UK man wins fight to make "Stormtrooper" helmets

A British prop designer who makes replicas of the menacing Stormtrooper helmets featured in Star Wars...

This file picture taken on July 31, 2008 shows an official Star Wars replica stormtrooper helmet in a fantasy memorabilia store in London. Picture: AFP

A British prop

designer who makes replicas of the menacing Stormtrooper helmets

featured in Star Wars films won a legal battle on Wednesday against

director George Lucas, who took him to the High Court in 2008 over

copyright infringement.

The Supreme Court ruled that

the replicas were not covered by copyright law because they were not

works of art, the Press Association reported.

But the court also ruled that the director's copyright had been violated in the United States.

Judges

said 62-year-old Andrew Ainsworth is free to continue making the

helmets in his studio in Twickenham, although he cannot export them to

the U.S.

"I am proud to report that

in the English legal system David can prevail against Goliath if his

cause is right," Ainsworth said in a statement. "If there is a force,

then it has been with me these past five years."

Ainsworth, who made most of the helmets in the original Star Wars film uses original moulds and tools to make replicas for fans.

"We

don't export to the US, so it doesn't affect us. We export everywhere

else: Australia, Singapore -- we're looking at that side of the world,"

he said.

Both the Court of Appeal

and the High Court had already ruled in Ainsworth's favour in his battle

with Lucas's production company Lucasfilm, who had successfully sued

him in the U.S. for $20 million (12 million pounds) before taking their

legal battle to Britain.

After Wednesday's judgement, Lucasfilm vowed to continue defending its property rights.

It

said in a statement it was committed "to aggressively protecting its

intellectual property rights relating to Star Wars in the UK and around

the globe through any and all means available to it, including

copyright, trademark, design patents and other protections afforded by

law."

It added it encouraged recent

efforts by the British government to modernise copyright and design

laws and added that film props are protected by the law in "virtually

every other country in the world."