eBay Shutting Down Rubik's Cube Knockoff Sales Due To Patent Infringement Claim (Not From Rubik's Maker)

from the keeping-track dept

Bram Cohen, who’s known for doing quite a bit of 3-dimensional puzzle design, alerts us to the news of eBay shutting down a bunch of auctions over some Dayan Guhong and Lingyun puzzles. The Dayan Guhong and Lingyun puzzles are, basically, quite similar to the traditional Rubik’s Cube, but designed to work a bit easier. You can see a video explaining the Guhong, which shows how it’s faster than a traditional Rubik’s cube.

Now, there are two separate, but equally interesting points of discussion here. The first is that eBay is apparently getting into the patent enforcement business. This case involved the use of eBay’s Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program, which is usually used by trademark owners to get counterfeits and such removed from eBay. I was unaware of it being used over patents until this case, and that’s a lot more troubling. A trademark claim is a lot easier (though, still not perfectly easy in many cases) to judge. A patent claim is a lot more difficult. Is eBay really claiming to be able to determine if a product on eBay infringes on someone else’s patent? And then is willing to kill auctions because of it? Furthermore, if the patent holder is really upset, shouldn’t it be going after those who are actually selling the cubes in question, rather than having eBay get in the middle?

The other issue is that there’s even a patent for this at all. The patent in question, 7,600,756, is somewhat well known in puzzle circles, in that it covers similar cube puzzles that go beyond the traditional Rubik’s 3x3x3 all the way up to 11x11x11. Even if you believe that everything from 4x4x4 to 11x11x11 are unique and patentable, it does seem to be a bit of a stretch to claim that the 3x3x3 is patentable. There are some differences in how the patent holder, Panayotis Verdes, designed his 3x3x3 from the original Rubik’s, but it was a design innovation (making certain parts spherical instead of cylindrical) that many toy puzzle designers came up with independently at about the same time (which would suggest “obviousness” and thus make it not patentable). Related to all of that, the company holding this patent, V-Cube, is not even making a 3x3x3, though it is making a variety of other cubes. So it’s basically trying to kill off the sales of the standard 3x3x3 cubes, even though they don’t compete with V-Cube.

Of course, the history of Rubik’s Cube is full of patent battles as well. It all kind of makes you wonder, what’s wrong with just letting puzzle makers come up with cool puzzles and then letting them compete in the market?

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: dayan, ebay, v-cube

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “eBay Shutting Down Rubik's Cube Knockoff Sales Due To Patent Infringement Claim (Not From Rubik's Maker)”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
15 Comments
Steevosays:

Ebay as patent examiner.....

It’s pretty incredible having eBay turn out to be the decider of whether a patent is infringed or not. I wonder how they got the idea they were qualified as patent examiners?

I thought that was what Federal judges were for.

This is by far the cheapest way to have your patent enforced- at essentially no cost.

Much less than a patent attorney. That would cost $25,000, at least.

Jose_Xsays:

Obviousness is questionable, but brokenness might be guaranteed

> (which would suggest “obviousness” and thus make it not patentable)

Many can come up with something without it being “obvious” to a person having ordinary skill in the art. Surely, if you have 10 engineers, only one, the brainiest one, need come up with it and without having thought it was obvious.

To me that several came up with something can suggest that patent law is broken in not respecting independent creation and in picking such a low bar to innovation (non-obviousness to PHOSITA) that even if we had a higher bar we’d still have multiple parties coming up with the invention independently.

staffsays:

Please stop writing about patents

“what’s wrong with just letting puzzle makers come up with cool puzzles and then letting them compete in the market”

Unfair business practice. Many states have these types of laws. In general, it would be unfair for someone to copy what someone else created without the permission of the inventor. Please stop writing about patents. If you haven’t figured it out by now, you never will.

Re: Please stop writing about patents

Unfair business practice. Many states have these types of laws. In general, it would be unfair for someone to copy what someone else created without the permission of the inventor. Please stop writing about patents. If you haven’t figured it out by now, you never will.

Competition. Many working economies encourage competition. In general, it would be unfair to block competitors from competing in an open market when it improves the overall economic outlook for all participants. Please stop commenting on free markets. If you haven’t figured it out by now, you never will.

Anonymoussays:

“Is eBay really claiming to be able to determine if a product on eBay infringes on someone else’s patent?”

Where did you get that from? They make it rather clear that they don’t judge infringement claims at all. Besides ebay’s help pages, I suggest “VeRO for Dummies”, it’s a good read.

“making certain parts spherical instead of cylindrical”

Conical. Not spherical.

“that many toy puzzle designers came up with independently at about the same time”

Name one.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it