As Ford Authority reported back in December 2022, it seemed as if the Shelby Trust prevailed in its ongoing legal battle against Denice Shakarian Halicki, the owner of the Mustang Eleanor trademark, which skyrocketed to fame thanks to its starring role in the Gone in 60 Seconds movie remake back in 2000. Halicki – the widow of H.B. Halicki, who created the original 1974 film – has used her company, Eleanor Licensing LLC, to shut down numerous Mustang Eleanor projects, had cars seized, and even won a prior lawsuit against Carroll Shelby. Last year, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in Shelby’s favor, noting that these Eleanor code-named Ford Mustang vehicles are not deserving of any character copyright protection. Now, it seems as if this legal battle is officially over, nearly one year later.
It’s been roughly a decade since the Shelby Trust and Halicki began their ongoing legal battle over the Mustang Eleanor name, but now, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has rejected Halicki’s backup claim that a settlement agreement reached in 2007 prevented the Shelby Trust and its licensees from selling newly manufactured Shelby GT500 models under license to Carroll Shelby Licensing.
The court rejected Halicki’s arguments in that regard, saying that her theories were “untethered to the text of the contract,” and even left the door open for Shelby to sue her in the future if she attempts to impede the company’s efforts to make and sell such vehicles moving forward.
“Shelby was compelled to take this action to protect our valued licensees and Shelby GT500 owners,” said M. Neil Cummings, Esq., CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc., and Co-Trustee of the Shelby Trust. “We can finally tell them that Mrs. Halicki has absolutely no right to complain about or file a lawsuit based upon the looks of any car licensed by the Shelby Trust. The true worth of all vintage Shelby GT500s is now secure with this news.”