George Lucas loses Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet battle

July 27th, 2011

George Lucas has lost a court battle with a prop designer over his right to sell replica 'Star Wars' Stormtrooper helmets.

Andrew Ainsworth - who sculpted the galactic warriors' headwear for the original 'Star Wars' movie in 1977 - has been selling copies in his shop in London although he has been banned from exporting them to the US.

While judges in the US have previously ruled the 62-year-old designer is infringing on the director's copyright by selling in the US, UK Supreme Court judges said yesterday (26.07.11) the helmets were functional and not artistic works, and therefore were not subject to full copyright laws.

Referencing the famous 'Star Wars' line "May the Force be with you", Andrew told Sky News: "If there is a Force, then it has been with me these past five years .

"I am proud to report that in the English legal system David can prevail against Goliath if his cause is right.

"I am delighted to have won the right to continue to make these replicas from the original tools and moulds."

In a statement after the ruling, Lucasfilm hit out saying: "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.

"The imaginative characters, props, costumes, and other visual assets that go into making a film are the creative works of artists in the UK and worldwide.

"These works of art should receive the full protection of UK copyright law, just as they do in the rest of the world. The UK should not allow itself to become a safe haven for piracy."