Some time ago I have created an Android application as a part of my bachelor's thesis. The application can advice user how to solve Rubik's Cube, and user also can play the Cube using touchscreen. During creation of application I have noticed the image rights statement at https://eu.rubiks.com/info/image-rights/ and https://eu.rubiks.com/info/usage-rights-faq/.
I was quite confused by this information, and so I contacted Rubik's Brand Ltd. I briefly described my application and attached some screenshots to my email. Their response follows:
Rubik's has an exclusive license for Apps in place. As such we cannot allow publication of any app using the Rubik's Cube. We are aware that several such apps do exist and regularly take these down via our legal team. I realise this is disappointing for you and you are welcome to produce the app for personal or school project use. However, we cannot allow publication. I am sorry we cannot be more helpful this time.
This message was really quite disappointing, but .. is that even possible? How Rubik’s Brand Ltd. can have "exclusive license for Apps in place"? Have they any right for this restriction? And how can anyone restrict image representation of basically 27 cubes arranged into shape of cube? And even in any color? Most confusing thing is that Ernö Rubik himself has Google+ account where he is posting some images of Rubik's Cubes almost everyday. I am really sure that creators of these images didn't asked Rubik's Brand Ltd for any permission. It is really strange for me.. It is also known that Rubik's Cube patents expired already.
Can I somehow legalize my application? (by changing name, changing colours of the Cube, avoid 3x3x3 Cube.. please advice anything)
They also wrote that they "are aware that several such apps do exist and regularly take these down via our legal team", but apps which I have installed one year ago are still at Google Play. I suspect that this could be just monopolistic behaviour because Rubik's Cube has its "official application" at Google Play.
There are some screenshots (posting this is probably also illegal!) of my application:
Thanks in advance!