Arthur S. Obermayer Cube Suit collection
The Arthur S. Obermayer Cube Suit collection is arranged into four series, two of which have been further divided into subseries. The materials are housed in 24 archival document boxes and two oversized folders.
- Majority of material found in 1982-1987
- Obermayer, Arthur S. (Person)
Conditions Governing Use
13.5 Linear Feet (24 boxes, 2 oversized folders)
In the meantime, Hungarian architecture professor Ernõ Rubik conceived of a 3 × 3 × 3 rotating cube puzzle in 1974; he received a Hungarian patent on the puzzle one year later. Produced originally in Hungary as the “Magic Cube,” Rubik’s puzzle caught the attention of Ideal in 1979. Ideal bought the distribution rights to the Magic Cube and renamed it the “Rubik’s Cube” after its inventor. The puzzle launched at several international toy fairs in early 1980, sparking the multi-year, worldwide Rubik’s Cube craze. (Ideal later produced official derivatives of the 3 × 3 × 3 Rubik’s Cube, including the 2 × 2 × 2 Pocket Cube and the 4 × 4 × 4 Rubik’s Revenge.)
Moleculon learned about the Rubik’s Cube during the spring of 1981 and contacted Ideal about potential patent infringement regarding the puzzle. After negotiations between Moleculon and Ideal failed, Moleculon examined its legal options, convinced that its U.S. patent on Nichols’ Cube had been breached by the Rubik’s Cube. In May 1982, Moleculon filed a complaint for patent infringement against Ideal Toy Corp. in the Federal District Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Later that same year, CBS, Inc. acquired Ideal and inherited the Moleculon lawsuit.
The original patent infringement suit—referenced by Obermayer as the “Cube Suit” —transpired over the course of two years. In October 1984, the Federal District Court judge ruled a $60 million settlement in favor of Moleculon. CBS filed its first appeal in 1985; the Court of Appeals affirmed that the 2 × 2 × 2 Pocket Cube infringed upon Nichols’ patent, but overturned the judgment on the 3 × 3 × 3 Rubik’s Cube. CBS (unsuccessfully) petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in 1986. Moleculon filed a final appeal against CBS in 1987, again claiming that the 3 × 3 × 3 Rubik’s Cube also infringed upon its cube patent, but the court did not agree.
System of Arrangement
Series I: Development, 1969-1984
Series II: 1982 patent infringement suit, 1960-1989
Subseries A: Legal documents and correspondence
Subseries B: Preparation and reference
Subseries C: Publicity
Series III: Appeals, 1985-1989
Subseries A: 1985 appeal
Subseries B: 1986 appeal
Subseries C: 1987 appeal
Series IV: Product knock-off suits, 1987-1990
- CBS, Inc.
- Court decisions and opinions
- Gustafson, William O.
- Ideal Toy Corporation
- Mathematical recreations
- Moleculon Research Corporation
- National Toy Hall of Fame inductee
- Nichols' Cube
- Nichols, Larry D.
- Patent infringement
- Patent infringement -- United States
- Patent laws and legislation
- Records and briefs
- Rubik's Cube
- Rubik, Ernõ
- Scientific property
- Slocum, Jerry
- Finding Aid to the Arthur S. Obermayer Cube Suit Collection, 1960-1990
- Julia Novakovic
- 1 September 2016
- Description rules
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA