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UK’s Supreme Court Rules Against George Lucas Over Stormtrooper Helmet Design Lawsuit

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Like we’ve been saying for the past couple of days, it’s a week full of closures to high-profile lawsuits. We’ve very nearly reached the end of the week, so let’s continue, shall we? The legal battle that started more than seven years ago between filmmaker George Lucas‘ company Lucasfilm and designer Andrew Ainsworth has finally come to something of an end, though we’ll believe it’s finally over when we see it. After winning a $20 million copyright infringement suit in the US against Ainsworth for selling replicas of the iconic Star Wars Stormtrooper helmets (which he himself had originally helped design), the company took the fight to the UK, where the designer was still making them available for purchase without their permission, nor the hefty licensing fee that presumably goes with such a thing. However, after losing both that original lawsuit and then its appeal, Lucas decided to fight back one last time by taking the case all the way to the UK’s Supreme Court, and bringing in big guns like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg as vocal support. However, it apparently wasn’t enough to sway the court and Lucas has once again lost the fight. “If there is a Force, then it has been with me these past five years,” Ainsworth told the AFP. However, Lucas did wind up making a slight inroad, with the court ruling that “that the director’s copyright had been infringed in the United States by the 62-year-old designer selling his work there, paving the way for proceedings to be brought in England over the alleged breaches.” So while the company was able to chip a tiny bit away, they clearly aren’t thrilled with this third rejection, judging from the press release they issued shortly after the verdict. Here’s a bit:

The decision unfortunately also maintains an anomaly of British copyright law under which the creative and highly artistic works made for use in films — which are protected by the copyright laws of virtually every other country in the world — may not be entitled to copyright protection in the UK . Lucasfilm remains committed to aggressively protecting its intellectual property rights relating to Star Wars in the UK and around the globe through any and all means available to it, including copyright, trademark, design patents and other protections afforded by law. We encourage the UK government’s recent efforts to modernize its copyright and design laws to afford full protection to three dimensional artistic works.

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