LOS ANGELES - November 9, 2023 – In what has been a decade long battle between the Shelby Trust, owner of “Shelby” trademarks and trade dress relating to internationally known and respected Shelby vehicles, and Denise Halicki, surviving spouse of H.B. "Toby" Halicki, producer of the 1974 “Gone in 60 Seconds” film, the 1982 “The Junkman” film, and the 1983 “Deadline Auto Theft film, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has finally and decisively placed Shelby in the driver's seat.
Multiple fungible yellow and black Mustangs code-named “Eleanor” appeared in each of Mr. Halicki's Gone in 60 Seconds and Deadline Auto Theft films, and one of the beaten up yellow and black prop cars from Gone in 60 Seconds was shown in The Junkman. In the 2000 Hollywood Pictures' remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, the code name “Eleanor” was used to refer to rare Shelby GT500 cars, one of which was grey and black and the other of which was rusted and paintless. Mrs. Halicki claimed that all these multiple cars referred to as “Eleanor” appearing across the four above-mentioned movies comprised a single copyrightable character belonging to her and that her purported character copyright somehow prohibited the Shelby Trust from licensing other people and companies to manufacture, sell or auction Shelby GT500s.
Mrs. Halicki went so far as to sue and/or threaten to sue Shelby GT500 vintage manufacturers, customers and auction houses, because she claimed their cars violated her alleged copyright interests - in a purported “Eleanor” character because they looked like the grey and black “Eleanor” car from the 2000 Hollywood Pictures remake film, “which in fact was repeatedly identified in the movie as a Shelby GT500.” The Shelby Trust was thus forced to sue to protect its licensees and loyal Shelby GT500 owners.
In November 2022, the Court rejected Mrs. Halicki's longstanding practice of trying to extract money from Shelby GT500 vintage manufacturers and car owners based on a nonexistent copyright and decisively ruled that the Eleanor code named vehicles shown in the Gone in 60 Seconds, The Junkman and Deadline Auto Theft movies are NOT deserving of any “character” copyright protection.
The Court, in a meticulous 41-page opinion, criticized Mrs. Halicki and her counsel for misleading prior courts through their “unfortunate practice of . . . embellish[ing] facts in their briefing” and causing “factual inaccuracies” to make their way into a Ninth Circuit opinion “that likely assumed the facts were true” when they were not. Based on its independent review of the movies in question, the Court found various of Mrs. Halicki and her counsel's representations about the movies to be “plainly false” or “an embellishment, to say the least.”
After trial in 2023, the Court rejected Mrs. Halicki's fallback argument, that a 2007 settlement agreement somehow prevented the Shelby Trust and its licensees from selling newly manufactured Shelby GT500s made under license to Carroll Shelby Licensing. The Court rejected Mrs. Halicki's contract arguments, stating that Mrs. Halicki's theories were “untethered to the text of the contract.” The Court also left the door open for Shelby to sue in the future should Mrs. Halicki attempt to impede the lawful commerce of Shelby vehicles in the future.
M. Neil Cummings, Esq., CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc., and Co-Trustee of the Shelby Trust who has overseen the entire process, is very pleased with the Court's decision and happy for all Shelby customers and the Shelby legacy.
“Shelby was compelled to take this action to protect our valued licensees and Shelby GT500 owners,” said Mr. Cummings. “We can finally tell them that Mrs. Halicki has absolutely no right to complain about or file a lawsuit based upon the looks of any car licensed by the Shelby Trust. The true worth of all vintage Shelby GT500s is now secure with this news.”
Safe Harbor Statement
The statements contained in this press release that are not purely historical, including statements regarding the Company's expectations, hopes, beliefs, intentions, or strategies regarding the future, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Actual results may differ materially from those expected because of various known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the continuing effects of the U.S. recession and global credit environment, other changes in general economic and industry conditions, the award or loss of significant client assignments, timing of contracts, recruiting and new business solicitation efforts, currency fluctuations, and other factors affecting the financial health of our clients. These and other risks are described in the Company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports filed with or furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.
Carroll Shelby International
Carroll Shelby International, Inc. has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Shelby American, Inc. and Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc., called the Shelby Companies. Together, the Shelby Companies are engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of performance vehicles and related accessories worldwide, as well as the licensing of the Shelby brand to third parties in connection with various products, including vehicles, memorabilia, video games, models, toys, branded apparel, styling and performance parts.
About Carroll Shelby Licensing
Auto manufacturer and entrepreneur Carroll Shelby is one of the most famous and successful high-performance visionaries in the world. A pioneer for modern automotive licensing programs, he began licensing his name and designs for various products beginning in the 1960s. He founded Carroll Shelby Licensing Inc., which is the exclusive holder of trademarks and vehicle design rights for some of the most famous muscle cars and high-performance vehicles. CSL also holds trademark rights for Shelby-branded apparel, accessories and collectibles. For more information about the company or licensing opportunities, call (310) 914-1843, fax (310) 538-8189 or write CSL at 19021 S Figueroa St., Gardena, CA 90248, or visit https://www.shelby.com/carrollshelbylicensing.
About Shelby American, Inc
Founded by legend Carroll Shelby, Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK), manufactures and markets performance vehicles and related products. The company builds authentic continuation Cobras, including the 427 S/C, 289 FIA, 289 street car, Daytona Coupe and Shelby Series 2 component vehicles; it offers the Shelby GT, 1000, Super Snake, and GT post-title packages for the 2005-2019 Ford Mustang. Shelby American also offers the Shelby Raptor, Shelby F-150 Super Snake and Shelby F-150 trucks, as well as the Shelby F-250 Super Baja. Heritage cars include the continuation 1965 Shelby GT350 competition model, 1967 Ford Shelby Super Snake and 1968 Ford Shelby GT500KR. For more information, visit http://www.shelby.com.
Scott Black at (214) 520-3430 | TimePiece PR & Marketing | firstname.lastname@example.org