Lucasfilm Sues Jedi School Over Trademark
Los Angeles – Lucasfilm filed a lawsuit this month against the owner of New York Jedi and Lightsaber Academy. The business in question here teaches classes on how to use lightsabers and act out Jedi battles for “illuminated stage combat” according to the New York Jedi website.
Lucasfilm, part of the Walt Disney parent company and creator of the Star Wars films, has a history of legal cases showing that it aggressively protects its intellectual property. In this case Lucasfilm claims that the school’s use of the words “Lightsaber” and “Jedi” are violating its trademark rights. The owner of both New York Jedi and Lightsaber Academy, Michael Brown, had previously asked for licensing permission from Lucasfilm but was denied. He continues to run his businesses even after receiving multiple cease-and-desist letters.
According to their official New York Jedi Facebook page, NewYorkJedi.com “is…designed specifically for its members to create a character that would use a weapon referred to as a lightsaber, and sharing stage-based techniques to use said weapon, while embodying their character through creative costuming and training.” They offer private lessons and group classes. The teachers include dancers, martial artists, and cosplayers who teach choreography.
Lightsaber Academy, based in San Francisco, California, teaches lightsaber techniques and Jedi warfare. They also have classes at comic book conventions and offer “certification in lightsaber instruction” per their website. For $10, you can buy an official LSA (Lightsaber Academy) patch which has been called into question. The lawsuit claims the design is too similar to Lucasfilm’s Jedi Order logo. Lightsaber Academy is a “Consortium for Academic, Stage Combat, and Sport Dueling Lightsaber Instructors” and according their Facebook page, and they sell the patches through their website LightSaberAcademy.com. They also offer t-shirts with the questionable LSA logo on the website.
Michael Brown is the owner of several schools, including some other institutions not mentioned here, that have been in operation since 2005. Lightsaber Academy, Inc. has recently filed a trademark application for a logo that bears a striking resemblance to the Jedi Order logo used in the Star Wars films. According to the Lightsaber Academy website, they “have no affiliation with Star Wars, Lucasfilm, or Disney.”