skip to main content skip to accessibility policy

Articles & Updates – Details

27 July 2011

Star Wars - The End of the (Legal) Saga? UK Supreme Court Delivers Judgment in Lucasfilm v Ainsworth

Star Wars - The End of the (Legal) Saga? UK Supreme Court Delivers Judgment in Lucasfilm v Ainsworth

On 27 July 2011 the Supreme Court in London delivered judgment in a long-running dispute between Lucasfilm and an Englishman who was producing replicas of the Stromtrooper helmets. Lucasfilm were ultimately unsuccessful.

First, the Court held that there was no longer any design right or copyright protection for the helmet. It was not a ‘sculpture’ and so any copyright protection had long expired.

The most interesting legal decision is that the Court held that it is possible to sue for infringements of a foreign (in this case US) copyright in England. Whilst it has long been possible to sue for infringements of copyright of an EU country, there had been judicial reluctance to extend this to non-EU countries. Essentially you can now sue if: (a) the defendant is domiciled in England; and (b) that defendant has (allegedly) committed an infringing act in the other country.

Whether this will lead to more proceedings for copyright infringement in England is doubtful, but if there is an English-domiciled defendant who has infringed in a number of countries then the option is now there. This should certainly help in infringement cases where the activities are global, especially in the digital arena.

Useful links

Full text of decision:
Lucasfilm Ltd & Ors v Ainsworth & Anor [2011] UKSC 39 (27 July 2011)

Bookmark and Share

Related People

Partner, Solicitor

Send to a Friend

We are glad that you have found this page of interest. Please use this form to send your friend an email link to this page.

The details you provide on this page will not be used to send unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a 3rd party.

Follow us

Newsletter subscriptions

In support of our environmental policy we encourage email subscriptions to receive our patent and trade mark newsletters as soon as they are published.

For RSS users

Our RSS news feeds allow you to see when we have added new content to our website so you can get the latest site updates in one place, as soon as they are published.

Social media

Privacy Policy

We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. To understand our views and practices regarding your personal data and how we will treat it please see