i checked Rubik's cube image rights and i'm still confused about the legal protection of Rubik's cube. I know the patent expired and their 3d trademark lost a case in EU.

Does this imply they don't own the exclusive rights to the concept of 3x3x3 cube with rotating sides?

Can I legally manufacture and sell a blank wooden 3x3x3 block that rotates with no pictures/color? (under the assumption that rotating mechanics are different)

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    Concepts cannot be patented or trademarked or copyrighted. Only expression of various sorts can be (and by a different type of protection according to details).
    – user4657
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 7:20
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    Concepts can be patented, even though they cannot be trademarked or coyprighted.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 14:06
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    A concept with a workable implementation spelled out can be patented. A "blue sky" concept shouldn't earn a granted patent. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 4:44
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    @GeorgeWhite The reason the "blue sky" concept shouldn't earn a granted patent is not because it is a concept, it is because it is expressly excluded as an exception to patentability, not under the general rule.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 22:54
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    @ohwilleke - Incorrect - to get a patent the specification must enable the claims, meaning that it must teach someone of ordinary skill in the arts how to make and use the claimed invention without undue experimentation. This is fundamental to the societal benefit of the patent system. As I understand the term "blue sky" that would not be possible to do. You might be thinking of "abstractness", a different can of worms. I highly respect your answers and comments as one of the few actual attorneys who post. I am one of the very few people who have passed the USPTO patent bar exam who post. Commented May 19, 2020 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


This patent was found https://patents.google.com/patent/US6974130B2/en, which expired in 2014 for failure to pay maintenance fees. Looking at the patents which cite it, and also show prior art, may help paint the picture of the developed patent status.

There are also numerous blogs and articles on the cube and it's history.


This one covers some initial patent infringement against Ideal. https://ruwix.com/the-rubiks-cube/rubiks-cube-patent-intellectual-property/

The wiki on the toy also has patent history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik%27s_Cube

When I took a patent course at HLS, one of the final exam questions, which I did not elect to answer was on the Rubik's cube. It is a complex story.

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    Can you summarize the situation now? A list of links is useful, but it's not actually an answer. Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 7:14

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