Does George Lucas have a patent on the general shape of R2-D2?

I was reading something a while back about the merchandising of the Star Wars license, and I seem to remember reading that there was a patent on the “cylindrical, dome-headed, 2 side legs and 1 middle leg on wheels” style of robot. It was used to point out that there was only one legal “R2-D2-shaped” item out there, made by Coca-Cola.

Is there such a copyright or patent? Is it even possible to hold a copyright on “all things that resemble this object”?

I would say that only ‘robots’ (either real or fictional) that look too much like him would be a copyright infringement.

It couldn’t be a patent or copyright, since what you’re describing isn’t a technology or process, nor is it an artistic work. It would have to be a registered trademark. Lucasfilm (and Lucasfilm Games) has seven trademark registrations that you might want to dig into.

I sure hope not; those people who make those dome-top trashcans are in for in then…

When I first saw Star Wars, I thought R2D2 was very similar to the robots from Silent Running. Now that I look at the picture, though, they aren’t as similar as I remember.

In case anyone feels a pressing need to know more, I’ve tracked down my source.

In Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible by Stephen Sansweet, p. 119:

This quote is only a small description to go along with a picture of the toy, and there isn’t anything else said about this patent.

Picture of Cobot

Using Cerowyn’s link, I found 12 trademarks and 10 patents containing “R2-D2,” but so far I’ve had no luck finding this one.