The decision handed down from the High Court's Chancery Division today [July 31] affirmed that Lucasfilm is the sole owner of all rights to the costume designs. Damages will be announced in due course.
Lucasfilm sued after a 2006 California court awarded it $20m in damages after Ainsworth reproduced the replicas and misrepresented that he had created the designs used in the original Star Wars film in 1977.
Prior to the film's release Lucasfilm hired Ainsworth, a plastics manufacturer, in 1976 to reproduce designs created by its team of artists that included costume designer John Mollo, who won the Oscar for Stars Wars in 1978 and shared it with Bhanu Athaiya in 1983 for Gandhi.
The High Court held that it could apply US law to the matter and also ruled that Ainsworth infringed Lucasfilm's rights under UK copyright laws. However the Court noted that UK law limiting copyright enforcement in industrial designs applied to the facts in the case. Lucasfilm is considering whether to appeal this legal finding.
The Court rejected a counterclaim by Ainsworth seeking a share of profits from the franchise.
'We do not intend to use this ruling to discourage our fans from expressing their imagination, creativity and passion for Star Wars through the costumes and props they make for their personal use,' Lucasfilm vice president Howard Roffman said. 'Rather, we see the Court's decision as reaffirming that those who seek to illegally profit from Star Wars will be brought to task, wherever they may be.'