Oct 20, 2016

The Lucasfilm Empire Strikes Back Against US Dance Group

Lucasfilm and its new owner, the Walt Disney Company, own the intellectual property relating to all of the Star Wars films.  Walt Disney Company in particular is famously protective of its intellectual property and has filed numerous lawsuits relating to trade marks used in the Star Wars Films.

A lawsuit was filed on Friday last week in the United States District Court in San Francisco against a dance class which teaches adults and children how to engage in Jedi battles. The dance group use words such as JEDI and LIGHTSABER in their training and also use a logo which is very similar to the logo of the Jedi Order from the films on their website and merchandise.

The dance group, named Lightsabre Academy, teach lightsabre combat and choreography for entertainment or practical application. They also offers a lightsabre instructor certification programme and Jedi training classes.  Disney operate their own lightsabre fighting classes in Disney World in Florida and own trade marks including "Jedi Training Academy," "Jedi" and "Lightsabre."

Mr Michael Brown, the owner or the Lightsabre Academy, had previously sought licensing permission from Lucasfilm.  After being denied the licence he pressed ahead anyway. He received numerous cease and desist letters from Lucasfilm but ignored the threats and continued to run the group.  Mr Brown has filed his own US trade mark application for the logo in the name of The LIGHT SABER ACADEMY GROUP. The application is still pending.

Lucasfilm and Disney have alleged trade mark infringement, cybersquatting and unfair competition.  The lawsuit claims that the dance group uses a logo "that is nearly identical, and confusingly similar, to Lucasfilm's trademark Jedi Order logo."  The lawsuit seeks up to $2 million in damages for each trademark infringement.

in: EU/International, News, Trade Marks

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