DeLorean Sues NBC Over Back to the Future Royalties

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DMC wants royalties dating all the way back to 1997.

The legacy of John DeLorean's car company grows ever more complicated as the DeLorean Motor Co filed for a lawsuit in Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times. The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) says it is suing NBC Universal because it owns the intellectual property and trademarks for the DeLorean (the car) used in Back to the Future.

The federal court lawsuit says that because DMC owns the IP and trademarks, NBCUniversal is in breach of its contract. DMC alleges that it has a right to 5% of the revenue from Back to the Future merchandising and commercial tie-ups related to the franchise.

Porsche Porsche Jay Leno's Garage/YouTube Jay Leno's Garage/YouTube

Put in layman's terms, DMC says NBCUniversal owes it royalties because it hasn't been paid for the massive amount of exposure the films have garnered since 1997. Back to the Future was first released in 1985. DeLorean's allegations hinge on a deal struck by the original owner, John DeLorean.

Predictably, NBCUniversal, which owns Universal Pictures, the company that distributed Back to the Future, denied the allegations. The Times reached out for comment but has not gotten one as of publishing. There is another issue- DMC needs to figure out how much money NBCU owes it.

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"DMC has requested that NBCUniversal provide accurate accountings of the monies owed to DMC, but NBCUniversal has delayed, deflected, and refused these requests. NBCUniversal has also refused to disclose the extent of its use of the license granted to it," states the suit.

The line of succession is muddy. John DeLorean's daughter is out to produce her own DeLorean. She despises DMC, which was sold the rights to the company after another company bought DeLorean Motor Company in 1982 after it declared bankruptcy. The Texas-based company now looks to produce its own car, a Porsche Taycan-like electric vehicle with gullwing doors.

DMC says it is seeking damages to be determined.

DeLorean Motor Company/Facebook Jay Leno's Garage/YouTube DeLorean Motor Company DeLorean
Source Credits: Los Angeles Times

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