Lucas Loses Copyright Fight Over Stormtroopers

Helmet designer can keep selling replicas: UK Supreme Court
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2011 2:36 PM CDT
Filmmaker George Lucas has lost a lawsuit against the man who designed the Stormtrooper helmet for 'Star Wars.'   (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

(Newser) – For at least one day, the force is not with George Lucas. The head of the Star Wars empire has lost a lawsuit against a prop designer over the right to sell replica Imperial Stormtrooper helmets, reports the BBC. The UK Supreme Court ruled that Andrew Ainsworth—who designed the iconic helmet in 1976 and kept the molds—will be permitted to sell replicas, though not in the US, notes AP.

Ainsworth argued that he owned intellectual property of the helmet as a utilitarian object, while Lucas saw it as a sculpture that belongs to Lucasfilm. The ensuing legal battle lasted five years and could have cost Ainsworth $20 million if the judgment went the other way. "If you employ someone to design and sculpt it [a helmet] for you, surely by definition that would have to be a work of art," says the owner of a Star Wars fansite who sides with Lucas. "The drawings done and things that come out of that are all art."

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