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For 'Star Wars' Day, May the Legal Force Be With You

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Today is unofficially "Star Wars" Day -- as in, "May the Fourth be with you." (Get it?)

While many fans will mark the day with a clever social media post, we're reminded of how the company behind "Star Wars" has famously used The Force -- of the law -- to try to protect its trademarks in court (with mixed results, as Motherboard has pointed out). Meantime, a search of FindLaw's archives reveals a few other "Star Wars"-related legal tales as well.

So for "Star Wars" Day, here are three such legal episodes from not so long ago, in a galaxy pretty close...

1. Lucas Sues Over 'Jedi Mind' Headset.

Back in 2010, a couple of scruffy nerfherders at Jedi Mind Inc. got themselves sued by George Lucas himself. The company claimed its headset product would somehow read a user's brainwaves to allow interfacing with games and other computer software.

Lucas sued them for infringing on a "Jedi" trademark owned by his film production company Lucasfilm. Lucas doesn't control use of the word "Jedi" in all contexts, but there are legal problems when a product has a potential to cause real confusion for consumers.

Plus, the "Jedi mind trick" is a well-known "Star Wars" reference wherein a Jedi uses telepathy to manipulate others. This headset purported to "read" your mind to manipulate a game or software. Our guess is that Jedi Mind settled with Lucas, as the company is now called Mind Solutions.

2. Man Kills Wife Over 'Star Wars' Toys.

"Star Wars" collectibles are a big deal in some circles, but are they worth killing for?

A British man, Rickie La Touche, seemed to think so, after strangling his wife for smashing items from his Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader collections. They didn't freeze him in carbonite, but La Touche will be most likely be spending the rest of his life in prison.

3. Man Jailed for Light Saber Attack at Toys 'R' Us.

Oregon resident David Allen Canterbury should be reaching the end of his probation for an impromptu light saber battle he instigated with Toys "R" Us customers in 2012. The misguided padawan was sentenced to 45 days in jail for the attack, and had two years added to his then-existing probation.

Hopefully Canterbury can avoid the allure of the dark side when his grant of probation is over.

Think of any other legal "Star Wars" moments we missed? Serve us a slice of knowledge pie with a glass of blue milk on Facebook or Twitter.

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