Team Lotus (the formula one team) won the the right to keep using the name Team Lotus in formula one partially winning the suit against Group Lotus which had licensed the name to Team Lotus in the London High Court.
However the courts found Team Lotus to be in breach of licensing agreements with Group Lotus and ordered them to pay damages. Group Lotus meanwhile didn’t look to be in any mood to acquiescently accept the judgement. They are likely to appeal.
The judgment was a bit weird as the judge gave Group Lotus the right to use te name Lotus in formula one. So at first glance it seems like formula one could theoretically one day have teams by the name of ‘Team Lotus’ and ‘Lotus’. This is one of Group Lotus’s main points for appealing the decision. A statement from Group Lotus read :
“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.”
A judgement summary on Group Lotus’s website read :
Note:This is a summary form the Group Lotus website, hence language is not neutral
- 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.
Meanwhile Team Lotus seemed happy with the judgement they got and are looking forward to their relationship with Caterham cars. A statement on their site gave more perspective :
Team Lotus is very happy that the court case concerning the rights to the Team Lotus name has today come to a positive conclusion and that the team can now focus its full attention on its long-term challenge for honours on and off track. The decision confirms that Team Lotus is the true owner of the full Team Lotus name and the iconic roundel, establishing in law that the Anglo-Malaysian team is the rightful heir to Team Lotus and all associated goodwill.
Team Principal Tony Fernandes gave his comments on behalf of his fellow shareholders Kamarudin Meranun, SM Nasarudin and the 250 strong workforce based in Malaysia and Hingham, UK:
“We are all pleased that it has been clarified that we are the rightful owners of Team Lotus. 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.
“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. 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.”