Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Eleanor Licensing LLC v. Classic Recreations LLC (Cal. Ct. App. - March 12, 2017)

This makes two.  Apparently the Court of Appeal is going to publish an opinion every single day that involves litigation over a classic automobile.

"A 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds . . . starred Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. . . . The 2000 motion picture featured a customized 1967 Fastback Ford Mustang, which was also named “Eleanor.” The vehicle was sometimes (erroneously) referred to in the film as a 1967 Shelby GT-500. In July 2007 Hollywood Pictures/Disney executed a quitclaim to confirm that Halicki retained the merchandising rights to “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Eleanor.” . . . . As of November 1, 2017, Eleanor Licensing entered a license agreement with T&D Motor and Classic Recreations granting T&D Motor and Classic Recreations the right to use intellectual property rights, trademarks and copyrightable material relating to “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Eleanor” to manufacture and sell 300 restored 1971, 1972 and 1973 Fastback Ford Mustangs fitted and detailed to replicate in appearance the 1974 Eleanor and 1,000 restored 1967 and 1968 Fastback Ford Mustangs fitted and detailed to replicate in appearance the 2000 Eleanor. . . .

The Number 1 unit of the 2000 Eleanor replica described in the licensing agreement (Eleanor No. 1 or the sample car) was constructed in Yukon, Oklahoma, Classic’s place of business, and moved from there to Halicki’s residence in February 2008.3 Apparently neither license plates nor title documents were delivered with the vehicle. On September 16, 2009 Michael Leone, a consultant working with Halicki, emailed Jason Engel to “remind you to please find and send Denice’s Eleanor title with her license plate.” When the license plate, but not the title document, was sent, Leone again emailed Jason Engel, noting “Denice’s title to Eleanor . . . wasn’t in the fedex [sic] with Eleanor’s License plate (tag). What happened? Please check into this.” Jason Engel responded, “Mike it should have been. I’ll find it and send it out.”

Needless to say, things did not work out.  Hence the lawsuit.  Over trademarks, etc. etc.

The trial court issues an opinion, and the Court of Appeal modifies it a bit.  All of which enable me to include yet another picture of a classic (and expensive) vehicle.  The 1967 Fastback Ford Mustang from the movie.  A car that apparently recently sold for a cool million dollars: