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The man who made the Stormtrooper costumes for Star Wars is facing George Lucas' empire in the Supreme Court in an epic battle, not over the freedom of the galaxy, but over copyright.

Briton Andrew Ainsworth made the white helmets seen in the original movies from 2D drawings and sold two of them at auction in 2004. However, problems arose when he began making replicas himself and selling them on the internet.

Although he insists he has the copyright for the design because he made them in the first place, Lucas argues that he is the legal owner and intends to stop him.

In 2004, Mr Ainsworth was ordered to pay £12.4 million in damages to Lucasfilm after a court ruled in Lucas' favour, but he appealed and will now head to the Supreme Court to argue his case.

If he can prove that the Stormtrooper outfit is a sculpture and not a prop, he could win, as copyright for the former has now elapsed in the eyes of British law.

The Stormtroopers are Emperor Palpatine's personal army in the original Star Wars trilogy. Variations including Snowtroopers and Imperial Scout Troopers are seen in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi respectively.

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