Designer Wins Right To Sell 'Star Wars' Stormtrooper Outfits In The U.K.

July 28, 2011

Wright Bryan

Vicki Barker
Andrew Ainsworth in his Twickenham studio.

Freshly pressed stormtrooper outfits, just like the ones worn in the original 1977 Star Wars film, are still legally for sale in Great Britain after the country's Supreme Court ruled that the south London industrial designer who originally made them could keep on making them.

As Vicki Barker reports on All Things Considered tonight, Andrew Ainsworth beat back a challenge from Lucasfilm that started brewing about seven years ago when the entertainment company got wind of the fact that he hadn't stopped making stormtrooper getups after his work on the film ended.

Lucasfilm won a $20 million suit against Ainsworth in the United States. British courts, however ruled that his work was functional and not artistic, meaning it fell under less lengthy copyright laws in Britain.

So Ainsworth is free to sell the outfits, the BBC pegs their cost as up to 1,800 British pounds, in his homeland. He is not, however able to sell them in the United States and can't visit the States without plumping for the $20 million that U.S. courts say he owes Lucasfilm.

The BBC quotes Ainsworth after the U.K. court ruling: "This is a massive victory, a total victory, we've already got the champagne out."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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