Lucasfilm Files Lawsuit Against Unauthorized Lightsaber Academy
The force is very strong with Disney and Lucasfilm’s legal department — or at least one would assume, which is why it’s probably not a good idea to infringe on their trademarked properties, especially Star Wars. But that’s exactly what one enterprising business owner did when he started the Lightsaber Academy, which is now the target of a lawsuit filed by Lucasfilm late last week.
THR reports that Disney’s Lucasfilm is suing Michael Brown, the owner of New York Jedi and Lightsaber Academy, the latter of which offers to teach Star Wars fans the Jedi combat skill for academic and stage purposes (and also for fun, probably). Using eight “core principles,” Brown promises to certify students in the art of Jedi dueling. But his time as a Jedi entrepreneur may be close to an end.
Lucasfilm has brought a suit against Brown for “cybersquatting, trademark infringement and unfair competition.” That last part may seem like overkill — how much could this guy possibly be making off of a Lightsaber Academy? Though Brown’s site doesn’t offer a price list for his various training classes, there are certifications available to become an “instructor” or a “director.” The site claims there are now over 350 lightsaber “training clubs” worldwide, and they expect to have “double the number of clubs by 2017.” The “director” certificate promises to help clients learn how to run their own academies, which could offer additional revenue streams for Brown.
In the official complaint, Lucasfilm also calls out Brown for his use of a logo that is almost identical to the Jedi symbol:
Defendants regularly use the Lucasfilm Trademarks without authorization in connection with their businesses. Among other infringing activities, Defendants use a logo that is nearly identical, and confusingly similar, to Lucasfilm’s trademark Jedi Order logo... round in shape, with six wing-like shapes curving upward (three per side), and an eight-pointed star featuring elongated top and bottom points stretched into a vertical line.
They have a point (or eight?) — you only need to take a quick glance at the Lightsaber Academy website to see that the logo in question is displayed prominently and does indeed look almost exactly like the official Star Wars version.
Despite multiple cease and desist notices from Lucasfilm, Brown filed a trademark application for “Lightsaber Academy, Inc.” Lucasfilm is seeking “a permanent injunction, actual damages and profits, or alternatively, up to $2 million in statutory damages for each trademark infringed.”