George Lucas Continues Fight Over Stormtrooper Helmet Design, Takes Case to UK’s Supreme Court

This post goes to show you that even when you consider a story to be over and done with, it turns out to still have some life left in it. Also goes to show that, when George Lucas files a lawsuit, he doesn’t quit very easily. We last talked about the issue back in 2009, at which time we assumed would be the director’s final, failed attempt to stop British designer Andrew Ainsworth from selling replicas of Star Wars Stormtrooper helmets (Ainsworth himself had designed the original in the 1970s for the first Star Wars film). At that last check in, a judge in the UK kicked out Lucas’ appeal, “saying the costumes are not works of art and the decision against Ainsworth in America had no bearing on UK copyright laws.” Though the director had previous won a court battle in the US, this was the second loss Lucas had had in England and it seemed like it had to be the end of a saga that began long ago, back in 2004. But now here we are again, with the case starting up yesterday at the highest level of law-deciding there is, England’s Supreme Court. Lucas still wants the case overturned and the Independent reports that he’s enlisted the help of filmmakers like Peter Jackson, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg to help push the case (they’ve each sent statements to the court). While Lucas’ running track record has been less than stellar, maybe that additional star power will help him seal the deal. Here’s a bit more from the Independent, from the other side of this epic fight:

Mr Ainsworth remains defiant. “I created it all originally and he made a film of it. The copyright for three-dimensional work is invested in me but I didn’t do anything about it for 30 years, as English people don’t. We won in the High Court and the Appeal Court, but he has got so much money he can convince the Supreme Court it’s got to be done again. What he is after is to change the law, to change European law.”

A Lucasfilm spokeswoman said: “These works of art should receive the full protection of UK copyright law, just as they do in the rest of the world.”