U.S. District Court Awards $20 Million for Illegal Creation and Sales of Unauthorized Star Wars Products
SAN FRANCISCO- LAWFUEL – Law News Network –The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has awarded Lucasfilm Ltd. $20 million in damages in a copyright infringement and unfair competition case against the British firm Shepperton Design Studios and its owner, Andrew Ainsworth.
The court found that Shepperton Design Studios had been marketing unlicensed copies of Stormtrooper helmets and costumes, and TIE fighter pilot helmets from the Star Wars films, as well as making misleading claims about the authenticity and origins of these items.
The Judgment, by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner, awards damages to Lucasfilm Ltd. for copyright infringement, unfair competition and trademark infringement and permanently bars Shepperton Design Studios from copying, reproducing, importing, licensing, marketing or displaying any of its unauthorized Star Wars products in the United States. Lucasfilm is also pursuing legal action against Shepperton in the U.K., where the company is based, to ensure that the judgment is enforced there.
“Lucasfilm vigorously protects its intellectual property rights in Star Wars,” said Howard Roffman, President of Lucas Licensing. “Infringers like Shepperton need to understand that we will pursue them anywhere in the world to shut them down and seek restitution.”
Roffman noted that many Star Wars fans around the world produce replicas of Star Wars costumes for their own personal use and enjoyment, an activity to which Lucasfilm Ltd. has no objection. One such group, the “501st Legion” of Stormtroopers, is a global organization that has often worked with Lucasfilm and its partners. “We appreciate that Star Wars has sparked the imaginations of fans around the world,” he said. “We would never want to discourage fans from showcasing their enthusiasm for the movies. However, anyone who tries to profit from using our copyrights and trademarks without authorization crosses the line; they become an infringer and we will go after them.”