Can you solve this Swede’s strange Star Wars mystery?

A Swedish Star Wars collector has made a mysterious discovery after opening up a vintage Millennium Falcon toy.

Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Peter Hillblom (left) and the Millennium Falcon toy with a mystery inside (right). Photo: Peter Hillblom

Peter Hillblom from Hofors, near Gävle, recently bought a batch of figurines and games at an auction in Sweden. Inside the box was a 1979 Millennium Falcon toy, but inside that was something even more special.

After hearing a rattling sound coming from within the miniature version of Han Solo’s fabled ship in the sci-fi blockbusters, the Swede decided to open it up and give it a clean, leading to an unexpected finding.

“I was looking for the lightsaber for a Luke Skywalker figure the seller said could have fallen into the Falcon,” Hillblom told The Local.

“I was surprised to discover a piece of paper which came loose from a dry piece of tape.”

The note inside the Millennium Falcon. Photo: Peter Hillblom

On the paper was a note reading “I have now made over 4,000 of these things. When do I qualify for a free Falcon? Luv, Derek”. Attached to the paper was a receipt with “Aldridge Plastics Limited, Injection Moulders” printed on it.

Could the note have been written by someone who worked in the British factory that produced the toy in the 1970s?

In an effort to discover the answer, Hillblom reached out to fellow Star Wars collectors for their help.

“I put out a couple of photos of the find on some forums and there was almost a circus of comments. My mobile was going off constantly throughout the night with messages from people who wanted to know more,” he explained.

On one Facebook group for Star Wars collectors the pictures received 134 comments. Several people are now trying to track down the mysterious Derek in question.

“It would be really great to reconnect with him in some way,” Hillblom noted.

The collector won't be able to hand the note over to Derek if he ever finds him however. In his blog entry where he first revealed the strange find, Hillblom promised he would sell it along with the Millennium Falcon and its box. True to his word, it has since been passed on to another Star Wars fan in Sweden for a total of 8850 kronor ($1045).

So far the amateur investigators have been unable to track Derek down meanwhile, and with Aldridge Plastics no longer operating in the UK, the mystery may be destined to remain unsolved. 

Do you know who wrote the mysterious note? Email us at [email protected]


Star Wars director loses Sweden ‘droid battle’

Lucasfilm, the production company of Star Wars director George Lucas, has lost its bid to prevent a Swedish firm from registering the trademark "Brandroid" despite concerns it is too similar to other Lucasfilm "droid" trademarks.

Star Wars director loses Sweden 'droid battle'

Back in early 2011, Stockholm-based digital branding services company Ocean Observations filed forms with Sweden’s Patent and Trademark Registration Office (PRV) to register the name “Brandroid”.

“The name is a combination of the word ‘brand’ and ‘Android’,” Ocean Observations founder Sofia Svanteson told The Local.

She explained the name stemmed from a project the company had been working on for a client based in Japan aimed at designing a more user-friendly interface for devices used on the Android operating system.

A short time later, however, the company received a letter from Lucasfilm expressing concerns about the “Brandroid” trademark.

The Star Wars director’s company, which has several trademarks registered in Sweden – including “Droid”, “Droids”, and “Idroids” referring to “intelligent robots in the six films included in the Star Wars film series”, feared that the Ocean Observations trademark could cause confusion among consumers.

Lucasfilm claimed that its trademark was “included in its entirety in BRANDROID” and that “the trademarks are visually and aurally similar” and therefore interchangeable.

According to Swedish law, a trademark can’t be registered if “it is identical with or similar to an older brand trademark for goods or services of the same or a similar type” or if there is a risk they could be confused with one another.

However, when Svanteson received word of the complaint, she and her company simply dismissed it.

“We couldn’t imagine that the objection would be taken seriously so we ignored it,” she said.

“There are tons of names out there with the word ‘droid’ in them.”

The Swedish patent office agreed with Svanteson’s view, finding in a recently filed ruling that Lucasfilm’s complaint had no merit.

While PRV admitted that there were similarities between the class of goods and services for which the Lucasfilm and Ocean Observation trademarks had been registered, the agency found there was little chance that consumers would be confused by the two because “BRANDROID” is viewed as a made up word with no connection to the meaning that the term “DROID” has by itself.

Moreover, PRV disputed that “Brandroid” would really be pronounced in a manner that would emphasize “-droid”, arguing speakers would likely pronounce it “brand-roid”.

Svanteson at Ocean Observations said she was “happy” to hear that the patent agency had rejected Lucasfilm’s complaint, but emphasized that her company had never been concerned about it in the first place.

“I’m glad the matter is over, but we were never worried. It felt like the complaint was some sort of automatic response they send out any time someone registered a trademark anywhere with the word ‘droid’ in it,” she told The Local.

David Landes

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