By Berthold Bouman, F1 Correspondent
After the announcement of Team Lotus in which they claimed the victory in the Lotus name dispute court case, Group Lotus has now also reacted and has claimed victory as well. It seems Mr Justice Peter Smith gave Fernandes the right to use the full “Team Lotus” name, but also decided Group Lotus also has the right to participate in Formula One using the “Lotus” name.
A statement from Group Lotus read: “Team Lotus has the right to continue to race in Formula One 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 Formula One.”
The Group Lotus statement further read:
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.
But Group Lotus also announced they will appeal the decision, as they fear today’s decision has caused even more confusion for the fans and general public.
“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."
This aspect of the Judgment will cause confusion in the eyes of spectators
Head of legal at Group Lotus, Sarah Price commented, "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 ongoing 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."
Which in fact means the Lotus versus Lotus dispute is far from over …