SAN FRANCISCO – A federal court has refused to block the sale and distribution of an X-rated, animated Star Wars spoof.
Lucasfilm Ltd. sued Media Market Group Ltd., the New York producers of Starballz, for copyright and trademark infringement last October.
George Lucas alleged that similarities between Starballz and Star Wars could confuse consumers into thinking that Lucasfilm sponsored or produced the X-rated movie that mocks the Star Wars story line.
But a federal judge in San Francisco said last week there was "little likelihood of confusion" between the two films.
"The Star Wars films are so famous that is extremely unlikely that consumers would believe that Starballz is associated with Star Wars or Lucasfilm," said Judge Claudia Wilken.
"We respectfully disagree with the judge's decision on the preliminary injunction," said Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lynne Hale. "This is a pornographic cartoon utilizing Star Wars intellectual property. We feel strongly that the law does not allow for parody to be a defense to a pornographic use of someone else's intellectual property."
In December, the court had granted a temporary restraining order preventing further manufacture, sale, release or distribution of Starballz by Media Market Group Ltd.
Hale said Lucasfilm had not yet decided whether it would appeal.
The makers of Starballz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.