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One of the prop designers for the first Star Wars movie in 1977 has won an epic David and Goliath battle against LucasFilm after taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Briton Andrew Ainsworth made the white Stormtrooper 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 insisted he had the copyright for the design because he made them in the first place, Star Wars creator George Lucas argued that he was the legal owner and intended 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.

Now, the judge has ruled that the Stormtrooper helmet was a prop and not a sculpture, meaning the copyright expires 15 years after they were first marketed.

If it had been decided it was a sculpture, the copyright would have lasted for 70 years.

This means Mr Ainsworth will be able to carry on making replica outfits and selling them, something that has left him delighted.

"In the English legal system David can prevail against Goliath if his cause is right. If there is a force, then it has been with me these past five years," he added.

The Stormtroopers are Emperor Palpatine's personal army in the original Star Wars trilogy and are recognisable by their white helmets and body armour.

Variations including Snowtroopers and Imperial Scout Troopers - whose costumes are specially adapted to suit different planets' terrains - can be seen in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi respectively.

One of the Stormtroopers famously bangs his head in one of the first scenes in A New Hope, a mistake that made it to the final cut of the movie.

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