuine” Rubik’s Cube puzzle, Rubik’s Brand said, but instead is a puzzle sold by TheCubicle.

“As of the filing date of this complaint, the first infringing video has over 6.2 million views, the second infringing video has over 52,000 views and the third infringing video has over 25,000 views,” said the claim.

That’s not all—TheCubicle has also allegedly published a pamphlet on how to solve the puzzles and used the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ trademark next to TheCubicle’s logo.

Rubik’s Brand went on to claim that TheCubicle is aware of the “extraordinary and valuable goodwill” symbolised by the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ trademark and is attempting to trade on it.

The Rubik’s Cube owner is seeking injunctive relief, removal of the trademark from TheCubicle’s website, damages for wilful infringement and an account of profits.

Rubik’s Brand had sued TheCubicle in October 2017, but this was voluntarily dismissed in late January.

In early February, TheCubicle hit back and sued Rubik’s Brand, seeking declaratory judgment that TheCubicle had not violated the trademark rights of Rubik’s Brand.

TheCubicle also sought cancellation of four of Rubik’s Brand trademarks.

A spokesperson for Rubik’s Brand said: “As a family business that has been looking after the cube and the Rubik's Brand, we have always taken infringement very seriously. While we only take legal action as a last resort, we do work with preeminent legal advisors in dozens of jurisdictions.”

In August last year, Rubik’s Brand  sued Duncan Toys Company and Toys “R” Us for allegedly creating and selling knock-off versions of the famous puzzle. The claim was withdrawn in mid-February.

In late 2016, Europe’s highest court  ruled that the shape of the Rubik’s Cube is not a trademark, a move that David Kremer, president of Rubik’s Brand, claimed “sets a damaging precedent for companies wishing to innovate and create strong brands and distinctive marks within the EU”.

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More on this story

30 August 2017   The company that owns the rights to the Rubik’s Cube has sued Duncan Toys Company and Toys “R” Us for allegedly creating and selling knock-off versions of the famous puzzle.
10 November 2016   The shape of the Rubik’s Cube is not a trademark, according to a decision by Europe’s highest court.