George Lucas war with Star War designer ends in split decision

August 1st, 2008 - 3:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 1 (ANI): The copyright fight between Star Wars director George Lucas and designer of the original Imperial Stormtrooper helmet Andrew Ainsworth, has ended in a split decision.

The fight had started when Ainsworth offered unauthorized versions of the classic headgear on the Web to fans, which prompted Lucas to sue Shepperton Design Studios for infringing copyright.

Ainsworth on the other hand claimed that he had dreamt up the concept and should be allowed to sell his designs.

When the case came to the London courtroom, High Court Justice Anthony Mann ruled in both parties” favour on July 31.

Mann determined that Ainsworth did indeed violate Lucas” U.S. copyright on the Stormtrooper uniform by selling look-alike costumes online to customers in the United States.

Mann also denied Ainsworth’’s claim that he held the U.K. copyright to the white-clad character and was entitled to a cut of the some 24 billion dollars in merchandising revenue Lucasfilm has collected from the six Star Wars films.

However, the jurist also refused to uphold a 20 million dollars judgment Lucas won in California against Ainsworth’’s Shepperton Design Studios.

Reason being that the amount Ainsworth made out of selling his wares overseas out of his Twickenham prop shop, 50,000 dollars to 60,000 dollars, with some suits selling for as much as 3,600 dollars, wasn”t enough to make him vulnerable to American jurisdiction.

“We won,” E!online quoted Lucasfilm’’s lawyer, Mark Owen, as telling reporters after the dual decisions were handed down.

“At the end of the day, there is an order that Mr. Ainsworth infringed our copyright, and the next stage of the case will be discussing remedies for that,” he had stated.

Meanwhile, Ainsworth’’s attorney, Seamus Andrew, said the ruling meant that his client could sell his light-saber-resistant getups anywhere except the States.

Further hearings remain a possibility in case either side wanted to appeal today’’s ruling. (ANI)

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