The Force Was Not with These Three Star Wars Lawsuits
By: Robert Klein
Lucasfilm has a long history of intellectual property lawsuits that shows the importance of protecting your brand. The film giant has taken on the Ronald Reagan Administration, Verizon, a dedicated fan and many others over allegations of trademark infringement.
Lucasfilm once sued the Strategic Defense Initiative, otherwise known as the Star Wars Program. The Star Wars Program was a famous initiative during President Reagan’s administration that would have shot down nuclear missiles from space. Although the project was not initially given the name Star Wars Program, a public relations firm working on behalf of the project coined the term, which forever stuck with the public. Lucasfilm was unhappy with the name, but lost the lawsuit.
In 2009, Lucasfilm sued Verizon Wireless over the use of the word “droid” in its new line of mobile phones. Fans of the movies know droids as the walking, well-mannered and beeping robots. These were the droids Lucasfilm was looking for, as it won its trademark lawsuit and an undisclosed sum of money.
The most hilarious lawsuit on this list involves a man who attempted to build a life-sized AT-AT. AT-ATs were the giant walking robots used in The Empire Strikes Back, when the Empire invaded the ice planet Hoth. Lucasfilm put a quick end to this man’s project by arguing AT-ATs were its intellectual property.
Why Lucasfilm Defended Its Intellectual Property
Lucasfilm has sued over the names of Star Wars characters and objects associated with the movies. Building the Star Wars universe took an incredible amount of creative thought, and when audiences were introduced to the first movie, it became a worldwide sensation. This can partially explain why Lucasfilm sold to Disney for over $4 billion in 2013. Star Wars is an unforgettable brand that is known worldwide. Even small features of the Star Wars films are profitable, as we have seen with Lucasfilm’s lawsuit against Verizon Wireless.
When a brand is world-renowned and worth billions of dollars, it is worth defending under any circumstance.