FEBRUARY 16, 2005

It's GPWC day today!

Today the iSe company will make a presentation to the Formula 1 teams (other than Ferrari) explaining to them the plans they have drawn up for the future of Grand Prix racing. If the teams are impressed they may choose to all sign a deal with the GPWC for 2008 which would leave Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA and Formula One Management looking for cars for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. And just to make the point that Ferrari, FIA and FOM do not have anything sewn up the GPWC has let on that Ecclestone is not as powerful as he thinks, at least not when it comes to trademarks.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the GPWC says that it could still use the F1 in the name of its series, despite Bernie Ecclestone's claim that the term cannot be used.

"While researching this topic we came across some highly interesting and surprising issues," said GPWC spokesman Xander Heijnen.

Accoding to the article the Patent Office in the UK says that the GPWC could use the term "Formula One", because it refers to a type of motor sport rather than to goods or services coming from a specific individual or legal entity. In addition the article points out that Formula One Licensing has no pan-European registrations for the words 'Formula 1', 'F1' or 'Formula One' in the category which covers sporting and cultural activities. The commercial rights that Ecclestone owns are for a specific type of F1, which is the "FIA Formula One World Championship".

Ecclestone has been seeking to lay claim to the term "Grand Prix" but is likely to face years of legal problems because the term is applied to many different activities and cannot be traced back to the automobile but rather to academic competitions and horse races in France.

One way or the other, this news is not good news for FOM, which remains under pressure in the courts in England where the banks who own 75% of the business are trying to take control of the business away from Bernie Ecclestone.