The number of patents that Lucasfilm owns makes them an impressive FORCE (bad pun intended) in intellectual property. They have filed a lot of patents. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars enterprise is famously very protective, and understandably proud, of Star Wars intellectual property.
Lucasfilm has filed patent applications on almost everything in the Star Wars universe. Characters, robots, aircraft, objects, vehicles — you name it. Intellectual property protection in the form of patents allows for Lucasfilm to have the rights to the royalties for merchandise produced, like toys. And with more Star Wars spin-offs, sequels, and re-releases in the works it doesn’t look like the Star Wars franchise will be running out of steam anytime soon, and will undoubtedly be adding to their arsenal of intellectual property and particularly their patent portfolio.
Looking at the intricacies of patent art sure is fascinating for many Star Wars fans. (And some of you may even have Star Wars patent poster hanging somewhere in your home.) But what are some of the Star Wars design patents that have been granted? Be patient, young Padawan, and you will soon find out.
Audience Interaction Projection System (aka Lightsabers)
Disney is building Star Wars section to their theme parks at Disneyland and Disneyworld, and has filed a patent application that suggests Disney plans on recreating lightsaber fight sequences for visitors. The patent application filed by Disney is titled the “Audience Interaction Projection System.” OK, so there is no possible way they are real lightsabers, but they are probably as close to a light saber as we could possibly get! The description in the patent’s abstract suggests that maybe visitors will have a chance to interact with a show or attraction and be able to hold a device that will look, feel, and perform like real lightsabers. (However, it is always good to keep in mind that patent applications do not necessarily mean that a lightsaber experience with visitors will happen, but that it could happen. But it does seem to perfectly fit into Disney’s idea for the Star Wars section at the Disney theme parks.)
The following is what the patent abstract states:
“A process and system capture infrared light that is reflected or emitted from a device to precisely locate the device. The process and system project visible light from a light source toward the device such that the light is precisely targeted at the device. Preferably the visible light passes through an atmosphere containing particulate matter rendering the visible light as a beam that appears to emanate from the device rather than from the light source.”
Jabba the Hut
Ewok Family Hut
May the force be with you!