A British appeals court has ruled that these helmets are not copyrightable works of art and therefore, Lucasfilm can’t prevent Andrew Ainsworth from selling replicas of the helmets. The $20 million lawsuit against Ainsworth has dragged on for five years and may continue still as Lucasfilm says it is prepared to appeal the case up to Britain’s Supreme Court.
In the decision yesterday, a judicial panel ruled that the helmet and armor of the Stormtrooper costumes had a “utilitarian,” rather than an artistic, purpose, so “neither the armour nor the helmet are sculpture.”
Previously, Lucas won a $20 million judgment against Ainsworth in a California court in 2006. He’s been unable to get British courts to enforce the decision.
Friend of the Blog and Jedi litigator Craig Mende notes:
“I like the idea that the UK court felt that an unusual looking helmet designed to protect fictional space beings from fictional lasers fired by other fictional space beings was “utilitarian.” Shows what a bigot the U.S. judge was who ruled the other way. He must have refused to look at this from the point of view of those poor fictional space beings! (Makes you wonder about that case where doll clothes were held non-utilitarian. The judge in that case must not have understood the plight of those poor little naked dolls who need clothes!)”