The term “Jedi” has been around for nearly 40 years and phrases like “Jedi mind trick” get thrown around so frequently you might forget that it’s a term that George Lucas created — and trademarked — for use in the Star Wars universe of movies, books, TV shows, variety specials, and merchandise. Which is why Lucasfilm — now a subsidiary of Disney — is suing the operator of programs that teach students how to use their lightsabers.
On the NY Jedi website, the program promises to “provide you with the best light saber choreo classes anywhere on the East Coast! We have experienced dancers, martial artists, and cosplayers that know a thing or two about saber choreography, and we offer classes to make you look as good as we do!”
The Lightsaber Academy, apparently operated by the same person, offers certification for folks seeking to be a “Lightsaber Instructor.”
In a complaint [PDF] filed Friday in a federal court in California, Lucasfilm alleges that not only did the defendants use the company’s trademarks without permission, they also applied to register trademarks for “New York Jedi” and this application for a Lightsaber Academy logo that Lucasfilm believes is a lot like its already trademarked logo for the Jedi Order:
According to the complaint, the defendants have repeatedly sought Lucasfilm’s approval to use the trademarked terms, but the company has denied those requests.
Additionally, Lucasfilm claims to have sent multiple cease-and-desist demands to the NY Jedi folks. The lawsuit alleges that both of the trademark applications mentioned above were filed after the Disney-owned company served the defendants with a request to stop using the trademarked terms.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, and cybersquatting. Lucasfilm is seeking an injunction stopping the defendants from using these marks, along with orders to destroy all infringing materials, transfer the allegedly offending URLs to Lucasfilm, and withdraw all related trademark applications.
We’ve attempted to contact the defendants for comment on this lawsuit, but have yet to hear back. We will update if we receive a response.
by Chris Morran via Consumerist