One cube to rule them all: a case-study of the Rubik's Cube, its imitators, a threatened community and intellectual property rights

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Overzealous claims and enforcement of IP rights not only peril creativity and innovation but may also threaten a community and its cultural practices. This article highlights this issue through a case-study of the Rubik’s Cube, which is protected by a thicket of intellectual property rights. Its owners and licensees have enforced their rights relentlessly over the past decades, which in turn, threatens the speedcubing community which prefers to use rival puzzles which are superior to Rubik’s own cubes but are nevertheless deemed by Rubik’s to be mere pirated copies. This article’s approach is two-pronged: it scrutinises Rubik’s IP claims closely, and it casts a spotlight on the potentially negative impact that Rubik’s IP claims has on the existence and future of speedcubing as a sport and cultural pursuit. Speedcubing is not just a hobby; it provides a supportive and inclusive space for children and young people. Rubik’s IP claims threatens this very space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-205
Number of pages23
JournalIntellectual Property Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • copyright
  • trademarks
  • toys

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