George Lucas and British prop designer Andrew Ainsworth continued their copyright battle in the U.K. this week over the white molded Stormtrooper uniform made famous in Lucas' STAR WARS saga, the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports.
The scene in London's High Court on Tuesday could almost have been scripted for STAR WARS: a 6-foot tall Stormtrooper and equally imposing black-masked Imperial fighter pilot accompanied the wigged and black-robed lawyers in court. They were there to help prove Lucasfilm attorney Michael Bloch's point that the menacing figure is "one of the most iconic images in modern culture."
It appears he made his point -- Judge Anthony Mann is reported as casting sideways glances at the silent duo, eventually asking, "Are they going to stay there for the entire trial?"
Lucasfilm is claiming violation of copyright and trademarks by Ainsworth, who sculpted the Stormtrooper helmets for the first film in 1977. He's been selling replicas of the helmets and armor out of his London home via Web for up to $2,000. He says the replicas are made from the original molds.
Lucasfilm already won a $20 million judgment in California against Ainsworth in 2006, and wants that enforced in Britain.
In return, Ainsworth says he owns the sole copyright to the costume, and is countersuing for an estimated $24 billion for money earned on STAR WARS merchandising revenue from all six films.
Lucas' lawyers say Lucas and his artistic team created the design of the Stormtrooper costume, and Ainsworth was only brought on to create the helmets.
"The look to be created had been worked on by a large team of people for perhaps more than a year," Bloch said.
The Stormtroopers are not real, but as their existence is worth billions to Lucasfilm, the exact details of their creation will be discussed extensively over the course of the 10-day hearing.
"There are no helmets; there is no armor," Bluth said. "There are no half-human, half-cloned warriors such as Stormtroopers. What we are dealing with are characters of the imagination. … They are the stuff of fantasy."
Bluth seeks to distinguish between the creation of a simple costume and the creation of an iconic image, such as the Stormtrooper.