Group Lotus to Tony Fernades: Cease and Desist

Discussion in 'Motorsport' started by prisonermonkeys, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    You might not, but I think Bahar is leaning more towards Fernandes' plans for expansion into Asia. Especially if he markets the Caterham 7 on its connection to the team. Someone who is not familiar with Formula 1 might think they are buying a Lotus when they are not.

    You have to remember that we're the hardcore fans of the sport. We can tell the difference. But Bahar has a car company to run, and not all people who buy cars are fans - much less hardcore fans - of Formula 1. It might make sense to us, but is someone with no prior knowledge of the sport going to untagle the skein of ownership just to udnerstand who they are buying from? Are the car dealers selling the Caterham 7 going to take half an hour explaining everything that happened just to close a sale?

    If Fernandes intends to sell the Caterham 7 in Asia using its connection to his team as a marketing tool, he's gone and shot himself in the foot.
     
  2. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    The problem is that until Fernandes says that the Caterham is somehow historically bound to Lotus Road Cars via his ownership of Team Lotus then he's done nothing wrong.

    Caterham will derive a contemporaneous benefit from its legitimate association with Team Lotus, I think the Lotus history comes through that DNA so it's therefore unnecessary for a) Fernandes to make a link to Lotus Road Cars b) Bahar to bring this case.

    Incidentall the JoeSaward blog generally contains useful snippets but mostly sucks; this time he's made an important error in stating that Team Lotus have the exclusive right to call their race cars Lotus. He could do with pressing the CR key from time to time too.
     
  3. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    That's not the problem. The problem lies in Fernandes making a connection between Caterham and Team Lotus. Although he owns both, the historical connection between Caterham and Group Lotus could prove confusing to new customers.
     
  4. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    Fernandes is entitled to make a connection between Caterham and Team Lotus any time he likes - he owns them both. The connection is real; it would take some inspired litigation to prove otherwise.

    Caterham's history is equally bound to Lotus Road Cars through their historic ties but now LRC no longer hold any rights via ownership.

    Confusing, yes... but no amount of lawyers will change that fact. The speciality markets in the UK aren't likely to have any problems understanding that, the Asian market will likely just be sold the existing and palpable F1 connection.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  5. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    You're not listening to me. Again. It's a bad habit of yours.

    The connection being real only makes Bahar's case stronger. Why? Because somebody who does not follow Formula 1 might buy a Caterham 7 and see the connection to Team Lotus. Because there are two Lotus teams, they may think that there is a connection between those two teams, much the same way as there is one between Red Bull and Toro Rosso. They may then come to the conclusion that they have bought a car from Lotus Cars. They're not going to untangle the skein of ownership. The salespeople aren't going to take half an hour to explain the Lotus vs. Lotus court case. All it will take is one person attempting to sue Group Lotus over something involving the Caterham 7, and everything is up the proverbial creek.

    Group Lotus are arguing that they terminated the contract with Fernandes because they felt Fernandes was damaging their brand by using their name for unauthorised purposes. The courts agreed that Group Lotus were well within their rights to terminate that contract, since they did not penalise Group Lotus for the termination. Group Lotus are currently trying to appeal that verdict to get Fernandes to drop the name because they feel there is the potential for more damage to be done by having two teams known as Lotus. This case is clearly an extension of that theory, only applied to road cars rather than racing.
     
  6. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    Tut tut, patience 'Ludes ;)

    On reflection I heard (or read) you perfectly well.

    You said (I heard you!) that "The problem lies in Fernandes making a connection between Caterham and Team Lotus". I don't see a problem there. The connection exists and is real.

    The problem might be people making a connection between Caterham and Group Lotus (via their association with Renault Lotus Renault Lotus). You quite rightly alluded to that but it's hard to see what could be done about that. As I said earlier (were you listening?) there's not really a case to answer until such a time as Fernandes demonstrably makes that link.

    Other than that (the words are sticking in my throat/fingers) I agree with you. This case can't really produce a resolution that changes anything and thereby only serves to advertise the Caterham brand in Fernandes' ownership. The confusion of customers can't be helped unfortunately...
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  7. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    [​IMG]

    You - just - don't - get - it.

    Okay, let's go back to square one. You're living in Asia. You have no real knowledge of Formula 1. You're looking to buy a track day car. The Caterham 7 catches your eye. You go into the dealership, and you see all these pictures of Team Lotus up on the walls. It catches your attention. So you look it up, and you see there are two teams called Lotus. You also see that there are two teams called Red Bull and Toro Rosso. You figure that because there are two Red Bull teams, the Lotus teams must be similar. You come to the conclusion that a connection exists between your new Caterham 7 and the two Lotus teams.

    This is a problem.

    I cannot make this any clearer.
     
  8. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    Didn't I address that? Perhaps I should use nooby facepalm pics... although words haven't failed me yet.

    I said there's nothing you can do about that confusion - and there isn't. The judge addressed that, members here have addressed that, I personally addressed that in my reply to you earlier.

    Of course there'll be confusion - I don't think the point's really worth debating (although you clearly do) because it's a de facto part of the situation. It's clear that Bahar's action is founded in his worries in this regard but I still feel that there's nothing he can do until Fernandes demonstrably engenders further confusion.

    You seem determined to argue over each minute detail despite the fact that I agree with you for the most part.

    I'll await your latest witty pic-terlude with baited breath.
     
  9. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    No, you didn't. Just stop posting.
     
  10. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    * Sigh *

    I think everyone understands that the potential for confusion exists; even Joe Saward sees that. You've done the point to death - I've said that there's little you can do about it. You've said that means I don't get it? Okay, what's your solution? Plenty of negative posting from you but no solid contribution.

    I post (and debate) here in a genuine spirit of contribution, it saddens me to see someone who is clearly verbose and intelligent overextending themselves and ignoring the content of posts in their haste to belittle.

    If you want me to stop posting then you're quite free arrange a ban, it is after all your forum and I there's little I can do about that.
     
  11. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    I'm not ignoring the content of your posts because there is no content to ignore. All you ever seem to say is something along the lines of "durr-hurr-hurr".
     
  12. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne

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    You post and report upon reports that say Bahar is taking action against Fernandes for "confusing" potential Caterham customers.

    I point out that legally Fernandes hasn't done anything wrong and that the confusion of the customers can't be helped.

    You yourself discussed the judgement which found that very fact to be true and which commented upon it.

    I don't get it, apparently. I wish you'd point out what else there is to get, you certainly seem to have a mard on.
     
  13. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    The Caterham name will appear on Team Fernandes' cars from the British Grand Prix, as will the colours of GE.
     
  14. Hun200kmh

    Hun200kmh

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    Funny I totally missed this last discussion about owning the right to use "Team Lotus" in F1 while at the same time you are the owner of Caterham cars. And how do you take advantage of that, by selling Caterhams painted yellow and green (like the "Lotus Team's" cars). And having the name "Caterham" written all over the "Lotus Team"'s cars.

    Very interesting
     
  15. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Now it's getting silly. This is taken from Team Air Asia's Twitter feed:
    Now, let’s wait for Tony Fernandes to try and force Lotus ART to change their livey on the basis that he owns the rights to Team Lotus …
     
  16. Ardius

    Ardius

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    Why would he do that? There is no copyright for colours, only logos.

    I don't really see anything wrong with it, if you watch any GP2 races this year, its pretty difficult to tell Air Asia cars apart from the Arden, Coloni and even the Rapax cars. Too much red and white, just like F1 a few years ago.

    There is only one other team in green, ok its going to be a little confusing but no more than the red and white was.

    A load of fuss over nothing as usual.
     
  17. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Round II begins.

    It seems like a fairly large oversight on Tony Fernandes' part to forget that he had purchased Caterham before the first trial and had indeed been working on the deal for months beforehand.
     
  18. Hun200kmh

    Hun200kmh

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    Fascinating. The way I see it GL have no case but it'll be interesting to know what's next in this saga
     
  19. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Group Lotus have no case? If that's true, why did the courts agree with them and say they had every right to break the licencing contract last year?
     
  20. Hun200kmh

    Hun200kmh

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    That was one of round 1's issues, not anymore. If Peter Windsor is to be believed (as journalist), this is the issue now:

    LG´s case is this "complete integration across all platforms" between Team Lotus and Caterham Cars, well beyond the scope of sponsorship and the resultant brand-association that is to be expected from a sponsorship deal. I doubt Mr. Hobbs has a case here. But we will see.
     
  21. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    If you read the whole article, it makes it pretty clear that the case hinges on interpretation of trademark law:
     
  22. Hun200kmh

    Hun200kmh

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    A "case" is built on facts, only after on "how the law applies to them".

    So yes, this is a copyright law case, was it violated? What facts will convince the judge that it was? Caterham, a car maker, being a F1 team sponsor isn't clearly enough. So, Mr. Hobbs will have to prove to court facts that will allow this conclusion: that there is - at least - the intent (and proving "the intent", again, is a question of fact) of aachieving a “complete integration across all platforms”.

    He will have to prove, putting it simply, that there is the intent of making:

    - Caterhams as the team lotus road cars

    - Team Lotus as the F1 branch of Caterham cars

    If he proves that, especially the first part, he has a case, because the use of the word "Lotus", by Team Lotus, is confined to F1 and cannot be used anywhere else.

    What I doubt is that he will be able to successfully prove that. But, again ... we'll see.
     
  23. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    And if you read the full article, they're demonstrating just that. Team Lotus receives sponsorship - and therefore a benefit - from Caterham. But, according to Team Lotus personnel, Caterham isn't receiving a benefit from Team Lotus. However, a video was presented showing Tony Fernandes marketing Caterham while dressed in Team Lotus clothing, showing a connection between the two that, according to Team Lotus, did not exist.
     
  24. Hun200kmh

    Hun200kmh

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    They're trying to demonstrate.

    The problem is ... Caterham sponsors Team Lotus, so it's only natural that the two "brands" are seen together. I still remember seeing Bridgestone posters everywhere in the shop where I used to change my car's tyres back in 2001, featuring the McLaren car of Mika Hakkinen, first Bridgestone F1 champ.

    Having it established that no law in existence forbids Caterham to sponsor Lotus, or Lotus to sponsor Renault, now you will have to elaborate on just what breaches exactly did Fernandes do. Wearing the Team Lotus clothing (a F1 team sponsored by Caterham) in a Caterham event is relevant to this issue?

    For all I know Mr. Hobbs is a very good lawyer/attorney/solicitor/barrister/whatever (I never quite understood all the names you guys use for lawyers and when should they be applied), so if he thinks he has a case, he must have at least SOMETHING to grab onto. But it won't be an easy one, and I guess the other team of lawers ( etc/ etc) is probably also a very good one.

    So, we'll just have to wait for the outcome.
     
  25. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Only in the context that the Caterham logo appears on the Lotus T128. Lotus benefits from Caterham, but according to Fernandes, Caterham does not benefit from Lotus beyond their sponsorship of the team. And yet of all things Fernandes could have done, he chose to present Caterham wearing Lotus apparel before the Caterham name even appeared on the side of the T128 (which was only fairly recently).

    Combined with the fact that Fernandes didn't think to even mention the purchase of Caterham - which had been finalised before the hearings even began - it's a fairly big mitake.
     
  26. prisonermonkeys

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    Interesting report from Joe Saward, suggesting a deal has finally been done: Lotus Renault GP will officially become known as Lotus, while Team Lotus will be renamed Team Caterham. The story claims Team Fernandes will remove their badges in the near future, but pre-dates the Belgian Grand Prix. No announcement was made, but if you look carefully, the cars weren't badged as "Team Lotus" at all:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's right - "Team Loftus". Apparently it was to celebrate Tony Fernandes' purchase of the Queens Park Rangers from Bernie Ecclestone (QPR's home field is Loftus Road). Of course, it could be mere conincidence, but as I demonstrated a while ago, the "LR8" logos on the Lotus T127 vanished between the Italian and Singapore Grands Prix, coinciding with the date Group Lotus terminated their contract ...
     
  27. Ardius

    Ardius

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    ^
    [​IMG]

    Lets give both sides of the story, eh ludes?
     
  28. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    It wouldn't be the first time they lied in public. Remember how they kept accusing Group Lotus of breaching the licencing agreement? The court case ruled GL were in the right. Team Fernandes seem to have a policy of denying everything until they announce it - even if the annoucement comes ten minutes after the denial. They want the annoucements to be on their terms, to make it look like it was their idea and not somehting forced upon them.
     
  29. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    It looks like the situation is about to be resolved 'imminently'.
     
  30. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Pardon the triple-post, but this makes for interesting reading:
    It's written by Joe Saward, so I'm taking it with a large grain of salt, but it does provoke a few thoughts.