back to article George Lucas rattles lightsabre at Jedi laser firm

Lucasfilm has issued a cease-and-desist against Wicked Lasers - the manufacturer of the Spyder III Pro Arctic which has created quite a stir among wannabe Jedi worldwide. The Star Wars firm is less than impressed with the "most dangerous laser ever created", and late last month informed Hong Kong-based Wicked Lasers: "It is …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Lucas owns copyright on a non existant fictional product and claims that against a real life product.

    So when we get around to warp drives, time travel and sharks with fikkin laser beams, the copyright owners will go after them?

    1. Gulfie

      I'm with you part of the way but...

      Lucas is complaining about the physical enclosure of the device being close to or a copy of a light sabre. Yes, light sabres are a fictional weapon but it is perfectly legitimate to build, market and sell kids toys that look like the thing in the film. So you've got two things potentially going on:

      1. Trademark violation - the product has been deliberately made to look like something from Star Wars that has been trademarked, so the manufacturer is trading on the back of somebody else's reputation. It doesn't have to be identical, just similar enough for a normal person to think it is a Light Sabre.

      2. Copyright violation - if it is identical to the handle on a toy light sabre then the manufacturer is definitely violating Lucas' copyright.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      He owns copyright on the cosmetic design...

  2. NB

    George Lucas

    is a fucking tool. Wicked Lasers never compared it to the light sabre in any way. The Jedi comparison came from a couple of tech blogs. If Lucas Arts wants to sue anyone it should be them. In all realism though I hope this goes to court and gets thrown out..

  3. RichardB

    Does a trademark trump a patent?

    Surely something fictional can't be used to prevent the construction of something real?

    Or does Carl Sagans estate actually get stunning amounts of royalties from the Geostationary satellite networks? Will asimov get royalties for robots that seem a bit like stuff he wrote about?

    Sounds like if you want to rake it in for the future, just get writing, or knock up some utube clips of stuff that looks a bit futuristic, then claim the $$$$s when something a bit like it gets built.

  4. Thomas 4


    After the furuoe surrounding the laser's initial launch, I went over to the website and had a quick shufty at their forums. To my surprise, these laser enthuiasts seem quite a level headed bunch and were just as worried about morons using them irresponsibly as the rest of us - many were actually in favour of a qualified license system for the more potent ones.

    If I had to hazard a guess, someone in the marketing department screwed up and then a series of Chinese whispers reached the ears of the media, with someone using the word "lightsaber" along the way.

    My current thinking is that although there is a real hazard of Jedi-morons waving these things around and blinding someone (hopefully not a passer-by), George Lucas does not control all the lasers in the world and a manufacturer is quite entitled to put a snazzy case on a laser without having accusations of lightsabers thrown at him.

    Maybe he's just pissed because he's not making money from them, like the gold-seeking whore he is.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Lucas has gone to the dark side

    Looks like the empire has converted him to the dark side

    You would have though he of all people would know the signs, maybe the dark side is just to strong for him...

    Bill icon : For obvious reasons.

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Carl Sagan's estate-

      would need to fight it out with Arthur C Clarke's estate.

      No contest.

    2. Marcus Aurelius

      Geostaionary Satellites

      I think you mean Arthur C Clarke (

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      actually, their ebay store (when this first came to the news) had it as a light sabre in the description...

  6. Stefing
    Jobs Horns


    Surely Steve Jobs thought of this first, yesterday?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Jobs Horns

      Not a big deal

      Change your devices shape. Not that big a deal.


      Sent from my Death Star

      1. James O'Brien

        Best Post Ever

        'nuff said.

  7. Chimpofdoom!


    Must be getting skint again... another lawsuit..

  8. John 30
    Paris Hilton

    I don't care if it infringes copyright

    I want one.

    Paris, as she is also registered on the wicked lasers forums, she goes by funkymonkeygirl33.

  9. Glyn 2
    IT Angle


    Ignoring that Gross Lunatic is being...grossly lunaticy as always, what are these things actually for? What is their intended purpose (apart from aggravating GL which is always fun)?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    pot calling kettle black

    maybe the the US Rubber Maid or Italian Brabantina companies should sue George for infrining their fliptop garbage can designs and calling it a "R2-D2"

    The Catholic Church should sue for reproducing "Adam" MK.1 Human, in the form of his "C-3PO" design which is a blatent KIRF of the original?

    Or, as its a US based organisation maybe the US Jewish lobby could sue George Lucas on behalf of the "God of Abraham" on a similer basis...., they appear to have a greater sucess rate in having the US legal and Political system meet thier requuests?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      What are they for?

      Some really civic minded individuals point them at airplane cockpits, when they are taking off or landing at airports, amongst other unsuspecting victims. Other sterling members of society take them to raves and ... (fill in the blanks)

      I honestly don't know how useful a laser aiming sight is to the general populace (I advocate a gun-free state) I can't imagine anyone would want to tie this to the end of their super soaker 5000 water gun let alone their glock ....

      I suppose hikers could use them as some sort of signalling device....

      Honest to god, I don't know what these are for, but as you can tell the abuse potential is there.

      They are probably meant as science toys, but the people that abuse them cause so much heck that these days it's so hard to buy a laser conference pointer these days or even one of those new fangled laser things to align stuff for your DIY projects down under here.

  11. John 211

    Surely the headline should have been...

    The Empire Strikes Back

  12. Torben Mogensen


    I have always thought that the light sabres in SW looked like old-fashioned flashlights (torches). So I can't see how Lucas can claim any originality in the basic design. Of course, if the laser was an exact reproduction of the detailed light sabre design, there might be an issue. But just a general cylindrical shape with knobs and studs and some form of light coming out of one end is certainly no ground for infringement.

    1. James O'Brien

      Prior art found?

      Surely your sentence:

      "But just a general cylindrical shape with knobs and studs and some form of light coming out of one end is certainly no ground for infringement."

      Is indicative of prior art in the sex toy industry?

      "Honest! Its just a lightsaber honey. . ."

  13. David Kelly 2

    Design Patents

    Lucas is trying to use copyright law to enforce that which was intended to be protected with Design Patents. This is understandable because Lucas doesn't have a design patent on lightsabers.

    Design patents are intended to protect things such as silverware patterns.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Wait.....

    What's gonna happen when Apple bring out the iLaser????

  15. andy gibson

    Somebody give George

    Another trilogy he can "prequel" and f*ck up.

    1. James O'Brien

      Well I can think of one possibility...

      Apple will file a patent app about their iLaser forgetting about prior art, and knowing the USTPO will probably get it approved, then file lawsuits against everyone claiming to have one for sail.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know we're supposed to be thinking of laws to abolish, but...

    ...the thought of the sort of arsehole that wants to own one of these things actually being allowed to fills me with dread. New law please.

    P.S. Yes - George Lucas bit of a dick. Couldn't care less about his trademark infringements. Do care about my eyesight.

  17. Red Bren


    Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

  18. David Barrett Silver badge


    isnt a light sabre just a tube with a light at one end... I had one of these when I was little, Used it for finding stuff in the dark, back in those days we called them torches. Those were the days.

    In other news he is also suing monkeys for looking too much like chewy and Harrison Ford for bearing a striking resemblance to Han Solo...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Suing dogs, surely?

      that is all.

  19. Daniel Wilkie
    Thumb Down

    Ho hum

    "Class 4 lasers include all lasers with beam power greater than class 3B. By definition, a class-4 laser can burn the skin, in addition to potentially devastating and permanent eye damage as a result of direct or diffuse beam viewing. These lasers may ignite combustible materials, and thus may represent a fire risk. Class 4 lasers must be equipped with a key switch and a safety interlock. Most entertainment, industrial, scientific, military, and medical lasers are in this category." Quoted from the Great Satan, but seems to check out...

    It doesn't look to me like those have a key switch...

  20. Cylindric

    Sorry for breaking the trend and not jumping on the bandwagon but...

    Lucas isn't claiming to own all lasers, or contest their creation of all devices not much more reminiscent of a Lightsaber than a torch - so all you Geostationary Satellite folks can get a grip and calm down.

    This is a design thing - if you make a device and design the appearance of it to be exactly like a Lucas Lightsaber, then you're in the wrong. So yes, if you invent a robotic protocol robot, but make it look exactly like C-3PO, you'll be in trouble too.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are they for?

    Their website suggests that next time an astronomy hobbyist is desparate to point out stars of a constellation, you will be able to whip your extreme nuisance danger device out of your pocket, hand it to them and watch them blind people. No, that's not it. They can show you which star it is they know the name of.

    Well, yes, I can hardly make my way home at night unmolested by astronomers with poor pointing and describing skills and a desparate need to ensure I have understood exactly which star it is they know the name of. Astronomers who are extremely keen on their hobby and sharing it with others, but not keen enough to have thought of buying their own astronomy pointing aid.

    I wonder if they keep a straight face as they type that stuff?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Read the press announcements, they now come shipped with a special low power lens, a smart switch which works like a key lock in so much as special sequence of buttons must be used to access full power mode and other safety features.

  22. Richard 120


    I've had a look at the thing, and also had a look at replica lightsabers. I've also seen the movies so I'm eminently qualified to make a judgement here.

    The similarity is that it's a tube that is about the right size to fit in a hand with a light that comes out of the end. So are torches potentially going to come under copyright scrutiny from Mr Lucas?

    it doesn't really look like a lightsaber when examined.

    (at least those replicas you can buy)

    also ... each lightsaber is as unique as the one who built it so what's to copyright?

    I think in fact the laser looks cooler than the toy replica lightsabers....

  23. Alistair MacRae

    Im pretty sure the Turkish beat Lucas Arts's hilt design by 5000 years

    Maybe Turkey can sue all people who've made swords from then on?

  24. raving angry loony


    Are they going to sue all the flashlight manufacturers too? Because they ALSO use a TUBE.

    When do we get to start shooting all the lawyers? Please?

    Besides, copyright != patent. Lucas' fictional items had a fixed-length "blade". These don't. There's numerous other differences.

  25. Stuart Gepp

    I wonder how much GL paid Mauser

    The blaster pistol that Solo carried has a striking similarity to a Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" pistol.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've never seen star wars

    ...and now I am sure I won't even attempt to watch next time its on the telly

  27. Morpho Devilpepper

    Sick of this already

    George Lucas and Steve Jobs apparently think that their income between big hit products/movies/whatever can be fulfilled by way of lawsuit. Some judge somewhere just needs to step in and say "WTF are you doing?! Quit wasting my time. Go do something useful and leave these folks alone."

  28. Anonymous Coward

    I want one!

    Darth Vader helmet, with optional laser protection lenses - 100 bucks

    Duct Tape - 5 bucks

    Shark - 80 bucks (for bait)

    Nail Gun that looks like blaster - 300 bucks

    kick ass laser - a couple hundred bucks

    No "Adult" supervison and way too much free time at the office.... Priceless

  29. Pac_Man_60

    Prior Art?

    This looks much more like the descriptions of a "flashlight laser" from Lary Niven's 1970 book "Ringworld", so that's about 7 years before 'Start Wars" came out.

  30. conhoolio

    Don't mess with the laser...

    I'm pretty sure that manufacturing the most dangerous laser ever invented trumps any patent or copyright claim. Does George Lucas really want to be messing with these guys?

  31. DT

    Customers who bought this item also bought: Mutated sea bass

    If I could get a shark for 80 bucks, I wouldn't need the frikkin' laser.


  32. Michael 28

    meh! I'm more of a 2000ad fan .

    (Strontium Dog)..... i'll wait for the particle-beam equivalent , with the hafnium gamma grenades thrown in for free.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    George Lucs is a sad old fat man.

    Oh you mean the star wars "light sabers" were not real? OMG - couldn't possibly be true!

    That they were just bits of pipe with crap stuck on them with a few LED's and shiny bits and paint - just to look like "something important".

    And the special effects superimposed images of a "light blade" over actors playing samuri in a stage set?


    And these while not being a "blade" per sae, do actually emit a beam.

    So George - some 30 years after starwars came out, and the kids have stopped playing with the battery lit "Voooooo Voooooo" sticks, now thinks it's a copyright issue.


    What is "Mr Creative's" next move going to be? Suing people with respiratory complaints who make Darth Vader "Wheeeeeeeeze Wheeeeeeeeze" noises?

    Good one dick head.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    The original lightsaber was derivative too...

    It's hard to see how Lucas Arts can rightfully sue over this product's superficial resemblance to a lightsaber, given that the original and most definitive lightsabers (i.e. Luke's from A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back) were just cosmetically modified battery packs from 1950s Graflex camera-flash units!

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