Rubik’s cube success story

The world’s most popular Puzzle had problems of Its own to solve

Mike Townend, Managing Director of Rubiks Brand Ltd, thinks the cooperation with Yellow Brand Protection has given amazing results Rubik’s cube
Mike Townend, Managing Director of Rubiks Brand Ltd, thinks the cooperation with Yellow Brand Protection has given amazing results

When professor Ernö Rubik invented the cube in 1974, he was trying to find a fun way to explain space and geometry to his students. Little could he have known that he had designed the world’s most popular puzzle. More than 350 million of his cubes have been sold worldwide, bringing joy and frustration to millions of people. It is one of the world’s most recognized brands – and every brand abuser’s dream.

A puzzle had turned into a problem

When we turned to Yellow Brand Protection for help, we had major issues with brand abuse,” says Mike Townend, Managing Director of Rubik’s Brand Ltd. “There were lots of copies on the market under other names. And because Rubik’s Cube is so well known, sellers used the brand name to promote their own products, whether it was furniture, jewellery or mobile phone cases. Many don’t realise it’s a registered trademark, they think it’s a category. Although sometimes unintentional, it’s still trademark abuse. It has cost us a fortune – in legal fees and lost revenues.

It’s a special feeling to work with a cult brand

Talking to Lella Brauner, Managing Director UK of Yellow Brand Protection, it soon becomes clear that Rubik’s Cube is close to her heart. “This is a classic brand. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t at least tried to solve it. It has a cult following all over the world, with countless Facebook groups and fan clubs.” The challenge Lella Brauner and her team faced was a tough one. The brand was being abused in many different ways and across a variety of channels – from online marketplaces to websites, social media and apps.

We can’t protect what we don’t understand

The first thing the team at Yellow Brand Protection did was to learn everything they could about Rubik’s Cube. Lella Brauner explains: We had a lot of homework to do. First, we had to go through all the brand registrations to make sure our client had the law on their side. Then we had to understand the brand itself – its history and heritage – and interact with the fans. As part of that process, we learned to distinguish the most common copies from the original – thanks to access to the client’s extensive image bank.

Infringements everywhere

The next step for Yellow Brand Protection was to find copies in as many distribution channels as they could. It was time-consuming detective work, requiring patience and knowledge, says Lella Brauner. The biggest problems were on Asian online marketplaces and websites. We also found many unauthorized listings in social media as well as fake applications in app stores. Our sophisticated Yellow Management System, which monitors 500 online marketplaces, was a big help.

A soft approach leads to tough action

To achieve results, Yellow Brand Protection adopts a soft approach, not least in order not to offend the large amounts of fans all over the world. “We have found good relations – not only with the owners of online marketplaces but the sellers, too – are crucial in achieving a lasting impact. We also involved Rubik’s distributors, asking for information that allowed Rubik’s Brand to take action,” Lella Brauner explains.

97.5% satisfied so far

Over the first eight months, Yellow Brand Protection has analysed some 163,000 listings, of which 8,722 were found to be unauthorized. Of those, 8,505 have been removed so far – an enforcement rate of 97.5%. That’s a good hit rate, says Lella Brauner, although we’re never satisfied until every illegal listing has been removed.

Amazing results

Mike Townend at Rubik’s Brand admits to having had reservations about partnering with an online brand protection provider. I wasn’t convinced it was the right approach. But I’m delighted to say I was wrong. The results have been amazing. In some parts of the world, where we used to have major issues, we are not having any trouble at all. It’s been an incredible transformation.

Services deployed in the assignment

  • Brand Protection and Online Enforcement. Over 500 online marketplaces have been monitored. Infringements have also been detected on 40 websites and on over 50 pages and listings on Facebook.
  • App monitoring. Covering all major app platforms – including iOS AppStore, Google Play and Windows Phone – we detected and enforced infringements on some 60 apps.
  • Domain Protection. Monitoring of domain names – including enforcement, if necessary.