Rubik’s cube judgment puts shape marks into question
The dispute stemmed from an application made by Simba toys claiming the Rubiks cube mark owned by Seven Towns was invalid as it was a sign that consisted of the shape of goods and is necessary to obtain a technical result.
The claim for invalidity of the mark was first considered by the General Court who dismissed the claim stating that the mark was valid and Simba Toys claims were unfounded.
This was appealed by Simba to the CJEU.
The CJEU accepted the General Court’s reasoning in relation to the essential characteristics of the cube but disagreed in the dismissal of Simba’s technical function argument.
It was held that the General Court should not have just assessed the marks technical function based on the graphical representation but on the mark as a whole, with consideration on the non visual elements including the mechanism on the inside.
In light of this, the CJEU set aside the earlier decision, holding that the graphical representation of the Rubiks cube could not be registered as a trade mark, because the shape is a result of the technical function of the product.
It is unclear the true impact of this on other shape marks and future registrations, however it will certainly change the situation as it stands.
Contact The Trademarkroom today to kick-start your trade mark application.
By Ellis Sweetenham