Final nail in the helmet? UK Supreme Court rules against Lucasfilm for Stormtroopers
by Doc on Jul.27, 2011, under Television
It’s been going on for five years and two continents, and we last reported on it two years ago, but the long-running legal battle between Lucasfilm and prop designer Andrew Ainsworth appears to have reached an end. The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Ainsworth, saying that the Stormtrooper design was not protected as art and therefore the rights on it expired.
Ainsworth began selling replicas after he sold a helmet and other pieces he still had at auction for £60,000 in 2002. In 2004, Lucasfilm sued him for $20 million – and won in the U.S., but couldn’t collect since Ainsworth was in the U.K., so the lawsuit began over there. Although there was no formal contract signed between Lucasfilm and Ainsworth, it was ruled that there was an implied contract – but the court had to decide if the design was a “work of art” or simply industrial props – with the judgement being the latter.