MAY 27, 2011
Both Lotus factions claim victory
The outcome of the High Court battle to use the Lotus name in F1 is that we still have two F1 Lotus teams, with both sides claiming victory but Group Lotus appealing the judgement.
Justice Peter Smith has ruled that Team Lotus can carry on racing in F1 under that name, but also that Group Lotus has goodwill associated with the name 'Lotus' in F1 and is also free to race under Lotus alone, using the Lotus roundel and black-and-gold livery.
After the judgement on Group Lotus plc v 1Malaysia Racing Team in the High Court in London, Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes was quick to claim victory, positing 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.
"Well done to everyone at Team Lotus and thank you to all our fans for supporting us. The good do always win.
"We wanted to develop a long-term relationship with Group Lotus and help them sell more cars around the world but that door closed and now we are delighted that we can turn our attention to ensuring success for Caterham Cars on the road and Team Lotus on track."
Simultaneously, however, Group Lotus summed up the judgement thus:
The Judge found that:
*Group Lotus has goodwill associated with the name "Lotus" in Formula 1 and is free to compete in the sport under that name using the Lotus roundel;
*Group Lotus is entitled to race in F1 using the historic black and gold livery;
*1MRT is in breach of the licence granted to them by Group Lotus to race in F1 under the name Lotus Racing and has awarded Group Lotus damages in respect of that breach.
*Team Lotus Ventures Limited's trade mark registrations in the name of Team Lotus are cancelled as a result of non-use.
*Group Lotus trade mark registrations are unaffected.
*Group Lotus has the right to use the Lotus marque on cars for road use.
*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 Judgment is that only Group Lotus can use the name "Lotus" on its own in F1.
The Proton-owned company added: "Group Lotus is concerned that this aspect of the Judgment 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.
Group Lotus head of legal, Sarah Price, 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."
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