Stormtrooper battle returns to British courts

LONDON (AP) -- The George Lucas empire has struck back against a British prop designer who sold replicas of the iconic Stormtrooper uniforms from the "Star Wars" movies.

Designer Andrew Ainsworth has fought a long legal battle against Lucasfilm Ltd., which sued him over the replica suits and helmets he sold through a Web site.

The case ended ambiguously at London's High Court last year. A judge ruled that Ainsworth had violated Lucas's U.S. copyright, but rejected a copyright claim against him under British law.

Now lawyers for Lucas want the Court of Appeal to rule that the suits are sculptures and therefore works of art covered by British copyright law.

The case opened Tuesday and is scheduled to last three days.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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