- Nov 2, 2010
Shelby loses court battle to trademark Cobra shape
The Real Deal: A 1964 Shelby Cobra, CSX2557 – Click above for high-res image gallery
Shelby and Factory Five Racing have been going at it for years. Back in 2000, Shelby filed suit against the Massachusetts-based replica builder, which resulted in Factory Five being allowed to continue building cars as long as it made no reference to the terms "Cobra," "427 S/C," "Shelby," "Shelby Cobra," "Daytona Coupe" or "Daytona Coupe Cobra." Eight years of apparent peace passed until Shelby again filed suit against FFR because the company felt that the the replica builder's Type 65 Coupe name was too close to its Shelby Daytona Coupe. The court ruled in favor of Factory Five.
The two companies went back to court a third time because Shelby recently attempted to patent the shape of the Cobra. Well, the case has been settled and the result is yet effectively another victory for Factory Five Racing. The United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board felt that the shape of the Cobra does not solely belong to Carroll Shelby. Factory Five had the following to say:
You can weigh in on the outcome for yourself and read the full, 49-page ruling of the of the court here: Shelby vs FFR. Thanks for the tip, Bip-D-Bo!"On October 13th, 2010, the court denied his application and our opposition was successful. We felt that if he were to get a trademark on the Cobra shape, his PR machine would use that to make the legitimate replica industry look bad. Our position was that a Shelby trademark would have ignored the factual history of the car, which started life as an AC car with a Ford engine in it, as well as completely discounting the huge contributions that replica guys have made to the car's continuing legacy since the 1970's. We have never denied Shelby's part in history, but he has enjoyed huge popularity, in-part, due to replicas.
Looking back, our little company has done more than anyone ever to secure this car for all. Factory Five Racing and our customers have made such a huge contribution to the industry over the years.
I am attaching the Court's opinion as a PDF document here so you can read it for yourself. Factory Five Racing does not use the word COBRA to describe our products."
[Source: Factory Five Racing]