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Lotus verdict sees both sides claim victory

Team Lotus and Group Lotus both claim victory in the Lotus naming row after High Court ruling revealed
Both Group Lotus and Team Lotus have claimed victory after Mr Justice Peter Smith delivered the ruling into the Lotus naming row in the High Court.

While Group Lotus has the right to use the name 'Lotus' on its own within Formula 1, the key factor of the ruling is that Tony Fernandes' 1Malaysia Racing Team can continue to run under the Team Lotus banner.

The court appearance came after Group Lotus ended its licencing agreement with the team, with Fernandes then buying the rights to the Team Lotus name and lodging an entry for the 2011 F1 season under the new moniker – as opposed to the Lotus Racing name used in 2010.

Group Lotus then announced a sponsorship deal with the Renault F1 team which has seen it rebranded as Lotus Renault GP, with the car company arguing that it held the rights to use the Lotus name.

However, the High Court hearing has now revealed that Team Lotus can continue to use its name in F1 despite being in breach of the licencing agreement it held with Group Lotus last year.

“We are all pleased that it has been clarified that we are the rightful owners of Team Lotus,” Fernandes said. “We have always been confident that the factual evidence we presented would lead to this decision and today's judgment confirms that belief. We are of course disappointed about the decision that Group Lotus was entitled to end the our licence agreement in 2010.

“We entered into that contract on the basis that we were beginning a long-term partnership with Group Lotus but unfortunately they then used technical breaches of the merchandising pre-notification process to bring the licence and our partnership to an end. However, my fellow shareholders and I are firm believers that when one door closes another door opens. In the early days of our agreement we realised its termination was inevitable and as events have unfolded the end of the licence has proved positive for us, with many new avenues being opened up as a result.”

Fernandes added that much of his focus now would be on the marriage between Team Lotus on track and Caterham Cars off it after the recent purchase of the car builder.

“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,” he said. “These are two very exciting brands and their future development, bringing these two iconic brands together under the Caterham Team Lotus umbrella, will see us introduce new Caterham cars and a range of new Team Lotus brands into the global marketplace. Now our main aim is to build on the solid foundations that has made Caterham Cars the model for how to run a profitable contemporary car company and add more history to the incredible story of Team Lotus over the coming months and years and with the people, spirit, passion and determination we have in both businesses we know that marks the next stage in our incredible story.”




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