Group Lotus wins on key issues in Formula 1 naming dispute
Mr Justice Peter Smith today gave his judgement in the dispute between Group Lotus plc and Team Lotus, Tony Fernandes and others in respect of the right to use the name “Lotus” in Formula 1.
• Group Lotus has the right to use the name “Lotus” on its own within Formula 1
• Group Lotus entitled to race in the historic black and gold livery
• 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT) ruled to be in breach of licence agreement, Group Lotus awarded damages
• Team Lotus Ventures Limited trademarks revoked for non-use
• Group Lotus trade marks unaffected
• Group Lotus has the right to use the Lotus marque on cars for road use
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; and
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. 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.
Speaking after the judgement, Sarah Price, Head of Legal, Group Lotus plc 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.”