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George Lucas C&Ds 'Lightsaber Laser'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the illegal-operation dept.

Star Wars Prequels 481

dward90 writes "George Lucas thinks that bulky, handheld lasers shouldn't be produced because they are his intellectual property. From CNN: 'George Lucas wants to force a laser company to stop making a new, high-powered product he says looks too much like the famous lightsaber from his classic sci-fi series. Lucasfilm Ltd. has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Hong Kong-based Wicked Lasers, threatening legal action if it doesn't change its Pro Arctic Laser series or stop selling it altogether.'"

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481 comments

And... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826016)

Dildos look too much like MY penis. Can I sue their makers?

Not at all... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826156)

They should be awarded. Can you imagine how much time and effort it took to make such a small injection-mold?

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826466)

This is funny and to the point - why is this a troll?

age (1, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826018)

Surely those things are like 50 years old now. Feels like it. Don't tell me - the problem is that Lucas is still alive.

Re:age (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826046)

Surely those things are like 50 years old now. Feels like it. Don't tell me - the problem is that Lucas is still alive.

They'll never be able to make hand held lasers. they've encased him in carbonite.

Re:age (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826190)

Don't tell me - you have a cushy job working 9-5 coding away your time, while the upper management and lawyers make sure your work (their IP), remains protected while their sales team can make a sale, and in turn money for the whole company, and in turn you get paid 10% of the gross at the end of the month.

But more realistically, your pension and other benefits will be what's at stake here, accumulating worth from those pesky royalties. But if your work isn't worth anything 50 years later, your retirement pension is just a money drain to everyone in the company.

Re:age (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826266)

the problem is that Lucas is still alive.

He was much better when he just wanted to share some amazing stories floating in his head, like the original SW trilogy and IJ. Ever since it's been downhill, with a slightly worse prequel trilogy, then selling it all out to have an animated TV series, a handful of recent video game flops, and everything else that seems to be detrimental to the Star Wars fantasy universe.

And don't forget the holiday special. shivers

Yeah, George has long since seemed to be more in it for the money, like he is trying to build this vast empire to rival Microsoft. You might even say his entertainment companies, Lucasfilm, Industrial light and magic, skywalker sound, and then hsi co-founding with THX makes it seem like he's monopolized that field. (What's the last action flick you saw that didn't have the little THX promo before the show).

Seriously Lucas, you've built your empire, and it's doing absolutely great without you trying to "defend" it. Just quietly retire and let the other men try and run the company. I've noticed Lucasarts is revamping the Monkey Island series, and I have a feeling this was not your idea. It's not as huge a success as you probably wish, but its not doing too bad. Remember, the reason these people were even inspired to make lightsabers because of your films, no one is going to forget that.

Re:age (3, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826484)

Yeah, George has long since seemed to be more in it for the money, like he is trying to build this vast empire to rival Microsoft.

That's what happens when you surrender to the Dark Side of The Farce...

I had already forgotten about Wicked Lasers (5, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826038)

But now I remember and want to go to the Wicked Laser web site and buy stuff.

Thanks for reminding me, George! Say hi to Babs Streisand when you see her!

Re:I had already forgotten about Wicked Lasers (4, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826206)

They're not speaking. She's pissed he walked through her lawn on the way to the beach, and he's still insisting that she write him a check for $450 for that time in the late 70's when she did a concert with her hair in honey-buns.

Re:I had already forgotten about Wicked Lasers (4, Funny)

KronosReaver (932860) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826474)

But now I remember and want to go to the Wicked Laser web site and buy stuff.

Don't forget to order the optional "Shark Mount"

He is not threatening them over the laser design! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826064)

The threats are merely directed at the company's claim that said laser can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

Re:He is not threatening them over the laser desig (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826510)

it's more like lawyers realize they can sound busy and make extra money by thinking that you have to sue anything remotely similar.

heh (4, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826066)

Anyone else notice how Lucas tends to just shit all over anything remotely reminiscent of Star Wars? My fiancee is convinced it's because Star Wars prevented him from having any other successful films for the rest of this life, and he resents the series because of that.

My response is that I don't know how you can resent something that makes you a gajilionaire, but whatever.

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826088)

Wait... do you think that it's possible that he borked the prequels on purpose?

He would have been a gajilionaire off of Indiana Jones, anyway.

Re:heh (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826148)

It's kinda conspiracy-theorish, but I actually wouldn't put that out of the realm of possibility. What better middle finger could Lucas come up with than delivering crap that people would still pay en masse to see?

Re:heh (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826410)

I think he was actually going with the McDonald's route, and trying to market Star Wars to Kids. I mean a 9 year old protagonist hero. Then a cheesy no-lust love story?

Notice there were a few more video games targetted towards kids and more products aimed at kids than before... I think the idea was to get these kids to be SW geeks for life, more money if you get em young.

Re:heh (4, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826102)

My response is that I don't know how you can resent something that makes you a gajilionaire, but whatever.

Obviously, you've never gotten a huge settlement check for having your man-parts torn off in a freak industrial accident.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826348)

Obviously you've never survived a nuclear bomb inside a fridge.

Re:heh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826446)

Obviously, you've never gotten a huge settlement check for having your man-parts torn off in a freak industrial accident.

The prequels weren't *that* bad, were they?

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826144)

Indiana Jones was great (the first 3 anyway). If he'd made anything else decent then it would be recognised as such. Plenty of other writers/directors have made more than just one successful movie/series.

Re:heh (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826440)

Willow?
American Graffiti?
THX-1138?

And oddly enough people really hated Temple of Doom until Last Crusade came out. Then people hated it for not living up to the first two films. Now people hate Indy IV.

I love Indy, but all 4 are cheesy, unrealistic, and most lack a traditional Hollywood ending where Indy saves the day. Indy gets captured by bad guys who basically get what they want in 1, 3 and 4.

That being said, Lucas is good with concepts, pretty good with directing, and terrible at acting writing scripts. He even admits as such, but still demanded to write the screenplays for the prequels. I never understand why.

Re:heh (3, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826498)

Willow?
American Graffiti?
THX-1138?

Willow was directed by Ron Howard, not Lucas. Granted, he was a producer, but it still wasn't totally "his baby".

American Graffiti and THX-1138, though both amazingly awesome, were released prior to Star Wars.

Re:heh (3, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826598)

love Indy, but all 4 are cheesy, unrealistic, and most lack a traditional Hollywood ending where Indy saves the day.

Wait, I'm confused. Is that supposed to be criticism or praise?

Re:heh (3, Interesting)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826150)

Most of the time anyone's pitching something "light saber" like in their marketing materials, serious fucking laser burns aren't a problem. Blunt force trauma, maybe, but not laser burns.

I can see why Lucas is trying to get the association away from his name.

Re:heh (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826274)

Is that why he made all the later SW movies so terrible?

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826468)

He is a terrible writer and made the prequels on his own, and not inside of a studio. Not a soul could question him to revise or improve upon what he was doing.

And while 1 was awful, 2 really wasn't terrible, and I'd contend that 3 is actually on par with A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.

Re:heh (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826344)

Star Wars prevented him from having any other successful films for the rest of this life

Yeah, it's a shame that Raiders of the Lost Ark languished in so much obscurity and financial mediocrity.

Me too. (3, Insightful)

JohnG (93975) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826076)

I don't care about the legal implications of what the laser looks like, but I think it would be a lot cooler to have if it didn't look like a toy. I don't want someone getting a hold of it and thinking it is a light saber and shooting me with it. Dangerous tools should never be made to resemble toys, regardless of who owns the trademarks on the toys.

Re:Me too. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826092)

"The shrink ray doesn't shoot pools, Shake! It's not a toy!"

"You say that about everything you own...maybe you should just buy toys."

Re:Me too. (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826482)

It doesn't really look like a toy IMHO. It just looks "sleek". A ton of money, even in tool, is spent into making items look futuristic and appealing. When I bought my truck for example I bought it primarily as a tow vehicle for my fishing boat, but I still bought an upgraded appearance package on it because despite it being bought for utility purposes, I still wanted it to look nice too.

Same with tons of things. Just because it has a snazzy appearance doesn't mean it looks like a toy. I'd wager the ONLY reason you say that is that you're making the same mistake Lucas is - if it's a small laser that is remotely attractive looking then it just has to be copying a lightsaber so the only thing it's good for is to swing it around and making buzzing noises.

This is not the lightsaber you are looking for. (1)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826090)

This is the look & feel suit in meat-space this time. Those never go anywhere.

OMFG (5, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826104)

I hope Lucas also got a patent on a process for establishing "prior art" through the use of a non-functional prop, imagination, and delusions of grandeur.

Re:OMFG (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826300)

Copyright has nothing to do with prior art. Patents and copyrights are different.

Re:OMFG (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826520)

The point is that Lucas is suing a company that makes something real (patent related) because it infringes something in a story (copyright related).

GP also said "a process". Processes are patentable.

Re:OMFG (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826524)

I hope Lucas also got a patent on a process for establishing "prior art" through the use of a non-functional prop, imagination, and delusions of grandeur.

I believe we call that process "establishing a trademark"
I'm not surprised that 3 people, who know nothing about trademarks, modded you up.

Re:OMFG (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826546)

You can trademark and copyright designs. Lucas doesn't care that they are lasers. He only cares that they look too much like Star Wars lightsabers. It is a judgment call whether they are appear to be or not.

Brilliant! (1)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826610)

Ok right after I invent my time machine, I will go back in time and have an Idea. I will then patent this Idea and establish prior art for all ideas.

safety issues (0, Troll)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826142)

Like the old saying goes...

"How many times can you look directly into a laser beam before going blind? Twice, once for each eye."

The last thing I want is a blue laser in the hands of a 7 year old. Don't we have laws preventing this sort of thing? I'm glad that this toy costs $200 as that will make it unaffordable for most.

This makes me want to wear orange goggles all the time.

Re:safety issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826260)

if your buying your 7 year old a 200$ military grade laser you get whats coming to you

Re:safety issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826386)

Because the only way for an irresponsible child, 7 years old or otherwise, to get a hold of something dangerous is by the direct action of their parent.

Sounds a little naive to me.

Re:safety issues (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826488)

""How many times can you look directly into a laser beam before going blind? Twice, once for each eye.""

Ha, I'm so good with a laser I did it in one try!

Re:safety issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826588)

Only Bono is safe!

God Schmod, I want my monkeyman! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826154)

0.5W ?! Call me when they sell a real laser.

Re:God Schmod, I want my monkeyman! (3, Informative)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826366)

What you need to be worried about is not just the power, but the intensity (power density, or power/spot_size). If the spot size is 1mm diameter, then the power density would be:

sunlight = 1000 W/m^2 (intensity of sunlight)
laser_toy = 0.5 W/(0.001^2) = 500000 W/m^2

500000/1000 = 500 times brighter than the sun!

Let me know if my calculations are wrong... Haven't done this in awhile.

What's next....? (5, Funny)

Caviller (1420685) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826158)

I can see it now....

Scientist: We developed Hyperdrive!!
George: Nope...I did...didn't you see my movie...geesh.

I think George is heading down the path of the Dark Side....

Re:What's next....? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826398)

In fact, the entire future of humanity, including all technological advances, was already patented by scifi writers decades ago.

Re:What's next....? (3, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826612)

I can see it now.... Scientist: We developed Hyperdrive!! George: Nope...I did...didn't you see my movie...geesh. I think George is heading down the path of the Dark Side....

Um excuse me! I represent the Roddenberry estate and it's obvious that it is "Warp" drive NOT hyper drive. See you in court!

It's all BS.. (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826164)

He is making an attempt to protect his copyright. It's BS but he has to have lawyers and other people that activaly search for products that look or are called anything similar to anything he holds a copyright on. Because if he doesn't appear to be protecting it then he loses it, and also a shit load of really really krappy knock off will come on the market, and I think that no one wants that.

Re:It's all BS.. (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826246)

That's not true at all of copyrights. It's trademarks you have to protect or lose.

Re:It's all BS.. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826372)

Protecting copyrights is a good idea, though. If you don't protect your copyrights, and go to sue someone, you look more like a troll and have to fight that much harder. Probably not a big concern for Lucasarts with their fame and all, but valid nonetheless. Protecting copyrights (especially against a company like Wicked Lasers, who can be expected to respond with media attention and a Slashdot story) also serves as a nice deterrent against other potential infringers. It says loud and clear: "We're watching."

Re:It's all BS.. (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826388)

And it's only an appreciable concern in trademark law if the competing product is sold in the same market; Lucas sells movie-merch toys, Wicked Lasers appear to sell a functioning laser. I'm not sure how they could be considered to be 'in the same market,' really.

Re:It's all BS.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826412)

t's BS but he has to have lawyers and other people that activaly search for products that look or are called anything similar to anything he holds a copyright on.

Jeez you are irresponsibly ignorant.

Light Sabers != Lasers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826166)

The fact is a light saber isn't a laser, I digress. Why isn't he suing all the clone "light saber" flashlights and all the plastic toys not authorized by Lucas. Pfff. I think he is seeing his DVD sales drop so he has to get his name out in the public again.

George, George (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826204)

IANAL, but I doubt Wicked Lasers is very worried.

Movies get copyright protection, or trademark protection.

Hardware gets patent protection.

If George Lucas has a (design) patent on the light saber, it's expired by now.

Re:George, George (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826464)

You are technically correct, but a little more explanation is needed here. The aesthetic look of a functional object such as this would be protected by a design patent, not a copyright. George has the money to hire lawyers good enough to know this. So either: 1) the letter is a fake and a publicity stunt by Wicked Lasers; or 2) George is bluffing.

Re:George, George (1)

Twylite (234238) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826604)

"It is apparent from the design of the Pro Arctic Laser that it was intended to resemble the hilts of our lightsaber swords, which are protected by copyright ..."

17 USC.101: “Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans. Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article."

I'm guessing they are making a tenuous assertion of sculptural copyright (probably a model), on the basis that the laser could be seen to include design elements reminiscent of a lightsaber that may not be strictly dictated by the functional requirements or utility of the laser.

Legal Department (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826216)

I seriously doubt 'George Lucas' had anything to do with this. It's possible he's not even aware of it. This was done by the Lucasfilm Ltd legal department. George doesn't exactly engage in day-to-day operations....he has 'people' for that.

Re:Legal Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826432)

But this is probably something HE would do anyway, he is just like that.
Lucas has turned in to one hell of a twisted person over the years.

Re:Legal Department (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826500)

I seriously doubt 'George Lucas' had anything to do with this. It's possible he's not even aware of it. This was done by the Lucasfilm Ltd legal department. George doesn't exactly engage in day-to-day operations....he has 'people' for that.

I'm sure you're right, but when a person hires people to represent him, then they represent him. I.e., if this isn't what he wants done then George Lucas sucks at employing people.

Wow... (3, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826218)

If he succeeds, then REAL scifi authors could have a field day. No more helicopters, hovercraft, or zillions of other inventions they wrote about without getting their permission first...

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826356)

That would include all the money that George's billion dollar franchise has made. It's not like he invented the idea of flying cities, hovercraft, space stations, or 'deathsticks'.

Re:Wow... (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826448)

This is not good. The Philip K Dick estate is going to own half the known world.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826562)

and leonardo da vinci estate the other half

Don't be stupid (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826540)

this has NOTHING to do with it being a laser. He claims the shape of the body was built to resemble a light saber handle.

Functioning has nothing to do with it.

Re:Wow... (0, Flamebait)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826618)

These lightsabers are toys. Not real inventions.

The concept of this non-functioning object is taken from the movie....

Helicopters, communication devices, and other thought of ideas became inventions that could not really be disputed. It's because those inventions were a concept the -author could not make- into reality

I'm pretty sure george lucas could have financed and made the same/similar toys if he felt like it.

Now I'm not saying that i agree with this action. Consider it like this: you have to pay the owner of the "Gundam" name in order to call a humanoid robot machine a "Gundam" the same probably is going to be argued with these lightsaber toys.

As stated in the article, the company has made similar devices before. Only this time it was intended to look like a lightsaber.

Probably unimportant (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826238)

I'm agreeing with the Wicked Lasers CEO:

"They're a big company that needs to protect their trademarks. Maybe they're having to look like they're protecting their trademark in case they need to [protect it again] later."

It's just a laser for now, but next month when Lucasfilm sues a company making unlicensed life-size R2D2 statues, their lawyers can claim they've been actively protecting their copyrights and trademarks, which easily cuts off the biggest defenses. It's all part of the game.

TFA contains a horrible pic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826242)

While I think this is heavy handed of Lucasfilm Ltd, I looked up the actual product on their website. The pic in TFA is rather close up and doesn't truly show how close this laser resembles a lightsaber. Check out the other pics here: http://www.wickedlasers.com/lasers/Spyder_III_Pro_Arctic_Series-96-37.html

As much as I hate to admit it, it does look way too similar to a lightsaber.

Prior Art (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826244)

Someone should send a C&D to Lucas for acting like an ass. There was prior art on that a loooong time ago.

Seriously? (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826258)

The day that someone designs a laser that goes a fixed distance and stops, creates an opaque beam, and is capable of reflecting other light is the day that I'll accept George's copyright claim. Sadly, he will be able to keep lawyers on retainer that long. Sorry, great*10 grandchildren.

Also, sorry about the environment. We screwed that up too.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826392)

Because no one would ever think to compare this laser with an actual product...

http://gizmodo.com/5576408/the-arctic-spyder-iii-lightsaber-laser-in-action

http://www.fastcompany.com/1662279/lasers-blue-handheld-spyder-iii-retina-damage-science-airports

http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06/16/working-lightsaber-the-most-dangerous-laser-ever-created/

TV has too much influence on some people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826290)

George Lucas thinks that bulky, handheld lasers shouldn't be produced because they are his intellectual property.

George Lucas needs to understand that there is a difference between fantasy and reality.

Lucas F*&^ OFF ! (2, Interesting)

maxrate (886773) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826324)

That's like Paramount tell apple to stop making the iPad because it looks like the PADD's on the Star Trek series

Re:Lucas F*&^ OFF ! (1)

cjnichol (1349831) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826586)

Right... the iPad looks nothing like the PADDs. The kindle on the other hand looks much more similar to a PADD. Before reading the full summary, I went to http://www.wickedlasers.com/ [wickedlasers.com] to take a look. First thing that came to mind when I saw the Arctic series: "Lightsaber"

Pretty telling... (2)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826338)

Isn't it nice to see Lucas as lawsuit-happy as ever some 33 years after the launch of his massively successful franchise? The amounts of legal disputes, some so petty as to beggar belief, that George Lucas has launched over the decades illustrate more about the man himself than about any significant precedent or legal milestone. Yes he's won lawsuits; but there's a difference between legally sound and ethically sound.

Great White Snark [greatwhitesnark.com] has a short list of five of Lucas's most silly qualms which in the final analysis basically attack inspiration itself. Despite the fact there's a still-debated laundry list of inspiration for Star Wars, much of which he's acknowledged in straight-faced affable fashion in interviews over the years.

I'd have thought by now he'd started to mellow with age, or perhaps devoted more time to helping the world in general like certain other elder-geeks on the globe. Apparently not.

Did he patent it? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826340)

I guess he didn't patent it, probably becuase he didn't have the slightest idea how it could work.
(I am refering to the feature that lets you swordfight with them, and also block incoming laser blasts.

Anyway the most he can claim ownership to is the name.

Say did he ever sue Ronald Reagan over the Star Wars strategic defense initiative?

Re:Did he patent it? (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826528)

It is not about patents or copyrights. It is about the trademark on the term "lightsaber", and that is what the C&D says: Call it something else or stop making it.

I have to say it but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826342)

The product is marketed as a real-life light saber. Now like it or not, they are cashing in on Star-Wars, They people who made it should have asked permission first. I am pro-OSS also, I work at an OSS firm, but I can tell IP theft when I see it.

Unicorn Meat (1)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826350)

The motive here seems to be similar to that of the NPB's (National Pork Board) C&D against ThinkGeek. Everything is hunky-dory as long as the public isn't creating a perceived violation of copyright/trademark.

Not knowing much about copyright/trademark laws, is that even a valid case against the manufacturer/retailer? "Oh, we know you're(the manufacturer/retailer) not openly violating our trademark, but the consumer public is connecting your brand to our brand, so we're gonna sue if you don't stop."

Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826364)

Ditch the current handle design and replace it with a proper shark mounting bracket.

Interesting Conundrum (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826378)

Seems like George set himself up into a Minority Report catch-22... if this laser CAN cut him in half, then he dies but wins his point that this laser infringes on his copyright. If it cannot cut him, then he lives but loses his point.

Short memory? (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826382)

It wasn't that long ago that the lasers from this very same company were featured on the slashdot front page. While the company doesn't make any Star Wars references themselves, the slashdot write-up certainly did.

Here's the Slashdot article "Set Free Your Inner Jedi (Or Pyro)" [slashdot.org]. It was posted June 14 - less than a month ago today. I'm surprised the intrepid Slashdot editors didn't remember running it while writing up this summary.

It used to be... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826426)

It used to be that Science Fiction authors and movie makers used to -like- the fact that their predictions came true because it showed that they made good predictions... Imagine how much H.G. Wells would be thrilled if someone made a working time machine based on his book, something tells me that he wouldn't send a C&D letter because they "stole" his idea, instead he'd be happy that he could be the inspiration for such a great idea.

Every male born before 1977... (1)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826458)

...should send Lucas a cease and desist order to stop selling lightsabre-like merchandise, claiming unlawful use of likeness.

Just sayin'.

Trademark not copyright. (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826492)

This is a trademark issue with the name "lightsaber". It is not a copyright issue at all.

Next problem... (1)

merichards (1529041) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826526)

Let's just hope Arthur C Clarke's estate doesn't sue everyone silly for geostationary orbits, or all those fancy mobiles are going to be switched off...

Wicked Lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32826538)

They have a bad reputation on their own. They produce the worst lasers known to man and sell them for humongous prices. Really, most of them break after a month or so or are even DOA. Only Dragonlasers comes close to them in terms of bad reputation.

In other news today... (4, Funny)

Pollux (102520) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826550)

Scientists ceased work on developing a time machine that fits inside a car.

"When we first started development, we had our eyes set on a Camaro," said project manager and lead scientist Phuc Mi. "There aren't too many modern cars that still have enough space both under the hood to fit the fusion reactor necessary to generate the 2.19 GW of power needed to feed the fluidic transistor needed to initiate time travel. But, Michael Bay got wind of our project and, well, let's just say we gutted the Camaro and borrowed someone's Mustang instead. But with this second cease-and-desist letter from Steven Spielberg, we can't keep fighting lawyers! We have much better odds predicting where lightning will strike next than beating them in court!"

Shaky legal ground, but I can see Lucasfilm's side (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826560)

It falls plumb between trademark and copyright stools, but take a look at the uncropped picture of the laser [wickedlasers.com]. Ask 12 good men and true if it's not blindingly (ho ho) obvious that this device has been deliberately designed to look like a lightsaber, and I think you'll get an answer in the affirmative.

Whether that's actionable or not is a more nuanced question, but can we please be honest about the design remit at work here. This is a lightsaber clone, with enough small differences that they can make a fight of it, grabbing more publicity all the way.

Well... (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#32826608)

It DOES look a lot like a light saber handle, which is their problem. That being said, the headline suggests that LucasFilm is "threatening legal action if it doesn't change its Pro Arctic Laser series". I'm thinking "change" likely means "pay licensing fees".

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