By Mark O’Neill
You have to feel sorry for the Imperial Stormtroopers. When they’re not getting their butts kicked by the Jedi Knights, they’re getting caught in the middle of a legal battle over who owns their clothes.
Andrew Ainsworth, the British prop designer who designed and made the original stormtrooper outfits for George Lucas in 1976, is now being sued by Emperor Lucas after he started making new stormtrooper outfits from the original moulds and then selling them for 1,800 British pounds each ($3,600).
Ainsworth’s justification for doing this is that he is the original designer, he owns the original moulds and therefore, he owns the legal copyrights to the uniforms. Because of this, he thinks he can do as he pleases.
But Lucasfilm obviously thinks differently and a US court agrees. But since Ainsworth lives in Britain, Lucasfilm now has to hire British lawyers and take the prop designer to the High Court in London to get a British court order to uphold the US court’s decision.
Lucasfilm later told the media : “Anyone who tries to profit from using our copyrights and trademarks without authorisation … we will go after them.”