Court rules Lotus have right to use name “Team Lotus”

2011 F1 season

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Monaco, 2011

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Monaco, 2011

Lotus have won the right to continue using the name ‘Team Lotus’ in F1.

Justice Peter Smith dismissed Group Lotus’s claim to the Team Lotus name and roundel design.

He also ruled that Lotus’s use of the name ‘Team Lotus’ does not infringe Group Lotus’s trademarks in the name Lotus.

Their use of the name had been contested by Group Lotus, who make Lotus road cars and sponsor the Renault F1 team.

Last year Lotus used the name ‘Lotus Racing’ under license from Group Lotus, until it was withdrawn. Lotus bought the rights to the name ‘Team Lotus’ from David Hunt, who had acquired them when the original team collapsed at the end of 1994.

Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes wrote on Twitter: “We won. I’m over the moon. Team Lotus belongs to us. Our chassis name stays Lotus. No one can use the chassis name. We are the only Lotus. Team Lotus”

Group Lotus said they would appeal the decision. However they described the verdict as a “win on key issues” in a statement.

Sarah Price, head of legal at Group Lotus, said: “Group Lotus is pleased that its right to race under the Lotus name in F1 has been upheld and that the Defendants? attempts to stop that have failed.

“The on-going dispute with Team Lotus and associated companies has been a cause for concern for all at Group Lotus. Despite the detailed judgment there are issues which still require clarification and we remain committed to obtaining this much needed clarity for the many fans of the Lotus marque – we are extremely grateful for their continued support. The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly.”

The statement noted: “The judge also found that Team Lotus has the right to continue to race in Formula 1 under the name Team Lotus but the effect of the judgement is that only Group Lotus can use the name ??Lotus?? on its own in F1.

“Group Lotus is concerned that this aspect of the judgement will cause confusion in the eyes of spectators and the wider public. Accordingly, Group Lotus is seeking leave to appeal so that the right to use the Lotus brand in Formula 1 is clarified once and for all in the interests of the sport and the fans. Group Lotus and its shareholder Proton Holding Bhd are confident of success on appeal.”

Update: Here is the verdict in full.

Lotus naming rights row

Browse all articles on the Lotus naming rights row

Image ?? Team Lotus

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182 comments on Court rules Lotus have right to use name “Team Lotus”

  1. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 27th May 2011, 19:11

    I honestly think this is about as fair a judgement as you could get. Unfortunately for Group Lotus the ‘key issues’ they won weren’t really the ‘key issues’ for Team Lotus.

  2. Paul A (@paul-a) said on 27th May 2011, 21:39

    Not a bad judgement – his honour even said he regretted that the two opponents couldn’t sort it out on the racetrack rather than in a law court.

    So now we have British Racing Green Lotuses (I owned a BRG Elan) and JPS coloured Renaults (I owned to JPS Europas and still smoke – natural sun-cured tobacco that I hand roll in rice paper), so, like the judge, look forward to them getting the final public opinion on the race track. I just hope the commentators can keep it simple: Lotus or Renault (and Renault should be proud of their heritage in motor racing in general and F1 in particular.)

    I find it ironic that we have four drivers – a Finn, a German, an Italian and a Russian – plus two Malaysian “owners” all fighting over CABC British heritage. The drivers are all too young to have even met Colin and I don’t see any suggestions that the “owners” claim any personal knowledge. I knew him pretty well and would suggest – with his near paranoia for keeping his activities totally compartmentalized in case the racing went belly up – that he must be grinning in his grave.

    Let’s look back at the track record in a few years – may the “best man” win …

    • Paul A (@paul-a) said on 27th May 2011, 22:01

      Forgot to add my thanks to David Hunt who kept the “Team Lotus” name alive exactly as Chapman would have wished. Never met him, but knew his brother (James) who once in the paddock (touring cars at Charade in the late 1960s) called my girlfriend’s Yorkshire terrier “un rat éléctrique à piles” – a battery powered rat – after he tripped over the animal and fell into a puddle. The F1 world probably owes David much gratitude.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 28th May 2011, 1:29

        Indeed so. Unfortunately, it seems he could be the biggest loser in this case. His license was terminated due to lack of use, and it was awarded to Team Lotus as part of a separate application. Team Lotus probably already made some form of payment to him, but this means TL are no longer obligated to pay him any further.

        “un rat éléctrique à piles” – sounds like James Hunt, all right. :D

  3. Calum said on 27th May 2011, 22:17

    I’m hardly a casual F1 fan, but I will admit the 5 Live commentary on the Monaco practice sessions were quite confusing in regards to Lotus. P1 had Bruno Senna calling his team Lotus, P2 had Karun Chandok calling his team Lotus, God help the casual fan in those circumstances!

  4. Ian said on 27th May 2011, 22:28

    So where was Bernie when teams were applying for places? Was he not aware that 2 Lotus brands could have confused fans?
    It was easy enough to identify which Schumacher was which as they were usually some distance apart on the track, but 2 similar-sounding teams is plain daft.
    Could next year see a MACLaren team along with Mclaren?

  5. Circuit zolder said on 27th May 2011, 22:42

    Lol Lotus always makes me think of this.

    http://www.lotusbakeries.com/corporate/countries/united-kingdom-0

  6. Lotus Renault GP = Renault
    Team Lotus-Renault = Lotus-Renault

    Always has, always will… This basically just confirms that. There was no way that Bahr would have won. Fernandes bought the rights to the name ‘Team Lotus’ from the beginning. The FIA calls them Lotus, which is their problem, not Team Lotus’.

  7. Renault said on 27th May 2011, 23:22

    lutus vs lutus :?
    :lol:

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 28th May 2011, 2:37

    So Green Lotus will now be call “Team Lotus” with Black Lotus “Renault”?

  9. hey (@hey) said on 28th May 2011, 2:57

    GET IN!! (he says after being AFK for 10 hours)

    I wish Team Lotus the best of luck in their efforts to succeed in F1 as a new team, and hope that Group Lotus acheive whatever it is they’re looking for in F1 as a sponsor.

    It feels good to (c), ™ and (patent pend.) all that stuff. Pending appeal of course.

    Can’t wait to go ballistic when a new team with a new factory and new (British) talent get their first point.

  10. jake said on 28th May 2011, 7:35

    if they both stopped fighting and used the legal costs to Develop the cars we would see some real racing instead of this panzi legal battles!!

  11. Hairpin (@hairpin) said on 29th May 2011, 1:25

    As I understand it Renault no longer owns an F1 Team as is being suggested on here as it sold out to Genii Capital so they own the former Renault team and Renault are only an engine supplier now as is Cosworth. Group Lotus is just a sponsor of that team so are only named on the car because of that. If you take that as the name of the team they should be called Genii – Renault, and Team Lotus as Team Lotus – Renault, as per the FIA rules.
    In the case of Formula racing cars, an automobile make is a complete car. When the car manufacturer fits
    an engine which it does not manufacture, the car shall be considered a hybrid and the name of the engine
    manufacturer shall be associated with that of the car manufacturer. The name of the car manufacturer
    must always precede that of the engine manufacturer. Should a hybrid car win a Championship Title, Cup
    or Trophy, this will be awarded to the manufacturer of the car.
    Make of that what you will?.

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