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WickedLasers Spyder III Pro Arctic Laser   (Source: WickedLasers)

George Lucas has demanded Wicked Lasers stop producing their device or face a lawsuit. Our advice to them -- watch out for the Rancor pit!  (Source: LucasFilm)
Lucas says there's only room for one jedi lightsaber in town; Wicked Lasers says claims are ridiculous

Early last month we covered Hong Kong-based Wicked Laser's new Spyder III Pro Arctic laser, a 1-watt beast capable of setting people's skin on fire and causing blindness.  In that article we compared the laser to a "lightsaber", as a humorous pop culture reference.  After all, the design looked much like the iconic Star Wars weapon.

George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, noticed that similarity, too, and now has threatened Wicked Lasers to change their design or prepare to be sued.  Lucas's firm Lucasfilm Ltd. sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company threatening legal action if the conditions are not accepted.  Lucasfilm states, "It is apparent from the design of the Pro Arctic Laser that it was intended to resemble the hilts of our lightsaber swords, which are protected by copyright..."

The letter says that much like the fictional lightsabers, the Wicked Lasers can prove a dangerous weapon.  It writes that they are "a highly dangerous product with the potential to cause blindness, burns and other damage to people and/or property."

Steve Liu, CEO of Wicked Lasers, says his 7-year-old firm has many lasers that look like the Spyder III and that the design was not meant to copy Star Wars.  He states, "Most people feel it's kind of ridiculous... We would never use any comparison like that to 'Star Wars' or a lightsaber or anything like that."

Much like Luke Skywalker facing down Jabba the Hutt, Liu boldly proclaims that Lucas is making a big error with his legal threats.  He states, "Lucasfilm shouldn't be saying something like that.  They're a big company that needs to protect their trademarks. Maybe they're having to look like they're protecting their trademark in case they need to [protect it again] later."

While we think this suit is relatively silly (most laser pointers look somewhat lightsaber-like), it is hard to deny that the look of the Pro Arctic is remarkably similar to a Star Wars universe lightsaber.

In response to the demand and safety concerns, Wicked Lasers has made some modifications to the devices before it ships them to customers.  It has added the following:
1) Adjustable Power Mode : Low power and high power modes are now selectable. Laser's default power mode is low power mode.

2) Adjustable Wave Mode
: Pulse mode and constant wave modes are now selectable. Laser's default wave mode is pulse mode.

3) Secure Lock/Unlock Mode : The laser can now be locked and unlocked electronically to prevent unauthorized usage. Laser's default secure mode is locked mode.

4) Training Lens : A replaceable training lens will be installed on each laser that reduces the power output by 80% to prevent accidents for new users. Once training is completed, user may replace the training lens with the included standard lens for maximum power.
Perhaps those modifications will help keep overzealous users from burning themselves or others.

As to the Lucas mess, the letter gave Wicked Lasers five days to promise changes, and it seems the company is unwilling to comply.  Thus it seems likely that Lucasfilm will sue it.  Liu, though, says he hopes that it won't come to that.  We're guessing George Lucas is searching for a good Sarlacc pit to throw them in now, as we write this.

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You messed it all up
By murray13 on 7/7/2010 1:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
You know that if you didn't make the reference to a 'lightsaber', Lucas would be probably be oblivious to this product coming out and no letter would have been sent, no threat of a lawsuit.

How else is a laser pointer that you can use from across town supposed to look, when you have to have areas for cooling air to flow, and hold it in a hand, it's going to look a certain way. Did the manufacturer portray it or make any reference to a lightsaber, didn't think so.

RE: You messed it all up
By JasonMick (blog) on 7/7/2010 1:22:45 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think its fair to blame me for others stupidity.

C'mon look at that thing. Does it not remind you of a lightsaber???

It burns people. It's an awesome little device, the problem here is not that we compared it to a lightsaber, it's that trademarks on fictional devices can be used to try to prevent making the "real thing" so to speak.

RE: You messed it all up
By Hydrofirex on 7/7/2010 1:49:58 PM , Rating: 5
It's an obvious comparison made by multiple tech reporting sites. Kudos to Daily Tech becuase the original story got you guys a reference over at CNN when this new story broke. I love DT, so I got a big kick out of seeing that.


RE: You messed it all up
By Gio6518 on 7/7/2010 3:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
C'mon look at that thing. Does it not remind you of a lightsaber???

if it does go through, then cha-ching for the roddenberry family, iPad alone is an obvious rip off of the Data Pad, not counting cell phones, all touch screen devices etc. etc. etc.

RE: You messed it all up
By YashBudini on 7/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: You messed it all up
By derricker on 7/7/2010 5:36:47 PM , Rating: 3
it's that trademarks on fictional devices can be used to try to prevent making the "real thing" so to speak.

Yeah, if the original owners of the star trek franchise would've come up with the same crap, we wouldn't have flip cell phones, MRI Scanners, GPS, Antimatter Engine Research, or even the push for holodeck gaming.

RE: You messed it all up
By Fritzr on 7/7/2010 11:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
Long, narrow, straight blade ... it's obviously a light rapier :P

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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