Who hasn’t come out of a Star Wars movie wanting to swing around a lightsaber like Obi-Wan Kenobi? That’s what Michael Brown was probably thinking when he founded The Lightsaber Academy. It would seem that Disney, the owners of the Star Wars franchise, take issue with this particular business venture.
Before being bought by Disney, Lucasfilm would sometimes let unlicensed Star Wars ventures go unchallenged. The “One Man Star Wars Trilogy” is one such example. When Lucasfilm discovered Charles Ross’ stage show, they invited the actor to perform it for Lucasarts executives. Disney though, is a different company, with different priorities, which places a high importance on controlling their brand.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Brown operated numerous businesses based on the Star Wars trademark including New York Jedi, the Lightsaber Academy and Thrills and Skills. After serving multiple cease and desist notices, Disney finally filed a complaint with the California federal court.
“Defendants regularly use the Lucasfilm Trademarks without authorization in connection with their businesses,” the complaint says, specifying that, “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.”
Star Wars fans familiar with the Jedi emblem will easily be able to tell that this is indeed the case. Through the acquisition of multiple intellectual properties, Disney has become one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. It seems that if anyone has any great business ideas involving one of their trademarks, the most prudent course would be to run it by Disney’s lawyers first.
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