LucasFilm Skips The Jedi Mind Trick And Just Straight Up Sues 'Jedi Mind'

from the the-force-is-strong-with-this-one dept

Fresh off its legal lightsaber battle with Wicked Lasers, LucasFilm's legal department has moved on to pulling a Jedi Mind trick... literally. David Canton points us to the news that LucasFilm has filed a lawsuit against a Nevada company called Jedi Mind. Not surprisingly, they're not particularly happy with the name, and are charging the company with trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, breach of contract and unfair competition (under California's law). Apparently, a Jedi Mind is no match for a good legal department... Of course, this case seems a lot stronger than the lightsaber one, and my guess is that Jedi Mind is going to have to backdown quickly, or it's going to lose pretty badly. Even auctioning off the lawsuit papers probably won't help...

THREsq has a lot more details on the lawsuit, noting that after receiving a cease & desist from LucasFilm's lawyers last year, Jedi Mind had agreed to phase out the use of the name. The lawsuit (and the breach of contract claim) comes from its failure to do so. The other interesting point: Lucas doesn't actually hold a trademark on "Jedi" or "Jedi Mind." It does hold trademarks on Jedi Knight, Jedi Power Battles and Jedi Training Academy but that's not quite the same thing... Still, the company claims that's enough to wield the force over Jedi Mind.


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  1.  
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    Richard Corsale, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    wait, what?

    How is this a slam dunk? I mean if they don't own Jedi ... that's like the red baron suing red robin?

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: wait, what?

    Just looking at the charges they may be using it to fool people into thinking its part of the official thing...though I am unable to read the documents from work today

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Jedi Religion

    How long before they go after these people:

     

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    Hidden Force, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: wait, what?

    Or, as a better analogy, DC Comics suing Red Robin for the use of the name of one of its characters.

    If it's true that LucasFilm doesn't own a copyright on "Jedi" or "Jedi mind trick," then how do they have any legal legs to stand on?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Jedi Religion

    They can claim freedom of religion and that using the name is required by their religion and so they can get away with it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: wait, what?

    Except Red Robin the restaurant (founded in 1969) predates Red Robin the character which first appeared in 1995's Kingdom Come.

     

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    Coco Was Screwed, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: wait, what?

    And the Song predates the Restaurant by 43 years...

     

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    cc (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Lucasfilm doesn't have the trademark on Jedi and they have no competing products that could confuse consumers (Jedi Mind seem to be selling thought-controlled games and software, apparently).

    If they win this outright, it's because the judge was biased and was thinking that Jedi must go to Lucas by default -- but that's not the law, is it?

     

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    Patrik, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Re:

    I think it's pretty safe to say that the court will consider "Jedi" shorthand for "Jedi Knight". I don't think there's any other context, right? I'm no Star Wars geek, but I don't recall any other implication for "Jedi" in the series. All "Jedi" are "Jedi Knights", correct? There aren't any Jedi Nurses or Jedi Lawyers, as far as I know. Well, I've heard the most recent trilogy gets pretty out there with the politics, so maybe there is some sort of Jedi that was never a Jedi knight.

    Just as I probably couldn't open a fast food burger joint called Mickey D's or BK, or a chicken joint called KFC (though "Kennedy Fried Chicken" is apparently OK) or a brand of shoes called cons or chucks.

     

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    Daniel Vaughn (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Oh, references..

    I love how LucasFilm refers to this as "restoring balance to the force of the JEDI trademark."

     

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    Nick Burns (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    How long before they go after Jedi's Garden:
    http://jedisfamilyrestaurant.homestead.com/

    Who have been around for a while, but I only saw them appear in my hometown after the original movies came out.

     

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  12.  
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    Patrick Guevara, Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 2:55pm

    "Lucas doesn't actually hold a trademark on 'Jedi' or 'Jedi Mind.'"

    How do you know this? I think you mean Lucas does not have trademark registrations for JEDI or JEDI MIND? It is basic trademark law in the US that registration is not necessary to establish trademark rights. Thus, one can own trademarks in the US without registering them.

     

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  13.  
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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Then maybe LucasArts should have trademarked Jedi instead of Jedi Knights, so that any use of the word 'Jedi' would be covered.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 23rd, 2010 @ 6:02pm

    Re:

    How do you know this? I think you mean Lucas does not have trademark registrations for JEDI or JEDI MIND? It is basic trademark law in the US that registration is not necessary to establish trademark rights. Thus, one can own trademarks in the US without registering them.

    You're correct. I should have said *registered* trademark. It is entirely possible that they have a strong claim on a common law trademark, which can be quite effective.

     

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    Paul Taylor, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 5:34am

    I wonder what Lucas' legal team have to say about the Hip-Hop group called Jedi Mind Tricks.

     

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    Pete Braven (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Ah, religious zeal!

    I can't help but smile at this one. In the last census in the UK, so many people entered 'Jedi Knight' as their religion, it had to become a recognised faith!
    Just maybe, Lucas now thinks he is God an will punish all unbelievers?
    Next thing will be the use of the word 'force' in teaching physics or maybe the Itallians will retrospectively sue for the use of 'Empire' on behalf or the Romans?

     

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    Topgun, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 2:10am

    Their case is very strong. If you look at the products and services they offer, they are basing it solely on Lucas Arts trademarks. I think Jedi Mind will back down quickly and either draw licensing service through Lucas Arts, or completely change their name.

     

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  18.  
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    phishy, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 3:14am

    Re: Re:

    Not to be a douche, but....

    Jedi is the shorthand for Jedi Knight, yet there are several levels, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master, etc etc. Jedi being the key term, the other being a definition of, well I guess Skill level.

    Jedi indeed falls to Lucas, how can it not? Say Jedi, what are you thinking. Read the word Jedi, what do you see? If I come into a store and see some thought controlled Jedi named toyed, I'd immediately associate that with the 1 and only instance of the term Jedi in the worlds collective memory, Star Wars.

    It's not direct infringement but it's about as close as you can get. Might as well start selling Vader looking costumes named "Barth Dader" you'll still get sued.

     

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    Malak (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 3:42am

    If Jedi was a word that Lucas had appropriated for his space samurai, then other uses would be pretty fair game. However a quick Wikipedia check seem to say that he cooked up the word himself (or at least dragged it up for very deep obscurity, possibly form another language) so I think that it's fair to say that there is some genuine cause to believe that there could be confusion.

    Certainly I'd assume that a videogames company called Jedi Mind was a spinoff of Lucas Arts or something...

    I can't help but smile at this one. In the last census in the UK, so many people entered 'Jedi Knight' as their religion, it had to become a recognised faith!

    Fraid not... :(

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_census_phenomenon

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    look it up, star wars trivia, screw lucas

    "The word "Jedi" is derived from the Japanese words "Jidai Geki" which translate as "period adventure drama." A period adventure drama is a Japanese TV soap opera program set in the samurai days. George Lucas mentioned in an interview that he saw a "Jidai Geki" program on TV while in Japan a year or so before the movie was made and liked the word."

     

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  21.  
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    Bob McDowell, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Different Jedi's

    Not just Knights, no. Also masters and at least one example of a librarian.

     

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    brinkie, Aug 26th, 2010 @ 2:02am

    Jedi outside US

     

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    WALSC JOFAY, Mar 10th, 2011 @ 2:01am

    Lucas Owns Nothing it Has Claimed

    I came across an earlier article where it stated that LucasArts said they owned the rights to Oneness with the Universe". Got new for them, the Buddhists came up with that concept over 2000 years ago! And as far as the Jedi name, yes, there were several shows with the name Jidai in them from japan dating all the way back to the '30s. There was also an obscure religious sect in India a long time ago called Jhedi. And for throwing lighting bolts from fingertips, there have been several shows depicting that throughout the years. Moving objects with your mind? People have been trying to do that since prehistoric times. I used to hold George Lucas in such high esteem, but as Yoda said, "Cone is he, consumed by the Dark Side"

     

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