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Monday, 7 April 2008

Use the Force, your Lordship

The IPKat learns from the Daily Telegraph that Star Wars Episode VII is to take place – right here in London. In the latest leg of the intergalactic battler (well, there was a previous decision on this in the US), the High Court is being asked to rule on the rights in the storm troopers’ body armour and helmets. The original designer, London-based Andrew Ainsworth, started producing replica suits four years ago, which he sold to fans. Star Wars director George Lucas wasn’t happy about this, and in 2006 a Californian court sided with him. Now Lucas is seeking the same result in the UK. However, Ainsworth is arguing that (1) the suits are a work of industrial design, and so any IP rights will have expired or, in the alternative, (2) he is the owner of the rights.

The IPKat, who is valiantly resisting all the obvious Star Wars phrases, is licking his chops at the thought of a copyright/design law interface case. This is proof once again that, if you commission someone to do work for you, put down the way the rights are to be split in writing.

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