US customs wants to stop chasing Pac-Man and Rubik's Cube knock-offs

Emma Haslett
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US customs officials will stop sniffing out counterfeit Pac-Man videogames if the ban is lifted (Source: Getty)

Pac-Man may still be cool from an ironic perspective - but let's face it, when you put it next to modern video games like Call of Duty, it doesn't really compare.

But that hasn't stopped US customs officials from their crusade against rip-off artists: the coin-operated arcade version of the video game has been the subject of an official "exclusion order", which bans US businesses from importing Pac-Man knock-offs, since 1982.

But the US International Trade Commission (ITC) thinks it can use the time it spends sniffing out counterfeit, er, Pac-Men (Pac-Mans?) better. In fact, it's asked a trade panel to lift the restrictions on trademarks covered by six import bans, including ones on Rubik's Cubes (or, as the ITC puts it, "certain cube puzzles"), cardboard kaleidoscopes, and "certain novelty glasses", the origin of which we can only speculate over.

This doesn't necessarily mean that, for example, a flood of Rubik's Cube wannabes will now enter the market: the ITC is asking for public input over whether it should lift the import bans - meaning if Hasbro, the toy's manufacturer, still feels its trademark is worth defending, it can apply to have the ban kept in place.

Nevertheless, we're choosing to look forward to a new, more egalitarian era of Pac-Man and Rubik's Cubing. To celebrate, let's all watch a video of the 2013 "speed cubing" championship.

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