UK Supreme Court rules in favour of Londoner who manufactures Stormtrooper helmets.
The UK Supreme Court has ruled in favour of 62-year-old Londoner Andrew Ainsworth in his protracted legal battle with Star Wars creator George Lucas over Ainsworth’s right to sell replica Stormtrooper helmets and costumes in the UK.
The UK’s highest court rejected a challenge brought by Lucasfilm against a 2009 Court of Appeal decision which allowed Ainsworth to continue selling the helmets.
But it agreed with Lucasfilm’s lawyers that Ainsworth had violated Lucas’ copyright in the US by selling costumes there.
Ainsworth designed the iconic helmet for the first Star Wars film in 1976 and has been manufacturing them for eight years, with his Stormtrooper costumes selling for up to £1,800.
The UK ruling comes after Lucasfilm sued Ainsworth for $20m (£12m), claiming that the prop-maker did not hold the intellectual property rights to the designs and therefore had no right to sell them. The argument was upheld by a US court but could not be enforced because the designer held no assets in the country.
A jubilant Ainsworth commented: “I am proud to report that in the English legal system David can prevail against Goliath if his cause is right. If there is a force, then it has been with me these past five years.”
A Lucasfilm spokesman said that protection would have been given in “virtually every other country in the world”.