The IPKat's scholarly friend Guido Westkamp has drawn his attention to a decision last week by the Bundesgerichtshof (the German Supreme Court) that Lego toy bricks can no longer be registered as three-dimensional trade marks (Decision of 16.7. 2009 – I ZB 53/07 and 55/07). The full text of the decision is not yet available, but you can read all about it in German via this press release.
"The court asserted that, in assessing registrability as a three dimensional trade mark under Article 3(2)of the Trade Marks Act, the square form of the bricks must be disregarded altogether (this being the basic form of any such product in the respective class for toys), whereas the 'pimples' on the brick's upper side were purely functional. This rulng confirmed an earlier decision of the Patent Office which ordered revocation of the mark. Effectively,this means that Lego can rely neither on trade marks nor on unfair competition (the latter point having been decided in 2004) in seeking to protect its brick shapes".Exciting things to do with Lego bricks here and here