Wednesday, April 09, 2008

May the IP Force Be With You

According to press reports, George Lucas and his company Lucasfilm are suing Andrew Ainsworth, a London-based prop designer, for copyright infringement for selling replica Star Wars stormtrooper armor. Ainsworth, who produced costumes for the first Star Wars movie in 1976, is disputing the copyright. Lucas claims that he and Ralph McQuarrie, a designer who worked on all three films in the first trilogy, completed the stormtrooper design before turning it over to Ainsworth for production.

In the early 1980s, Lucas, McQuarrie and Joe Johnston patented several designs for toy action figures based on characters in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the second and third Star Wars film. These include:

D264,109 - Bobba Fett
D265,332 - Snowtrooper
D265,754 - Yoda
D268,942 - Imperial probe droid
D277,215 - Ewok