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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jedi Lawsuit Causes Great Disturbance in the Force

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

click to enlarge Impressive, Mr. Fouch. Most impressive. But you are not a Jedi ... period.
  • Impressive, Mr. Fouch. Most impressive. But you are not a Jedi ... period.
In the lightsaber, the Jedi Knights had "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age." Here in the earth-bound 21st century, we're stuck with the lawsuit. Still, not as clumsy or random as a blaster, when you think about it.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away -- okay, it was yesterday and in Oakland -- George Lucas filed suit against a man named Brent Fouch who has chosen to name his "thought-controlled technologies" software company "Jedi Mind, Inc." (Yes, the term "Jedi" is being applied to technology that purports to allow you to move objects with your mind). Whether Fouch's work colleagues uttered the line "I have a bad feeling about this" when he chose this name was not disclosed.

To be honest, considering Fouch's company "is a business entity with no affiliation whatsoever with LucasFilm Ltd." this is a remarkably straightforward legal complaint. And yet, it stretches to 44 pages -- though, it warrants mentioning, it reads far better than anything penned by George Lucas.

click to enlarge Ready are you for litigation? What know you of ready?
  • Ready are you for litigation? What know you of ready?
The legalistic explanation of the backstory of the Star Wars universe and what, exactly, a Jedi is -- is hilarious, naturally. It's hard not to imagine the following scrolling, in blue text, over the depths of space:

"Plaintiff LucasFilm Ltd. is the principal owner of the trademark JEDI, a word known globally for almost 35 years as a reference to the powerful, knowledgeable, brave and (usually) good-hearted science-fiction warriors known as Jedi knights..."


"LucasFilm is synonymous with the 1977 science fiction film Star Wars, with the film's two sequels and three prequels, and with the more than one thousand authorized novels, children's books, comic books, radio plays, video games, television specials, action figures and home video releases which are set in its fictional universe." (Really? They're bringing up television specials -- like the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special? That's the thing to do?)


"The principal figures of the Star Wars sagas are the Jedi knights, an order of warrior monks who use the power of "the Force" -- the energy that flows through all living beings and binds the universe together -- to protect the existence and values of the democratic Old Republic. When Senator Palpatine of the planet Naboo overthrows the Republic and founds the Galactic Empire, the Jedi knights become outlaws, living underground and on the run from Imperial storm troopers. They continue, however, to practice their ancient religion and secretly train new apprentices." (It was wise, incidentally, to specify the treacherous actions of Senator Palpatine of Naboo. Senator Palpatine of Trenton, N.J. is tired of all those nasty phone calls.)

Lucas' people sent Fouch a cease-and-desist letter in May of last year, and he purportedly replied shortly thereafter claiming he'd phase out the use of the term "Jedi." But LucasFilm claims Fouch is altering the deal. Not willing to pray he doesn't alter it further, they've opted to stop trying to negotiate. Instead they will "do." There is no try.

LucsFilm is demanding damages to the tune of $5 million and lost profits also totaling $5 million -- plus numerous other expenses. It remains to be seen if Fouch is full of surprises -- or if LucasFilm's ultimate victory will be all too easy.

H/T   |   Courthouse News

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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