20 February 2018Trademarks

DeLorean primed for TM lawsuit against cosmetics company

The manufacturer of the car that was turned into a time machine in sci-fi classic “Back to the Future” is primed to pursue a trademark infringement claim against a luxury makeup brand.

US automobile manufacturer DeLorean Motor Company filed a claim at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday, February 16, against vegan makeup brand Elysian Cosmetics and its founders, Michael Putman and David Rodrigues.

DeLorean owns a number of US trademarks for the mark ‘DeLorean’ and marks that include ‘DeLorean’ as an element.

The automobile company uses the name ‘DeLorean’ in connection with its car restoration and retail business. Products that feature the DeLorean trademarks include clothing, accessories, luggage, toys, vehicle cleaning supplies, and kitchenware.

According to the claim, DeLorean has “annually spent thousands of dollars advertising and promoting these products and services under the ‘DeLorean’ mark”.

It plans to expand its product line to include other luxury goods, according to the complaint, to “retain customers’ loyalty” among those who “aspire to own but cannot yet afford a luxury automobile”.

DeLorean claimed that its mark is “famous” and that the DeLorean brand was “unquestionably immortalised” in the “Back to the Future” film, when “Doc Brown converted the DeLorean automobile into a time machine”.

New York-based cosmetics company Elysian has allegedly been using the ‘DeLorean’ mark since July 2017 and has introduced a DeLorean-branded primer. Primers are applied to the skin before makeup.

In February 2017, Elysian applied to register the ‘DeLorean’ trademark for use on cosmetics products at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

DeLorean claimed that, in Elysian’s application, the cosmetics company “falsely affirmed” that its use of the mark is not likely to cause confusion.

The motor company alleged that it had contacted the cosmetics brand in an attempt to resolve the dispute prior to filing the lawsuit.

Delorean is seeking injunctive relief and an order that Elysian must destroy all infringing advertising material and inventory. The motor company is also claiming triple damages and profits.

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More on this story

4 May 2018   A trademark dispute between a cosmetics brand and DeLorean Motor Company, the manufacturer of the car-turned-time-machine in sci-fi classic “Back to the Future”, has been dismissed.
17 October 2018   The widow of the inventor behind the car-turned-time-machine in sci-fi classic “Back to the Future” has been barred from recovering merchandising royalties from Universal Pictures.