Missing patent

Dirk Laureyssens is mostly known for his famous Happy Cube puzzle toy, which he claims he invented in 1986. Surprisingly, in spite of Dirk Laureyssens used to deposit thirty patent applications annually, his patent for his cube puzzle cannot be found.

As we promised in an earlier article, we are presenting here facts about how Dirk Laureyssens’ cube puzzle ideas are built upon another Belgian inventor’s patented invention, who met Dirk Laureyssens in the early ’80s, while Dirk Laureyssens worked at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

dirk laureyssens illusion
Master of political and social sciences Dirk Laureyssens

Family calls Dirk Laureyssens the Inventor of Happy Cube puzzle

Sofie Laureyssens speaks about his fathers invention

We need to add some corrections here. Although Dirk Laureyssens calls himself the inventor of the cube puzzle toy, and his family asserts that he protected “the idea of Happy Cube” in 1986, the only protection is by copyright as “art work”, and not as idea.

Over 40 million Happy Cubes sold

Over 40 million sold Happy Cubes

No doubt, Dirk and his family has been making a fruitful business out of the Happy Cube puzzles. We are only wondering, how much of profits went through Mr. Laureyssens’ offshore companies, and how much he makes out of this business without the knowledge of his family members, of whom he has separated long time ago.

Internet based searches indicate that companies Creative City S.A. of Panama and  Ben Ebki, Inc. or Delaware were involved in copyright affairs, and companies Hype Games and Planet Premium S.L. were involved in manufacturing the foam cube puzzles.

There have been heard some rumors about D.L. had a car accident, where the car hit a tree, while in a past video discussion, which was posted on YouTube, D.L. mentioned willing to drive in a tree in order to end his life, and in that moment he got enlightened, and got the inspiration out later for his Big Tube and Holon theories. The oddity is that D.L. was the passenger of the car, which was driven by a woman, and his wife threw him out of her house afterward. D.L. moved then from the family house of Zoersel to an apartment of Berchem, Antwerp. Company registry documents indicate, he changed the address of his company I-Graphics C.V.B.A to Antwerp (Berchem) in the spring of 1999, but he may moved earlier, according to Internet archive records of his business card designs recorded on May 24, 1998.

web archive 1998-05-24

After a while a a surprising announcement appeared on Dirk Laureyssens website for marketing his foam cube puzzles:

“Till recently the Happy Cubes (® of Happy n.v.) were exclusively licensed to the Belgian company Happy n.v.. This license has fully stopped. Happy n.v. has no longer the right to manufacture nor sell these puzzles, neither sell other puzzles created by Dirk Laureyssens. All inquiries related to these puzzles and possible exclusive distribution licenses can be send directly to Dirk Laureyssens. In the future these puzzles will carry another brandname.”

happy cubes license to happy nv fully stopped 2002

Was that related to Mr. Laureyssens tactics for the distribution of property during his divorce?

Inventor accused of fraud – article published in newspaper Het Volk, November 10, 1994

A newspaper article of Het Volk brought up a less know aspect of Dirk Laureyssens activity as inventor.

Inventor Dirk Laureyssens accused by fraud - Het Volk 1994-11-10

Transcript translated in English from the Flemish Dutch original:

ANTWERP — The Antwerp public prosecutor has got a complaint against the inventor of the popular game Happy Cube. Erich Parein, who is himself an inventor, does the complaint. Parein claims the inventor of Happy Cube is not Dirk Laureyssens but a bedridden elderly from Brussels. Laureyssens is accused of scams, but he speaks vehemently against.

Laureyssens was last seen even in the VTM program Iambers, during the episode on “Inventors in Flanders.” In 1981 he worked at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. When a Brussels resident would register as a patent, that has been commercialized with a lot of success a few years later by Laureyssens, without the knowledge of the owner actual inventor, says Parein.

Laureyssens denies that in all possible ways. He mentioned the Brussels elderly has indeed invented “something”, but it was, according to him, not to be compared and not called Happy Cube. Laureyssens admits that the invention of Brussels has been the basis for the subsequent Happy Cube. He calls it figment of Brussels man, who invented a “musical note”, while the Happy Cube 1981 is a “complete musical piece”.


Het Volk Nov 10 ’94

Inventor Eric Parein strove a court case against Dirk Laureyssens

Eric Parein
Inventor Eric Parein accuses Dirk Laureyssens of deception

GVA 20/11/01 – HAPPY CUBE, Eric Parein, Antwerp
To my dismay I read how Dirk Laureyssens himself once called the inventor of the Happy Cube (Antwerp Gazette November 12). For years I have owned the evidence that this is not the case. He owns the patent no. Credit where credit is due, the Happy Cube has many fathers. Gerald Freedman (USA, 1974), Sukeo Tsurumi (Japan, 1975) and Joseph From (Belgium, 1981) designed similar foam cubes. In an old interview Laureyssens even admitted that he has made the Happy Cube out to the design of a man of Brussels (J.From). The lawsuit which I strove against Laureyssens in 1996 was dropped, which does not mean that the man may continue to call himself the inventor of the Happy Cube and thereby continue to mislead people in order to take him into confidence.

During an earlier lawsuit by Dirk Laureyssens v. Idea Group Inc. defendant challenges the originality of the Happy Cubes

Laureyssens v Idea Group Inc cube puzzle patents

In the early ’90s Mr. Laureyssens sued at U.S.A. court the maker and distributor of Snafooz foam puzzles, which are of similar look to his Happy Cube. As we know, he put  much effort, but he had no success.

The defendant contested the originality of Laureyssens’s puzzle toy, and has shown exhibits of toy puzzles and patents relating to cubes and cube puzzles.

Here are two of them, which were patented by their inventors in the ’70s.

Illustration of Tsurumi patent of December 9, 1975 US3924376-1
Patent Number 3,924,376, issued on December 9, 1975 to Sukeo Tsurumi
Illustration of Freedman patent of June 25, 1974 US3819188-1
Patent Number 3,819,188, issued to Gerald Allen Freedman

In case of Dirk Laureyssens’ puzzles, they were not patented as invention, and they were protected by copyright as “Art work”. According to interpretation of the Court, “original, as the term is used in copyright, means only that the work was independently created by the author (as opposed to copies from another work), and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity.” The Laureyssens Puzzles clearly meet this standard of originality, and are therefore deserving of protection as original works.

Finally, because Laureyssens has not established a serious question as to whether IGI’s SNAFOOZ Puzzles infringe his copyrights, the motion for a preliminary injunction under the Copyright Act has been denied.

Why Laureyssens’ cube puzzle toy has not been patented as invention?

The answer is simple, because already there is Belgian patent for a construction toy made of foam elements, invented by a man of Brussels, Mr. Joseph From. The patent is granted on March 3rd, 1982 to AMPLIKART P.V.B.A., Joseph From’s company.

Amplikart PVBA patent November 30, 1981 Jeu de construction BE890956A1
Patent Number BE 890,956, issued to AMPLIKART P.V.B.A.

Another Belgian Inventor, Eric Parein points at the facts, that Dirk Laureyssens  was employed at the Ministry of Economic affairs, and had access to all new patent applications. He compares him with a character of popular Flemish comics strips, professor Gobelijn. Professor Gobelijn is a scientist (according to his own words, professor of everything). This is also on the nameplate at the entrance gate of his house, a stately mansion with a vast domain. He has his own laboratory now and then flying in the air.

Joseph From GVA 12.11.01 – DAGTHEMA – Nieuwe professors Gobelijn VONDST – Happy Cube begin van succesverhaal ZOERSEL, Berchem – In 1986 vond Dirk Laureyssens uit Zoersel de Happy Cube uit. Drie jaar later was het speelgoedje een absolute hit. De man is een van de meest succesrijke en gedreven uitvinders van Belgie. Hij kon er zelfs zijn beroep van maken. Laureyssens deponeert zo’n dertig patenten per jaar. Hij kan zonder te slapen zeventig uren doorwerken aan een uitvinding. De minst interessante patenten laat Dirk verlopen, omdat anders de kosten te hoog worden. Achteraf gezien soms spijtig, want zo liet hij het patent voor de double Magnum (de frisco) verlopen. Iemand anders ging met zijn idee aan de haal en verdiende er veel geld aan. De essentie van Dirks werk is dat je je als uitvinder nooit mag neerleggen bij de bestaande wereld. Weinigen weten het, maar eigenlijk is de Furby een Belgische uitvinding. “Met mijn interactieve pop Kelly ben ik in 1994 naar de speelgoedbedrijven gegaan. Toen waren ze zogezegd niet geinteresseerd, maar vorig jaar brachten ze zelf de Furby uit. Bijna exact hetzelfde als Kelly. In mijn geval was het een pop, maar ik hield de mogelijkheid open om er een pluchen beest van te maken.” Dirk Laureyssens ging zelfs nog een stap verder. Via internet konden er talen op de pop worden gedownload, zodat ze de kinderen kon leren spreken. Op dit moment is hij bezig met een totaal nieuw goksysteem via internet. Als je weet dat on line casino’s vorig jaar een waarde van een triljoen dollar vertegenwoordigde en Laureyssens zeker weet dat zijn uitvinding zal slagen, is zijn bedje weer gespreid.

Raw machine translation:
Joseph From GVA 12.11.01 – day theme – New professors Gobelijn FIND – Happy Cube early success ZOERSEL, Berchem – In 1986 Dirk Laureyssens invented Zoersel from the Happy Cube. Three years later, the toy was an absolute hit. The man is one of the most successful and passionate inventors of Belgium. He could even make his profession. Laureyssens deposits thirty patents annually. He can not sleep seventy hours working on an invention. The least interesting patents expired late Dirk, otherwise the cost is too high. In hindsight sometimes sad because he had the patent for the double magnum (the Frisco) expired. Someone else went with his idea of the pull and earned a lot of money. The essence of Dirk’s work is that you should never put your inventor in the existing world. Few know it, but actually the Furby is a Belgian invention. “With my interactive doll Kelly, I went to the toy companies in 1994. When they were supposedly not interested, but last year they brought themselves Furby out. Almost exactly the same as Kelly. In my case it was a doll, but I loved the possibility to make a plush beast. ” Dirk Laureyssens even went a step further. Through the internet there were languages for download on the doll, so that she could learn to speak to the children. Currently he is working on a totally new gaming system over the internet. If you know that online casinos represented a value of one trillion dollars last year and Laureyssens sure his invention will succeed his bed spread again.

While Mr. Laureyssens makes a fortune with his Happy Cube puzzle,  the Brussels man Joseph From gets ill, and ends with a fatal heart attack.

Joseph From, inventor of Brussels, Belgium, holding a model of his invention

Another genial inventor, the Dutch Romke Jan Sloot dies suddenly in a heart attack, after he deposited the prototype of his invention to the accountant of rich investors.

Romke Jan Sloot
Inventor Romke Jan Sloot

That will be another story. Those, who can read and understand the Dutch language, can read about Jan Sloot and his invention on the website http://jansloot.telcomsoft.nl/.

UPDATE: Interview with Ben Sloot, son of inventor Jan Sloot

We will uncover more facts about the unknown background of Dirk Laureyssens’ patent application very soon. How is possible to come up monthly with several new inventions?

Dirk Laureyssens, have you invented the Happy Cube, or have you stolen the idea from the AMPLIKART patent? If you have invented it, then where is your patent of invention?