Culture

DeLorean Motor Company faces lawsuit over Back to the Future car

If you are a ‘Back to the Future’ fan then you know that this year is a very special year in the franchise, not only is it the 30th Anniversary, but it’s the year the young Marty McFly travelled to in the sequel. The date that Marty found himself was October 21, 2015, and it was filled with 3D sharks, hoverboards and Nike auto-lacing shoes. Since then things have changed drastically, but one thing that hasn’t changed since the 1980s it seems, is that the name DeLorean means courtroom filings and trials.

One of the most iconic images and props used in the franchise was the time-travelling DeLorean, modified to time-travel in the popular films. Now that famous DeLorean is right in the middle of a legal battle, just like the original founder was in the 1980s.

Sally is the widow of John DeLorean, founder of the DeLorean Motor Company, and she is suing the Texas company’s model DMC for illegally using the name of the company to sell merchandise, apparel, souvenirs and other licensed products that were sold to Nike and Urban Outfitters for profit over the years. In the records released, the lawsuit claims that the Texas company “has improperly and illegally appropriated for its own use Mr. DeLorean’s legacy, including the DeLorean Identity, together with intellectual property.”

An electric version of the sports car was expected to go into production, but the same lawsuit claims that would be illegal because the DeLorean design still belongs to the John DeLorean estate.

John DeLorean died at the age of 80 in 2005, he found himself in the news after his car company went bankrupt, right in the center of a gigantic 1980s drug-trial. DeLorean was acquitted of conspiring to sell millions of dollars of cocaine as a result of the trial, his car company never came back however.

The attorney of Sally DeLorean, R. Scott Thompson, has gone on record stating that John DeLorean bought his company’s trademarks, images and other intellectual property when the company went bankrupt. On the other side of the court-room is William Mead, the attorney representing DeLorean Motor Company, who is claiming that the company had existed before the death of DeLorean, and the property used was acquired before his death, so it wouldn’t be part of the estate.