LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jason Keener of Irwin IP LLP and David Brandon of Clark Hill LLP represent Denice Shakarian Halicki, Eleanor Licensing, LLC, and Gone in 60 Seconds Motorsports, LLC, in their ongoing lawsuit against Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc., Carroll Hall Shelby Trust, Classic Recreations, LLC, Jason Engel and Tony Engel, (“Shelby/Classic Recreations”). This federal lawsuit (case number 8:20-CV-01344) asserts, among other things, claims for millions of dollars against Shelby/Classic Recreations for licensing, building, and selling unauthorized replicas of Denice Halicki’s Eleanor car character from Halicki/Disney’s copyrighted 2000 Remake film “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
In this lawsuit, Disney Enterprises, Inc. filed a declaration under penalty of perjury confirming, once again, that Denice Halicki owns any and all intellectual property rights and interests in the Eleanor car character as she appears in the 2000 Remake “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
There have been inaccurate media reports that this case is over and there has been some final determination. That is false.
In the current case before the District Court there has been no final judgment entered regarding the copyrightability of the Eleanor car character, and any final judgment then would be subject to an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which, as the District Court has acknowledged, has twice strongly suggested that the Eleanor car character is subject to copyright protection.
The District Court set a trial in March 2023 for, among other claims, Denice Halicki’s breach of contract claims against Shelby for breach of their prior settlement agreement with Denice Halicki and against Classic Recreations for breach of their prior license agreement with Denice Halicki’s Eleanor Licensing, LLC. Denice Halicki looks forward to her day in court and forcing Shelby/Classic Recreations to stand by their word. The District Court has already granted Denice Halicki partial summary judgment and dismissed Shelby’s claim that Denice Halicki breached any express term of their prior settlement agreement.
Denice Halicki is the exclusive legal owner of the Eleanor car character, including all merchandising rights, which includes vehicles. These rights include the Eleanor car character’s look, image, and name from both the copyrighted Original and Remake of “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Just as Disney, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and DC Comics, (to name a few) aggressively fight and sue against infringers who copy their merchandise, Denice Halicki similarly protects her rights.
Denice Halicki has previously prevailed in winning published appellate opinions in both State and Federal appellate courts. In addition to other findings on behalf of Denice Halicki and her Eleanor car character, these opinions reconfirmed that she owns the intellectual property and is the legal owner of all the merchandising rights to the Eleanor car character from both the Original and Remake copyrighted “Gone in 60 Seconds” movies. Timothy T. Coates of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP represented Denice Halicki and her entities in both appeals:
- Halicki Films, LLC et al. v. Carroll Shelby International, Inc., et al., (9th Circuit 2008) 547 F.3d 1213; and
- Eleanor Licensing LLC et al. v. Classic Recreations LLC et al. (2018) 21 Cal.App. 5th 599
Both of these decisions remain undisturbed.
The Eleanor and Gone In 60 Seconds brands and franchise are strong and growing. They have some of the world’s most devoted and loyal fans. The market itself clearly acknowledges the value of having an officially licensed Eleanor car. During the most recent Barrett-Jackson auction, January 27th and 28th, 2023, officially licensed Eleanors commanded prices between $275,500 and $533,500.
“I would have never agreed to settle the 2004 and 2007 Federal lawsuits against Shelby for infringement of my Eleanor car character if it was not over in any way shape or form. It never brings me joy to have to sue someone for infringement. I want to enjoy my franchise and brands, yet I know I have to protect my rights, as we all should against infringers who sell counterfeit goods to the public. I never feel infringers love the franchise, they just want to take from it. Gone in 60 Seconds and the Eleanor car character franchise, brands, fan loyalty and merchandise have been going strong for over 48 years with the Original and 22 years with the Remake. The Eleanor car character’s demand and popularity are greater than ever.” Denice Halicki