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Anyone can make and sell a colorful, cube-shaped 3-D brainteaser with six twisting faces covered by nine square stickers — just don't call it a Rubik's Cube.

The Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice weighed in Wednesday on an intellectual property case that has puzzled Europeans for years, with a formal recommendation that "shapes with essential characteristics which are inherent in the generic function or functions of the goods" cannot be trademarked, La Stampa reports.

British firm Seven Towns manages rights for the original Rubik's Cube, which was invented by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik in 1974. Originally called the Magic Cube, the toy relies on an internal pivot mechanism to wind its color blocks in different directions. In 1999, Seven Towns secured a non-conventional trademark for the game's shape, which Germany's Simba Toys first challenged in 2006.

A final EU trademark decision is expected to confirm Wednesday's decision. But be forewarned, just because any old "Joe's Cube" may finally hit the market, it won't be any easier.

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Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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