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UK judges reject Lucas' appeal in Star Wars helmet case

This is not the judgment he was looking for

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A trio of senior UK judges have rejected George Lucas' claims that a propmaker for the original Star Wars film had breached his copyright by selling Imperial stormtrooper outfits.

Shepperton-based Andrew Ainsworth made the helmets for the original Star Wars movie - which was largely filmed in the UK. Over 30 years on, he now sells stormtrooper suits and helmets for up to £1800 a pop.

However, Lucasfilm objected to his trade, and won a $10m damages judgment against him in the US courts in 2006 for copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition.

However, last year a British court declined to enforce the judgment over here. The case was swiftly moved to the court of appeal.

Today, the UK judges rejected Lucasfilm's appeal. They declared the suits were not works of art, and therefore not subject to copyright law. They also declined to enforce the US judgment in the UK.

More broadly, The Telegraph reports that the judges rejected Lucasfilm's claim that the English courts should allow the US courts jurisdiction in cases involving internet trading, even if the trader doesn't have a physical presence there.

This should leave Ainsworth free to sell his outfits to Stormtrooper wannabes throughout the universe - except the US.

However, every Lucas project spawns a sequel and this is no exception - the courts have yet to decide who will foot the legal costs for the case. ®

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