Have you ever wanted to learn how to properly fight with a lightsaber? Then the New York Jedi club classes are the ideal place.
Leveraging the renewed Star Wars hype, the classes held in midtown Manhattan have gained widespread attention from the public and even mainstream media publications.
However, the phenomenon hasn’t gone unnoticed by Lucasfilm either, one of the major Star Wars rightsholders. The movie company is not amused with the lightsaber classes and has taken the matter to federal court.
In a complaint filed at a California District Court, they sue Michael Brown and several of his companies, including the popular New York Jedi club and the associated Lightsaber Academy.
“Defendants are in the business of promoting, producing, offering for sale and selling unauthorized ‘Lightsaber’ classes, which purport to teach students how to use ‘Lightsabers’ and/or perform as ‘Jedi’,” the complaint (pdf) reads.
Lucasfilm owns the trademarks to both “Jedi” and “Lightsaber,” which Brown’s businesses use to market their classes and events.
In addition, the ‘Lightsaber Academy,’ which issues certificates to prospective lightsaber practitioners, is accused of using a logo that’s similar to Lucasfilm’s Jedi Order logo.
“Defendants regularly use the Lucasfilm Trademarks without authorization in connection with their businesses. Among other infringing activities, Defendants use a logo that is nearly identical, and confusingly similar, to Lucasfilm’s trademark Jedi Order logo,” the complaint reads.
Lucasfilm sums up a variety of allegedly infringing acts and notes that the merchandising and domain names such as LightsaberAcademy.com and NYJedi.com also use trademark-infringing elements.
To Brown, the lawsuit shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. He is aware of the potential issues as he has repeatedly sought to license the use of various Star Wars elements, or get some other form of permission from Lucasfilm.
However, time and again the movie outfit refused to give its blessing.
“Lucasfilm has consistently denied Defendants’ requests. Lucasfilm has never licensed or authorized Defendants to make any commercial use of the Lucasfilm
Trademarks or any other of Lucasfilm’s intellectual properties,” the complaint notes.
Earlier this year Lucasfilm sent Brown a cease and desist order to prevent further infringements. However, instead of halting the business, Lightsaber Academy filed their own trademark application to protect their logo.
Meanwhile, the classes continued, with the next one being scheduled for this coming Thursday at Ripley Grier Studios.
Lucasfilm hopes that the court can bring an end to this once and for all.
They charge Brown and his businesses with trademark infringement, cybersquatting, unfair competition and more, with potential damages running into the dozens of millions.
Time will tell whether it’s wise to pick a fight with a group of highly organized Jedi. It’s going to be an interesting battle for sure.