There is no doubt George Lucas
has had an amazing film career -- "American Graffiti
, "Raiders of the Lost Ark
," the original Star Wars
trilogy. He's also a successful businessman, as his production company Lucasfilm
is an industry leader in developing special effects and computer animation.
But still, Lucas is a filmmaker first, and if one considers the films that he's been involved with since 1989
-- consisting mostly of inferior Star Wars prequels and the occasional nuking of a fridge -- one has to conclude that the man with the prominent jowls' mind is elsewhere.
We may have stumbled onto what is sapping up so much of Lucas's creative mojo: issuing cease and desist orders.
Recently, a company called Wicked Lasers
released what it is calling "the most powerful hand-held laser ever available to the public." What Wicked Laser never called its new product, which is being marketed to military, industrial and research customers, was a "lightsaber."
Nevertheless, because consumers and folks in the press were comparing the Spyder III Pro Arctic Series
to a lightsaber, George Lucas slapped Wicked Laser with a cease and desist order
, demanding they either change its design or stop selling it altogether.
This is far from the first time Lucas has gotten all legalistic when he thought his brand was being violated. Read on for some of our favorite George Lucas C&D orders.
Judging from his gripe with Wicked Lasers, George Lucas would rather spend thousands of years being slowly digested in the belly of a Sarlacc
than have any entity not associated with Lucasfilm make a dime off anything remotely related to even the concept of a lightsaber.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when a lighting company called High-Tech Magic
recklessly declared on its website that it could "do Star Wars light sabers" they were quickly hit with a C&D.
When High-Tech Magic ignored the letter, Lucasfilm's lawyers pounced with a lawsuit that demanded, among other things, the offending company destroy all the infringing merchandise.
The THX deep note
is the audio logo of Tomlinson Holman's experiment, which is a high-fidelity sound reproduction standard developed by Lucasfilm. According to its trademark, the deep note "consists of 30 voices over seven measures, starting in a narrow range, 200 to 400 Hz, and slowly diverting to preselected pitches encompassing three octaves."
We'd provide you with an audio link, so you could get a better sense of what the hell that means, but we're pretty sure Lucas wouldn't be pleased. Case in point, he slapped master sampler Dr. Dre
with a C&D when Dre used an unauthorized recording of this special note on his album "2001."
Lucas's legal problems with Digg
had nothing to do with any of the potentially unauthorized Lucasfilm content the news aggregator may have hosted. Oh no, the great man and his legal minions were peeved that Digg dared to even take the name Digg
, which, as they argued in a 2007 trademark complaint, infringes upon a 1995 Lucasfilm video game titled "The Dig."
So, let that be a lesson to all: George Lucas forever owns the word "dig." And it makes no difference how many "G"s you tack on it.
Imperial Stout Troopers
Imperial Stout is a type of dark beer with a high alcohol content. The folks at the New England Brewing
company decided to have a bit of fun with the beer's name, so they called their batch of the stuff "Imperial Stout Trooper
" and added a label featuring stormtroopers. It's some pretty good stuff too, rating 87th on a Beer Advocate
survey of best beers on the planet.
Was George Lucas having any of this? Of course not, and a C&D followed. While the Imperial Stout Trooper recipe lives on, the original name and packaging are now collector's items.
The Political Establishment
Given how protective Lucas is of the Star Wars brand, he'd never let Ronald Reagan get away with calling his controversial Cold War plan to protect America from Soviet nukes "Star Wars," right?
Actually, Reagan wasn't the one who dubbed the strategic defense initiative "Star Wars." In fact, that nickname came from those who opposed the plan. So did Lucas hit those critics with a cease and desist? Hell and yeah
However, his ultimate lawsuit against the makers of two political advertisements which referenced the phrase "Star Wars" was tossed, as a judge ruled the Star Wars franchise was enough a part of the national lexicon that it could be used as social criticism.