The UK Supreme Court has ruled that Andrew Ainsworth, the prop designer who first manufactured the iconic stormtrooper helmet and armour for director George Lucas' iconic 1978 film Star Wars, is free to sell replicas made using the original prop moulds.
The ruling identified the items as industrial design, not as art or sculpture, and therefore was subject to a different standard of protection, which is limited to 15 years after marketing, and as such had expired 20 years ago.
Had the designs been determined to be art, they would have had protection for 70 years after Lucas' death.
The case was first filed in the US courts, where Lucasfilm won, but since designer Andrew Ainsworth had no assets in the US, Lucasfilm began litigation in the UK.
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