DeLorean Settlement Stalls in the Courtroom

The Delorian, by flickr user William Warby, licensed by Creative Commons.

Pump the breaks on a settlement…

A settlement over the infamous Delorean used to time travel in the 1985 film “Back to the Future” has stalled in court.  In 2014, the widow of automaker John DeLorean sued a Texas company she said has been illegally using the DeLorean name. The DMC-12, known simply as “the DeLorean” was driven by Michael J. Fox in the movie and has since gained a cult following. The suit alleges that DMC of Texas has been illegally using the DeLorean name to sell hats, pens, notebooks, key chains and other items, and has illegally licensed the name and images to other companies including Nike, Mattel, Urban Outfitters and Apple. The company has never been formally affiliated with the one DeLorean started.

The company had reached a preliminary settlement in June. This past week the defendant’s lawyer wrote a letter to the judge deciding to change the settlement at the last minute. The defendant says that they just want to see in writing that they can still use the name “DeLorean” and won’t be sued in the future after paying the agreed settlement fee. The company is seeking to have DeLorean’s estate say on the record that its case had no merit and also “consent to the use by the Defendant of the name DeLorean for virtually any purpose,” attorney R. Scott Thompson wrote.

John DeLorean was an automotive innovator who began his career at General Motors before forming his own company in the 1970s. He died in New Jersey in 2005 at age 80 after years of court battles that included a highly publicized drug trial in the 1980s in which he was acquitted of conspiring to sell millions of dollars of cocaine. His former estate in the rolling hills about 40 miles west of New York City was converted into a golf course by Donald Trump in 2004. Only about 9,000 DeLorean cars were produced before the company went bankrupt in the early 1980s, but the car’s sleek, angular look and gull-wing doors helped land it a role in the “Back To The Future” films.

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