Following the UK Supreme Court ruling well over a year ago, legal website The Lawyer today reports that Andrew Ainsworth owes the legal firm that represented him in his dispute with Lucasfilm about £3.5 million. Per the report, “[t]he case was brought on a conditional fee arrangement (CFA), and usually the court will order the losing side to cover the other’s costs”. Since one issue was decided in favor of Ainsworth, and the other in favor of Lucasfilm, Ainsworth was never awarded a costs order, thus sticking him with a legal bill well into millions of dollars. Ainsworth is quoted in the article noting that his legal team “gained a lot of kudos” for their apparently free (at this point) legal defense, though it will be interesting to continue to follow to see if his lawyers believe that they received £3.5 million pounds worth of kudos.
Since 2007, the Original Prop Blog has been covering the legal battle between Lucasfilm Limited and Andrew Ainsworth of Shepperton Design Studios over the sale of unlicensed replica Star Wars props and costumes. The UK Supreme Court last year published their ruling on the two issues presented to them. Of the two, the most critical came down to whether the stormtrooper helmets themselves constituted “sculptures” in a way consistent with UK law. The court ruled that they do not, and thus delivered a victory to Ainsworth. The second question before them was decided in favor to Lucasfilm, which involves IP holders and their rights to pursue copyright claims in those cases where such laws are violated in other jurisdictions.
The full article by The Laywer can be found on their website here:
Today’s article by The Laywer also states that there is still an ongoing legal battle with Lucasfilm with the High Court over a £4m damages claim against Ainsworth for selling 19 of his unlicensed replica helmets in the United States, to which his attorney’s stated, “[w]e’re still batting for him, but at some stage it would be helpful if the fees were resolved”.
As reported on the Original Prop Blog and all over the news a little over a week ago, Disney has agreed to purchase Lucasfilm (including anything and everything related to the Star Wars franchise) for $4.05 billion dollars. It will be interesting to see if this has any impact on Lucasfilm’s defense of its intellectual property rights over Star Wars, and this case in particular.
All related articles can be found below: