There’s no end to complexities in the British laws for protection of intellectual property. Needless to add, interesting cases have thrived on the fringes of the same. The case of copyright infringement was brought by Lucasfilms and others against Andrew Ainsworth(from Shepperton Design Studios) who originally created the Stormtrooper helmet way back in 1976.
Lucasfilm had gained quite a lot by merchandising products based on the film’s characters and it was in 2004 that Ainsworth started commercially producing replicas of the famed Stormtrooper helmet. Now, it is well known that copyright subsists in artistic work and the definition includes sculptures.
It was alleged that the helmet comes within the definition of “sculpture” and hence in the periphery of infringement.
In July 2008, Lucasfilms claimed English copyright infringement, sought an order than there has been an infringement of US copyright in England and sued for damages. However, it was held that it was not a sculpture.
Time rolled on and there were appeals in between. After a whirlwind courtroom drama, Ainsworth was still not held liable.
However, Lucasfilms did get their sweet revenge, even though partially, as of now. The Supreme Court held that this being a copyright claim, it can well be heard in the country of defendant’s jurisdiction and not necessarily in the country of the claim’s origin.
One constellation shaking saga, this one!