BOSTON, Feb. 7, 2001 /PRNewswire/ -- www.superformance.org/supernews - Shelby American Inc. and automotive manufacturing and racing legend Carroll Shelby, have launched a second lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal Court against a Cobra replica car manufacturer. This second action is against Superformance Complete Replicars, and follows a similar action brought against Factory Five last year. Both actions have been filed in the same Federal court and assert trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition claims.
The suit charges Superformance with unlawful use of Shelby trademarks and other intellectual property rights. As is the case with Factory Five, the suit alleges that Superformance has manufactured and sold counterfeit copies of the famous Shelby Cobra 427S/C.
In an effort to curtail the misuse of the Shelby(R), Cobra(R) and 427S/C(R) trademarks, Shelby has for years tried diplomacy and negotiation, and such previous efforts have resulted in numerous licensing agreements covering a wide range of products. However, Shelby contends that several large replica manufacturers, including Factory Five and Superformance, seem determined to continue their counterfeiting operations, unless they are stopped by the Federal Courts.
The suit claims that Superformance and others sell packages featuring bodies that copy Shelby's famous roadster. The companies then market their packages as "faithful reproductions" of the 427S/C while frequently marking the cars with the Shelby(R), Cobra(R) and 427S/C(R) trademarks. This increasingly artful deception misrepresents a counterfeit as if it is an original, the suit further states.
The action by Shelby challenges Superformance's operation as a willful deception and unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act and the Massachusetts unfair trade practices law. The suit seeks damages and attorney fees, which may exceed $10 million. Of critical importance to Shelby, the suit seeks an order to seize and destroy Superformance's fiberglass molds, which it uses to fabricate the Cobra 427S/C knockoff.
Shelby states, "As I said before, credit should be given where credit is due, and these knock-off car guys don't deserve the credit or profit, for what my team and Ford accomplished in the 60's." Superformance's continuing violation of federal trademark laws is particularly brazen because of the extent to which it uses virtually all of the Shelby trademarks to misrepresent their knock-off cars.
This action comes after the conclusion of legal proceedings in 1997 in Los Angeles Federal Court, in which Ford obtained a judgment, which recognized the Cobra trademark as the sole and exclusive property of Ford Motor Company. As part of the final resolution of the case, Ford granted Shelby an exclusive worldwide license to use the Cobra trademark and snake designs in connection with all 1960s Cobra vehicles, which Ford acknowledged were created by Carroll Shelby and manufactured by Shelby American, Inc. -- the world recognized Manufacturer of Record. The Shelby(R) and 427S/C(R) trademarks are the exclusive property of Carroll Shelby and his licensing company, Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc., whose offices are located in Los Angeles, California.