Spain: El TJUE anula la sentencia que admitía el registro del "cubo de rubik" como marca tridimensional

Last Updated: 28 November 2016
Article by Clarke, Modet & Co
Most Read Contributor in Spain, October 2017

El Tribunal de Justicia de la UE anula la sentencia que admitía el registro del "cubo de rubik" como marca tridimensional y abre la cuestión a su carácter técnico o funcional.

En el año 2006 la compañía de juguetes Simba Toys solicitó la nulidad de la marca de la Unión Europea No. 162784, registrada desde 1999 por la empresa británica Seven Towns para puzles tridimensionales y consistente en la forma tridimensional del conocido cubo de rubik o cubo mágico.

Simba Toys fundamentó la acción en que la forma protegida responde a la capacidad de rotación o movimiento de los elementos individuales del puzzle. Solución técnica que debe protegerse por patente de invención y no como signo distintivo, debiéndose por tanto anular el mismo en base a la prohibición del artículo 7.1 e) RMUE.

La EUIPO rechazó las consideraciones de Simba Toys y desestimó la acción de nulidad, lo que fue confirmado por el Tribunal General de la Unión Europea alegando que la solución técnica consistente en la capacidad de rotación del Cubo de Rubik se debe a un mecanismo interior no visible y no a la forma tridimensional registrada.

Ahora el Tribunal de Justicia de la Unión Europea, en Sentencia de 10 de noviembre de 2016, anula las decisiones anteriores y pone de manifiesto que:

1. El objetivo que persigue la denegación de registro de los signos constituidos exclusivamente por la forma u otra característica de los productos necesaria para obtener un resultado técnico, es evitar monopolios sobre soluciones técnicas o sobre características de uso de un producto.

2. Para aplicar o no esta prohibición de registro hay que identificar los elementos o características esenciales del signo controvertido, y luego analizar si responden a una función técnica del producto.

3. El análisis anterior debe apreciarse a la luz de la función técnica del producto concreto de que se trate. 

Los elementos esenciales de la forma cubica analizada no fueron motivo de discusión, siendo éstos, el cubo y la estructura cuadriculada que figura en cada una de sus caras.

Por el contrario, la cuestión de si estos elementos responden a una función técnica es un punto controvertido que la EUIPO deberá analizar de nuevo.

En este sentido, el Tribunal de Justicia ha declarado que:

  • Las instancias inferiores hicieron un análisis erróneo basado únicamente en la representación gráfica del cubo registrado, sin tener en cuenta la función técnica del producto en cuestión. Es decir, las decisiones anuladas deberían haber analizado también los elementos no visibles, como son la capacidad de rotación o movilidad de un puzzle tridimensional del tipo cubo rubik. 
  • Además, al estar la marca registrada para puzles tridimensionales en general (es decir sin limitarse sólo a puzles con capacidad de rotación), la decisión que se adopte puede afectar a todos los fabricantes de puzles tridimensionales cuyos elementos representen la forma de un cubo y ello hace necesario tomar en consideración esta función técnica de rotación.

Por tanto, el nuevo análisis de funcionalidad que de la forma registrada del cubo de rubik realice la EUIPO deberá de tener en cuenta todos los extremos arriba indicados por el Tribunal de Justicia, quedando abierta la cuestión del carácter técnico o funcional de esta forma cúbica y por tanto la posibilidad de anular su registro como marca. Ello supondría para Seven Towns la perdida de la exclusiva que sobre dicha forma le confiere su registro europeo.

Clarke, Modet & Co - SPAIN

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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