International Puzzle Day

International Puzzle Day celebrates the birth of Dr. Erno Rubik, the inventor of Rubik’s Cube.

Rubik was born on July 13, 1944 in Budapest, Hungary during World War II. Rubik’s famous invention, the Rubik’s cube, became a worldwide craze in the 1980s. Within a year after the toy was first exported from Rubik’s native Hungary in May of 1980, sales of the toy topped five million. Manufacturers of the puzzle found it difficult to keep up with the skyrocketing demand, and production centers around the world had to be expanded.

Over 100 million Rubik’s cubes were sold between 1980 and 1982. The Rubik’s cube won the highest prize in Hungary for the best invention, as well as top toy awards around the world. The makers of the original Rubik’s cube, Ideal Toy Corporation, won lawsuits around the world against the makers of the fake cubes. Interestingly, the patent for the Rubik’s cube, a 1974 patent for the “Magic Cube,” applies only in Hungary. The toy is not protected from unauthorized copies under patent law. Instead, the Rubik’s cube is protected from reproductions as a work of art.

When Erno Rubik invented the toy in 1974, he created one hand-made cube, and part of his goal was to create a challenging three-dimensional puzzle with aesthetic value. Thus, the cube is protected by copyright law until 70 years after the death of its creator.

sThe Rubik’s cube was placed on exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1981. Rubik still lives in Hungry. He founded the Rubik Studio where he designed furniture and games. He became the president of the Hungarian Engineering Academy and created the International Rubik Foundation to support talented engineers and industrial designers. Today he is retired but the Rubik’s Studio continues its work with young designers.