The conflicts between Carroll Shelby and various kit car makers are well known and sometimes seem never-ending. Massachusetts-based Factory Five Racing has been at the forefront of the lawsuits with Shelby, and the two have been in battling it out in the courtroom for a decade. The initial lawsuit, filed in the year 2000, resulted in a settlement that barred Factory Five from using the terms "Cobra, 427 S/C, Shelby, Shelby Cobra, Daytona Coupe and Daytona Coupe Cobra" on any of their products.
The two parties were at peace for eight years until Shelby filed another lawsuit in December of 2008 alleging that Factory Five's Type 65 Coupe (pictured above) bore "designs confusingly similar to the Daytona Coupe Trade Dress" and that FFR used the term "Cobra" in the metatags of its website to promote its product.
This past week, a U.S. District Court ruled in Factory Five's favor, allowing the company to continue to produce the Type 65 Coupe. The reason for the decision, according to the 25-page court document, is based on the settlement from the prior lawsuit. The original case stated that "Shelby dismisses with prejudice all claims that have been asserted or could have been asserted relative to the trade dress or designs of FFR's kits, including but not limited to the kits known as the 427 Roadster and the Type 65 Coupe." Essentially, the courts ruled that Shelby couldn't sue Factory Five for something it had already agreed upon. In addition, if Shelby believed that FFR was in violation of the terms and conditions of the agreement, it was to first give written notice to FFR of the alleged violation prior to any judicial enforcement, which it did not.
In response to the decision, Factory Five president David Smith wrote a scathing statement regarding Shelby, claiming that "Shelby's legal bullying has caused Factory Five to endure years of hardship and expend over $1 million in legal fees to defend against what many in the general public believed to be frivolous in nature." He went on to say that Carroll Shelby is "a man whose lasting legacy is rapidly changing from racing legend to prolific litigant." You can read Factory Five's full press release regarding the lawsuit after the jump.