F1 – Team Lotus Statement Two
27th May 2011
Team Lotus is very pleased with the judgment in the dispute with Group Lotus and does not intend to appeal any of the key findings. As Group Lotus has already announced its intention to seek leave to appeal the Judge’s decision on the headline argument in this case it is clear they do not feel they have won. There are a number of points that are interesting to note in the Judge’s findings which invalidate any claim of victory by Group Lotus in the main cause of this action:
- The Judge ruled that Team Lotus owns the separate goodwill in the “Team Lotus” name and roundel and we cannot be prevented by Group Lotus from using either of them in relation to Formula 1 racing. This was their headline argument in this case and the primary objective of Group Lotus was to stop us racing under the Team Lotus name. On this point they have lost.
- Until 1985 Group Lotus and Team Lotus had their own separate pools of goodwill in respect of the two separate businesses – the road car operation as one entity and the Formula 1 team as another. The claim by Group Lotus to have always owned the goodwill in Team Lotus failed.
- Having clearly established that there were two separate pools of goodwill the judgement also establishes that the goodwill in the Team Lotus name and roundel has continued and still survives – it has not been eliminated by non-use. The claim by Group Lotus on that point has failed.
- It has also been established that there is no confusing similarity between Team Lotus and Lotus. As there is independent goodwill in the mark Team Lotus it is not confusingly similar to Lotus. Group Lotus cannot stop Team Lotus racing under the name we own, so again, Group Lotus has failed in their main cause of action.
- Although goodwill in the “Team Lotus” name and mark subsists, our trade marks for the Team Lotus name and roundel have been revoked for non use between 2003 and 2008. This however has no impact upon our ability to continue to use the “Team Lotus” trade marks, and indeed to re-register them.
- The only point that Group Lotus won, and could therefore claim any sort of victory on, was the point that the Judge himself referred to in paragraph three of his judgment as “less important”. The Judge found in their favour that Team Lotus had breached the licence agreement by producing merchandising without pre-approval and that Group Lotus was therefore entitled to terminate. This has no bearing whatsoever on the key question as to whether Team Lotus is allowed to continue to race under the Team Lotus name.