04/15/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

George Lucas Sued Over Stormtrooper Costume Copyright

By Saturday evening the humdrum office of a firm of City solicitors could have been mistaken for a distant outpost of the Galactic Empire.

Between the desks were the white suits and helmets that are known to Star Wars aficionados the world over as the uniform of the Imperial Stormtrooper.

The lawyers working late that night were preparing to do battle with the opposing legal armies of George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars films, over who owns the copyright on the stormtrooper uniforms, the headgear of the imperial fighter pilots and the helmet designed for Luke Skywalker as he led the final assault on the Death Star in the first film of the original trilogy.

Lucas's business empire claims that it owns all the rights to the uniforms, while the lawyers at SimmonsCooperAndrew will argue that the rights are in fact vested in an obscure prop designer from Twickenham who made the first helmets and suits for the 1977 film.

Tomorrow morning the opposing sides as well as the assorted stormtrooper suits and helmets will arrive in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

The case, reported today in The Lawyer magazine, could have widereaching implications for the multibillion-pound business of film merchandising.

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