Star Wars significantly contributed to our culture, but the saga not only offers good entertainment, but has also helped to develop many effective solutions protected by exclusive rights.
Star Wars Day, not incidentally celebrated on May 4, is the feast of all fans of the famous film series. The date was chosen deliberately for both the name of the month and the close pronunciation of the words fourth and force, and the motto of the day is May the fourth be with you. Do you know that this slogan is a protected trademark? Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC filed it with the US Patent Office (USPTO) in 2014, although three years earlier it registered the phrase in a slightly different form – May the 4th be with you.
The already iconic phrase “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, spoken in various variants a total of ten times by seven different characters in almost all parts of the saga, starting from Luke Skywalker in New Hope, has been registered with both the USPTO and the EUIPO.
For linguistic reasons, the word droid is also interesting. It was created by John Stears, a specialist in special effects, by abbreviating the word “android”. In Star Wars, droids are robots that possess some kind of artificial intelligence. There are several types of droids, including protocol droids (e.g. C-3PO), or droids for engineering applications (e.g. R2-D2). This word has been protected in the name of Lucasfilm since 1977 (the protection for this word has been claimed many times for various uses).
The companies that want to use the word droid commercially must obtain the consent of the rightholder or be prepared to be sued for the infringement of exclusive rights – and such cases have already occurred. Below is an excerpt from the letter regarding the application for the Addroid mark:
Lucasfilm is committed to protecting intellectual property. A total of hundred of patents, trademarks and copyrights are associated with Star Wars. Not only word marks are protected, but also the character appearance and technologies used in film production. Protecting intellectual property, George Lucas earned around $ 30 billion by selling products under the Star Wars brand alone.
In recent years, many patents have been granted to Lucasfilm and Disney for inventions regarding, among others, virtual reality, three-dimensional motion capture or projection systems. These solutions are probably related to the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme park opened in August 2019 at Disney World in Orlando.
One of the most interesting patents is the projection system based on interaction with the viewer, which will allow the user to experience almost real lightsaber combat. This system uses a drone to transmit laser light that will produce a virtual lightsaber. Fog increases laser visibility, so amusement park guests will be able to use their own light swords to reflect a light beam from the drone. The users will have the chance to feel like a real Jedi, because they will be able to feel feedback reaction of the virtual lightsaber and hear its characteristic sound. I am writing about a future development, because currently there is no information that would confirm the implementation of the above solution.
And below you will find is a brief overview of the publications in which the drawings look familiar not only to fans. May the force be with you!