High Court to hear Lotus dispute next week

F1 Fanatic round-up

I’m visiting the Lotus factory in Norfolk today and next week the High Court will hear the dispute between the two teams claiming ownership of the Team Lotus name.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

SNR Denton and Macfarlanes prepare for Formula 1 branding battle (The Lawyer)

“A legal battle over who has the rights to use the Lotus brand in Formula 1 racing will hit the High Court next week.”

Lotus must score points in 2011, says chief Riad Asmat (BBC)

“This year, I’ve got shareholders on my neck saying it’s points time. We know where we need to be – that’s running with Toro Rosso and Sauber.”

Signing bottles of Andretti wine a treat for Mario on military tour (USA Today)

“During the question and answer part of the program, I was asked what Indy means to me. Indianapolis is the only race in the world that basically constitutes a championship. If you asked all the drivers here whether they would rather win Indianapolis or a national championship, I bet most would say Indy. It’s an event known around the world, and when I won it in 1969 it was the first time that I got fan mail from the Tibet Region.”

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Via the Live F1 Twitter app

Pirelli on course with two-stop plan (Autosport)

Paul Hembery: “We hope to have at least two tyre changes in every race. We want to try to create more of a show.”

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Some interesting thoughts on yesterday’s Champion of Champions from Oliver. Make sure you read the full comment:

While [Alonso's] talent is unquestionable, and he did enjoy a certain level of preference in his Renault stint, he has found himself in a situation where he has, at any given time, more than five drivers capable of operating at his level and also with quality machinery.

As a matter of fact, the quality of drivers is to high that it is sometimes hard to establish when the machinery is deficient. It is this very reason that has prevented Alonso from enjoying any form of dominance in F1. It is also this same reason that has prevented Schumacher decimating the field as he once used to do.
Oliver

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63 comments on High Court to hear Lotus dispute next week

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2011, 0:07

    I’m visiting the Lotus factory in Norfolk today and next week the High Court will hear the dispute between the two teams claiming ownership of the Team Lotus name.

    That’s interesting – most people I’ve heard talk about it say it won’t go to court until summer at the earliest.

    “We hope to have at least two tyre changes in every race. We want to try to create more of a show.”

    I like, but I’m hoping Pirelli will make the compounds in such a way that a driver can either pit a second time and get new tyres, or slug it out and try to hold on until the end of the race with the set he already has.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 18th January 2011, 0:55

      Yeah, James Allen (I think) said it won’t be decided until Autumn. Perhaps it’s starting soon but won’t be decided for months? Either way, it seems like a really daft that the issue will go all the way to the High Court

    • The article at The Lawyer (linked above) says that next week the parties are seeking a ‘summary judgement’, which is not a full trial. Its basically an expedited judgement based on the battle of just the lawyers, very legalese and probably invovling a bunch of latin words. The way I understand it if one party feels the case is so clear cut that there can be no argument about the facts, the can request for a summary judgement, more or less trying to show that there is no need for a full trial because the case is so simple.

      If there is no summary judgement, then it will go to full trial which includes full evidence and the involvement of Bahar, Fernandes etc and all the frippery associated with a trial. A much longer and more expensive process. That would be “autumn at the earliest” according to Riad Asmet, CEO Team Lotus.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2011, 6:18

        I’m going to open a pool where we can bet on a) whether or not we go to a full trial, b) how long it will take to resolve, and c) who will win.

        My money is on there being a full trial an it dragging out for months, with Fernandes winning. Which is exactly the opposite of what I want.

        • Henry said on 18th January 2011, 8:15

          Why do you not want Fernandes to win?

          Personally I waould rather Fernandes wins. As to wherther he will or not, who knows. As far as I can tell, he is on stronger legal ground that Group Lotus and Bahar, then again you never know what they have been hiding…

          • skodarap (@skodarap) said on 18th January 2011, 10:03

            I don’t want Fernandes to win either. Lotus racing was great, and I liked them until the “Team Lotus” was proposed. To me it’s the same as getting a piece of DNA from Marlyn Monroe or John Lennon (or even Ayrton Senna) and trying to clone them – wrong on so many levels.

          • skodarap, exactly taking a small bit of something and trying to clone it is so wrong…. It would be like taking say a livery and then cloning it onto your new cars despite it making no sense given team colours, country colours and sponsorship colours have nothing to do with it.

            Fernandes FTW. He got in with Team Lotus before GL, he got into Lotus with f1 before GL. He is based in norfolk, he has the hat and such bits of memoribilia. He has a great attitude. GL has sponsorship money and is sponsoring a different team despite the fact they could easily have teamed up with TL.

          • Daniel said on 19th January 2011, 4:33

            For me this is simple. The custodian of the ‘Team Lotus’ name, the legal owner sold it to Fernandes because he thought Fernandes was operating in the same spirit. What more can you ask for?

      • bosyber said on 18th January 2011, 10:06

        But I would guess, also in reply to PM’s pool idea I suppose, that there are also facts in dispute, or Proton/Group Lotus would have no case, since they already tried to get that logo and Team Lotus but failed before. I can’t seem Group Lotus get that summary judgement.

        Their case can almost only be: we are the Lotus car manufacturers, so we own the logo/name, no discussion possible.

        But Fernandes team will argue that isn’t so clear cut, and exactly that right has been argued between the parties (with Hunt) before, so facts need to be judged – not something a summary judgement can really do.

        Unless the previous case already tried all those facts, in which case that result will stand: Team Lotus has the logo, not Group.

        Since Fernandes side hasn’t asked for summary judgement (it seems) they aren’t so certain of that though, or they hope to drag this out for some reason (but why?).

        • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 18th January 2011, 10:16

          Why people seem always to forget that these lawsuits are not about Group Lotus wanting Team Lotus name? It’s nothing like that. First one is about terminating the license for Lotus Racing and the second one is about the right for using Lotus image and IP by Team Lotus, NOT the name itself. So the fact that Group Lotus lost suits about getting the Team Lotus name is irrelevant, this is different case.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th January 2011, 11:52

          I can’t seem Group Lotus get that summary judgement.

          You can only get a summary judgement if you can convince a judge that the case is so one-sided that to go through the usual dog and pony show of a full hearing would only be a waste of the court’s time. Group Lotus has done just this.

          Group Lotus’ case will likely be that Tony Fernandes and Lotus Racing violated the licencing arrangement that allowed Lotus Racing to compete under the Lotus name. Apparently this can be traced back to a dispute over merchandising. They will argue that because Lotus Racing violated the arrangment, Group Lotus were entitled to terminate the contract four years early. They will also probably argue that because Lotus Racing is now known as Team Lotus, they are – in a way – still trading on the Lotus name. That the Team and Group are recognised as separate entities has no bearing on this; because the name uses the same word, Team Lotus are associated with Group Lotus when Group Lotus no longer wish to be associated with him.

          • Movement (@movement) said on 18th January 2011, 12:36

            Group Lotus’ point of argument over merchandising, under the terms of the license agreement, apparently comes down to a t-shirt. Or I presume it was a line of t-shirts available to sell rather than merely one singular, however I would say that that is not a rock-solid legal case.

      • Mr Anderson said on 18th January 2011, 12:59

        Thanks Ben, thats interesting. I hope it all gets sorted next week. One wonders how much of a distraction this will be for the teams. I really think they should just sort it out between themselves and then just concentrate on going racing!

      • well both of them really arent that smart in their marketing approach and none have the moral high ground here as neither is truly team lotus.

        Lotus Cars never entered into Formula One and in reality Bahars attempt is to try and steal this heritage and confuse the truth. Black and gold livery is a weird thing too i reckon, not a symbol of progress for a car company wanting to take on the future…

        Fernandez team at least is trying to claim some of the true spirit of Lotus, but still its NOT really lotus really is it? so why do we pretend. I like Tony Fernandez and hes got a good team and a good approach but again hes got a great airline and a bunch of good companies why obscure it all with this Lotus shenanigans?

        waste of time and too much ego involved I say…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th January 2011, 8:18

      I suppose the key to having a hearing now already is this line in the article:

      Silverleaf, who represents Group Lotus, has applied to the High Court for a summary judgment in the case, which begins on Monday (24 January).

      That means Group Lotus wants to get Fernandez to be barred from using the Team Lotus brand in this season up front, before the court decides on the issue in summer.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th January 2011, 8:26

      I also hope Pirelli succeeds in getting teams to be succesfull with different tyre tactics to bring some gables in again.

      But it might make it “lucking into a win” too much. Just watch all the fans saying Button only lucked into his wins last year.

      • Hare (@hare) said on 18th January 2011, 10:25

        Bored. Bored bored bored of this. TF has been trumped by Danny Bahar.

        The only way I can see this working out, is if TF has some serious shares in Lotus Group, or will acquire them within the next 12 months. If so, then he may be able to pull the whole thing round and Bahar will end up working for TF.

        If this doesn’t happen, then at the moment it’s looking like sour grapes on the part of Team Lotus, and reflect poorly to the outsider.

        • Movement (@movement) said on 18th January 2011, 12:38

          That would be amusing. A hostile takeover of Group Lotus! haha. But I assume that Lotus now have enough funding (from somewhere in the Malaysian Gov) that this would be very difficult for Fernandes. But it would be a very nice twist!

  2. Mach1 said on 18th January 2011, 0:19

    For a second on that Lotus picture (on the main page for this round-up) I thought it said “Nazi” on the rear wing.

    I thought wow, old(new) lotus are really desperate for sponsorship. Then I thought, I wonder what they specialise in these days….

    only for a second….

  3. Glad things ave hurried up with this pathetic row!

  4. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th January 2011, 0:36

    I’m visiting the Lotus factory in Norfolk today and next week the High Court will hear the dispute between the two teams claiming ownership of the Team Lotus name.

    Fantastic news! Snap us some pictures of the new car while you’re there ;-) tell Gascoyne it’s okay… the fans said so.

  5. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th January 2011, 0:37

    Best birthday wishes to to _Ben_, Mike, and Gilles Villeneuve.

  6. Cacarella (@cacarella) said on 18th January 2011, 0:47

    Salut Gilles!!
    (and _Ben_ and Mike)

  7. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 18th January 2011, 0:51

    There’s a lot of talk about Renault not really being Lotus. But aren’t Renault not even technically Renault?

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 18th January 2011, 7:27

      Yes. Perhaps we should call them “the team formerly known as Benetton”. Or “the team from Enstone” at least. :D

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 18th January 2011, 7:29

      True, but at least they’re entering into the World Championship as Renault. Lotus are just a sponsor, so Renault are no more “Lotus” than McLaren are “Vodafone” or Ferrari are “Malboro”…

    • What’s in a name?

      Red Bull were previously Jaguar who were Stewart before that.

      McLaren has always been called McLaren but thanks to Marlboro they’ve effectively been Project 4 since 1980.

      Ferrari are owned by Fiat and have little, if anything, to do with the Ferrari family.

      Renault were Benetton and Toleman before that, and have no direct connection to the original Renault F1 team from 1977.

      Mercedes are a re-branded Brawn who rose from the ashes of Honda who took over BAR who’d bought Tyrrell. Again, no direct connection to the Mercedes sportscar team which won at Le Mans (run by Sauber) or the original Mercedes F1 team.

      The team we know as Williams is actually the second Williams to grace the F1 grid – although both were run by Frank.

      Force India were Spyker, before that Midland and originally Jordan.

      Sauber have been BMW Sauber but were Sauber before that, most famously running as Sauber Mercedes at Le Mans.

      Toro Rosso were Minardi, which underwent several changes of ownership in its time.

      Lotus Racing has precious little connection with the original Team Lotus.

      Virgin is really Manor Motorsport, which ran a successful F3 and FRenault team.

      HRT was Campos Meta1, which was formed from Adrian Campos’ eponymous GP2 team.

  8. Aramis said on 18th January 2011, 1:12

    Summary judgement sought, sounds like Fernandes is about to get owned.

    • CHris said on 18th January 2011, 1:30

      Yep, TF is going to be laughed out of court. Group Lotus got the Team Lotus Trademark revoked this time last year. David Hunt sold TF a bit of paper……………

      • Dipak T said on 18th January 2011, 1:49

        Really? I was under the impression that every time Proton tried to prove that Hunt didnt own Team Lotus, they lost.

        • Skett said on 18th January 2011, 2:22

          Thats the thing, the UK high court agreed with that, but now that both people arguing are Malaysian I can’t help but wonder which way it’ll go!

          • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 18th January 2011, 7:31

            Well it’s still in the UK High Court, so the UK High Court is bound by the law of precedent that we have in this country – the nationalities of the 2 parties has no bearing whatsoever on that.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if we actually got a summary judgement today in favour of Team Lotus.

          • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 18th January 2011, 7:33

            When I said “today” what I meant was “next week”…

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th January 2011, 8:31

            It’l do nothing at all. The rights being argued over ar registered in Britain and fall under British law (otherwise there would be no court case at all).
            The nationality of the owners of the companies is pretty much of no interest at all to that.

          • Skett said on 18th January 2011, 8:57

            Fair enough, my mistake. I thought that since both parties were Malaysian now the decision would be made in Malaysia

          • bosyber said on 18th January 2011, 9:57

            The only thing where the nationality might have mattered, and maybe still will, is if this summary judgement doesn’t decide things and Malayisan politicians manage to convince both sides to settle out of court, but that has already failed so far, or they wouldn’t be in court!

        • Johan said on 18th January 2011, 18:55

          Yeah this is my take on it as well. Group Lotus has changed owner twice or so since Chapman died. Each time that transaction did not include Team Lotus.

          David Hunt owned Team Lotus and ran the last two races, or so I’ve read – therefore it would appear rather clear cut that Mr. Hunt owned the Team Lotus name and had every right to sell it to TF, which is what he did recently.

          Group Lotus is a car manufacturer that has decided to sponsor the former Renault F1 Team. It’s basically a completely unrelated matter and in theory there is no problem per se to have both on the grid provided one is aware of the history behind both.

        • Well said man! Well said!

          Tony’s Lotus, is as much THE team Lotus as Ferrari is THE Ferrari.

        • Stuart said on 18th January 2011, 21:20

          Did they.How do you explain this then

          http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=2560196

      • In the world of law, the only thing you really need is a piece of paper. people lose trials because they don’t have that “bit of paper”.

  9. Scoring points this season will be very difficult for mid-field teams, you will have Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Renault & Williams fighting for points regularly… and if they have a bad day, Sauber & Force India will likely be close behind to pick-up points. I hope 1Malaysia F1 can get few points too or their share-holders would get a bit uneasy!

  10. W-K (@w-k) said on 18th January 2011, 7:39

    If true, could the Pirelli announcement on tyres, cause some ‘strange’ results. In that those who are known to use their tyres aggressively might have to make three stops. Or that those who drive smoothly get an advantage by only making one stop.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th January 2011, 8:33

      Wouldn’t you love seeing for example Hamilton or Schumi using a 3 stop run to take the battle to Alonso and Vettel doing a 2 stopper and Button mixing it in for the podium/wins while executing a 1 stop strategy?

      Now that would get us talking about Pirelli!

  11. McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 18th January 2011, 8:59

    I really hope that Team Lotus win this case! They were the best bunch of the new guys last season, Tony and Mike seem to be committed to the cause and Bahar just seems to be out to cause chaos.

    I wonder where it would leave Group Lotus with the Renault deal – they signed a 5 year £100m deal but can they back out if they can’t put “Lotus” on the cars??

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 18th January 2011, 10:34

      The case won’t stop Group Lotus using the Lotus name in F1, if TF wins then we will more than likely see 2 Lotus teams in F1.

      • Alexi said on 18th January 2011, 11:10

        Yeah, pretty much this. Either both win or TF loses.

      • McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 18th January 2011, 13:47

        OH, I read somewhere that Team Lotus (if it is still a valid entity) had exclusive rights to use the Lotus name in F1… Probably some random journalist making up rubbish!

        Yeah I think he should just hold onto the name for the hell of it and change the team to “Air Asia F1″ or something more relevant to his brand. If he can’t be the only “Lotus” team in F1 then there’s no point in giving them free branding really

  12. klusek_ndg said on 18th January 2011, 11:21

    I don’t understand what that is all about Lotus Renault is name where we got title sponsor and engine manufacturer, which is and was common in F1, I don’t believe Team Lotus are getting any money from Lotus as sponsorship so they should find themselves a decent title sponsor and stop being funny, the legendary name won’t make the team any better if they don’t have decent car.

    • they will lose their current sponsors if they stop using name lotus, ‘lotus’ name helped em to get a few deals… otherwise i don’t know why Tony would want to do this.

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 18th January 2011, 13:02

    I knew it was sometime this month! Folks on the forum convinced me otherwise *shakes fist* ;D

  14. yep pirelli said it.. they’re trying to produce more of a “show”

    I, for one, am very excited about it.. as long as they don’t throw competition cautions with 10 laps to go we should be good!

  15. Jord93 said on 18th January 2011, 15:44

    Sorry to complicate this even more, but the revoked trademark CHris refers to is only for Class 41 activities. Joe Saward says the all-important trademark that Fernandes needs is Class 35, which Hunt still had at the time.

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