John DeLorean's widow had her Back to The Future lawsuit rejected by a U.S. District judge. The DeLorean is one of the most iconic automobiles to ever be produced and there were only about 9,000 of them manufactured. However, the Back to the Future franchise changed all of that by featuring the sleek, futuristic-looking car in the films and promotional material. Since then, the car has become a piece of history, which means that DeLorean's family should still be getting some royalties. However, there was a legal snag that the family did not catch in 2015.
A Texas motor company uses the DeLorean name and they are not affiliated with John DeLorean at all. The carmaker's widow insists that the Texas company has been illegally accepting Universal's Back to the Future royalties for the last handful of years. The original agreement was made in 1989 between John DeLorean and Universal Pictures, which gave DeLorean and his family five percent of net receipts for any merchandising and promotions that included the vehicle.
In a 2015 settlement agreement, the Texas-based company was allowed to use the DeLorean name and trademarks. Sally DeLorean insists that the company was illegally accepting payments from Universal, but U.S. District Judge Jose Linares ruled that the 2015 settlement included Back to the Future rights, even though the settlement does not explicitly state those terms. The judge threw the case out and sided with the Texas DeLorean company, who just won a pretty big case. However, since the original settlement doesn't specifically mention the Universal rights, Sally DeLorean will more than likely try another lawsuit in the near future.
John DeLorean was a well-known engineer and executive in the U.S. automobile industry during the 60s and 70s. Throughout his career, he managed the development of a bunch of popular vehicles, including the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Grand Prix, Chevrolet Cosworth Vega, and the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car. DeLorean broke away on his own to make the DMC in the early 70s. However, incredible production delays meant that the car didn't hit the market until 1981. The car never caught on and destroyed DeLorean's company after it failed to recoup the $175 million investment costs.
The DMC-12 was doomed from the start and John DeLorean's $24 million 1982 cocaine bust didn't really help matters either. It wasn't until the release of Back to the Future in 1985 that the DeLorean became a hot car to purchase. Since then, the car is a cult-favorite and can still be seen on the roads today. DeLorean passed away in 2005, but his memory lives on through his unique designs and engineering choices. But, it looks like, due to a loophole, his family will not see any further money from Universal Pictures and the Back to the Future royalties. You can read the entirety of the judge's ruling, if you're into that sort of thing, at Document Cloud.