2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by 154537, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. tim.platt

    tim.platt New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I'm with Tracy on this. Why is everyone blaming our Class Association? The ILCA didn’t create this situation, the various builders/rights owners did.

    The threats from these commercial interests haven’t come as a result of the actions of our association, it was the other way around. We should be directing our anger towards them - the commercial parties that is.

    Our representatives are just 'doing their best' to try and get us out of being used as a bargaining chip in the fight.

    We don’t actually owe the builders/commercial rights holders anything; we've already given them our hard earned cash. We are their customers. THEY should be treating us (and the ILCA) with a bit more respect and care.

    However, I do think the justification for the change on the ILCA website is not worded as well as it could be, and clearly a lot of members are uncomfortable with the lack of facts, but again I think this is the fault of the commercial parties not the ILCA (the lack of facts that is).

    I don’t think we are being subject to some major conspiracy by the ILCA, and even if we are, what have they got to gain by playing such games? If this was the case, once the truth came out, and it would eventually, the leadership would get kicked out. So, as I say, what have they got to gain?

    I'm not suggesting that the solution the ILCA has come up with is the best, or the only one. I don’t have the training / knowledge to know the right solution, and even if I knew all the facts I probably still wouldn't. I just have to trust that they are doing the right thing on our behalf. And if time proves they aren’t, what have we lost? We can all leave the ILCA and form another association if we want to.

    Finally, there seems to be a suggestion that the ILCA should enter into a discussion on this forum. In reality I can understand why they haven’t - even if this is frustrating for some. Unless I have misunderstood, this forum is not run by the ILCA, they don’t really know who the participants in the debate are, and there will be some who will never be happy no matter how much information they are given. I'm sure any sensible PR advisor would tell them to leave well alone.

    Has any ILCA members with strong views actually contacted HQ direct, and asked the questions they want answered? What happened to the old fashioned art of letter writing?
     
  2. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    18
    It is true that this forum is not run by the ILCA.

    But in 2011 are we really going to revert to "the old fashioned art of letter writing"? Like it or not, forums like this are one of the best ways for an organization with a dispersed membership to discuss issues that matter to them.

    It sure would be nice if ILCA ran an official forum. Maybe it would be open only to members? If not knowing the true identity of participants is a problem, then maybe we would all use our own names on such a forum?

    In the meantime this is the best we have. Yes, some people will "never be happy" with the leadership's positions. Yes, it is messy at times. Yes, sometimes people get angry and make crazy accusations.

    But I sincerely believe that an active engagement between class leaders and regular members in a forum such as this would be healthy for the class, and would make for a better informed membership and a more trusted leadership.
     
  3. wrestlingthewind

    wrestlingthewind New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    So than the question is: if not on the forum will the Class respond to members in writing providing the facts that are available today? If so can you list the questions, we all would like the answers to? Letters vs email, as well as, paid Class membership might reap so additional information. I would like to send a certified letter of question.

    Oh and what happened to me winning the 200,000 Laser? Results...........
     
  4. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I don't know where I saw that, and I don't have time right now to do a thorough search. Anyone else have this info in their brain? If I am wrong, I'll address that.

    I'm directing my anger at the heads of the class because it seems to me, from information that people have contributed in this thread, that they've short-sightedly chosen the wrong builder, in order to keep up the supply of boats. Global contracted with Kirby; this contract was acknowledged for two years by PSE or LP or whatever they call themselves. By accounts, Global makes better boats. Why would you choose, or ask us to choose, illegal, badly built boats?
     
  5. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I'm still wondering why the ILCA has even become involved in this commercial dispute. The commercial dispute will need to be sorted out, probably in a court of law. Until that is sorted out, there is no threat to the supply of boats or the future of the class. Yet, the ILCA wording wipes in a single stroke the commercial rights which Global Sailing has purchased, irrespective of whether those commercial rights actually exist. The ILCA executive through this vote could potentially open the association to separate legal action.
     
  6. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Go back to this post: http://www.laserforum.org/showpost.php?p=154129&postcount=19
     
  7. tim.platt

    tim.platt New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    AlanD - sorry but I think you have it wrong.

    The ILCA have told us that they didn't go out looking to get involved in any commercial dispute between the different commercial interests. THEY (the different builders) threatened us as Laser owners, in various ways. How can that be right?

    The ILCA believes that as things stand there is already a threat to continued supply of legal Lasers, and therefore sitting on the side lines and doing nothing is not an option.

    I cannot see that anyone who earns money from selling Lasers would be doing themselves any favours by taking legal action against its customers i.e us. It would almost certainly prove to be commercial suicide - killing the Goose that laid the golden egg. So what would they have to gain from such an action?
     
  8. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18

    Well, remember, the issue is really about IP rights versus trademarks.

    So, Bruce Kirby, Inc., owned the intellectual property rights to the Laser but, importantly, that company does not also own the trademarks to "Laser" (as applied to a sailboat) and the starburst symbol. Instead, the trademark rights are owned by the builders in each of the territories they service. So, LP/Vanguard for North America, the Carribean and parts of Central America, then PS Australia for Australia, New Zealand and a small number of islands in the South Pacific, then PS Japan for Japan and South Korea and, finally, LP for the entire rest of the world (all of Europe, most of Asia, all of Africa, all of South America).

    According the the Bruce Kirby interview in SailWorld, Bruce Kirby, Inc, licensed the IP rights to the builders through contractual agreements. ILCA is not party to those agreements, has no knowledge (as far as I know) of what they contain.

    Several years ago Bruce Kirby decided to sell Bruce Kirby, Inc. and enjoy a well deserved retirement. He sold Bruce Kirby Inc. to a company called Global Sailing. The owners of Global Sailing also own PS Australia, but the two are "independent" companies (and it should be added that LP in North America is "independent" of LP Europe, though both owned by the same family).

    Because of the trademark restrictions a builder in one area cannot legally (insert a large asterisk here) sell Lasers in an area where they don't own the trademark without permission of that area's trademark holder.

    This isn't about choosing one builder over another. It is about allowing the factory that produces the most number of boats per year and which has the largest trademark territory to continue building boats and supplying them to most of the Laser sailors in the world.

    I should also point out that LaserPerformance Europe is the new name for Performance Sailcraft Europe, but that particular company has been held by the same ownership for better than a dozen years. They are not new owners with no historical background, so I guess I would actually like to know the real reason for why they stopped royalty payments after making them for something like a decade. But I doubt I'm ever going to know...
     
  9. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I would agree with Alan. Having spent a lot on money purchasing the rights (of which we know nothing - apparently), there is no way on earth that Global will just shrug and carry on as though nothing has happened if the ILCA preferred solution happens. they will defend their rights (and revenue from those rights). And, at best that will be ignoring the ILCA vote (by going for the builder) or if not, by going for the ILCA (and costing the class vast sums in legal fees defending the action.

    Whenever there are such disputes in business (and they happen all the time), there is always loads of posturing and threats to make people scared about all sorts of things, trying to make them give way because of the threat to <whatever>. It is just one party trying to "win" without the need of going to court. It is not uncommon in business - which is why you need people who can hold their nerve and not "panic react". ILCA has "panic reacted" (the "Oh my God we are going to have no Lasers for our members ..."). Class needs people running it who can hold their nerve and then, when action really is necessary, justify their recommended action by presenting the facts.

    ILCA was never dragged into it. they could have chosen to stay out of it but their chose to get tangled up in it all. ILCA would only have been forced to do anything once a court order/case against them started. Court actions between the to other parties are to be expected and would actually be a good sign because it would mean they are taking the next step in getting things resolved.

    Iam
     
  10. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Global Sailing doesn't build boats, PS Australia does. Popular rumor in North America is that the Australian boats are "better", though I would like to see some solid evidence from regatta results that can prove that.

    The ILCA Technical Officer is charged with periodically inspecting each factory to insure construction of Lasers according to the Laser Construction Manual. Its an amazingly thorough inspection and there is a vast collection of data on boats built at each factory. I don't believe there is any evidence from these inspections that would support the idea that boats from one factory are clearly superior to those from any other.
     
  11. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18

    Just to reiterate from earlier postings to this thread, I'm not an official spokesperson for ILCA and what I'm writing is my personal opinion, for whatever that might be worth.

    I am certain that ILCA originally tried to stay out of the dispute but were ultimately placed in a position where standing by doing nothing was no longer an option.

    Under current wording, ILCA can only issue plaques to approved builders who also have an agreement with Bruce Kirby, Inc. Instead of going to court to settle their dispute, Global Sailing could say to ILCA that they no longer have an agreement with LPE and ILCA would have to stop issuing plaques to LPE - meaning they could no longer build class legal Lasers. What would you do if you were LPE, the owner of the trademark to Laser? One could conjecture several scenarios... some that come to my mind: building some singlehanded boat that is different from what we have now (to avoid conflict with the IP rights) and sell it as a Laser (with a Starburst logo on the sail), or you tell ILCA it was no longer allowed to use the word "Laser" (the "L" in "ILCA") in Europe, Africa, South America and most of Asia, or you could start your own class association in your trademark territory. Etc.

    How to get out of the middle? Change the fundamental rule so that ILCA can continue to issue plaques and LPE continue to produce class legal boats. The IP rights issue would then transfer to the legal system where it belongs. The courts around the world have a long history of protecting intellectual property, Its hard for me to believe that the IP rights holder would not gain satisfaction following this path.

    But in the meantime Laser sailing continues as we know it now.

    Finally, I would find it very surprising if the entire value of the IP rights owned by Global Sailing depended upon the wording of the Fundamental Rule - something that Global Sailing have no direct control over. The ILCA constitution lays out a rather cumbersome path towards changing the Class Rules, but it does not give Bruce Kirby, Inc. veto power over changing them. I can't believe anyone would buy "intellectual property" (in this example the wording of the Fundamental Rule) which was not really "owned" by the seller (in this example they are really owned by the Laser Class). So... I don't agree with the argument that this rule change wipes out in a single stroke the commercial rights which Global Sailing has purchased. I guess I don't see how they would be affected at all.
     
  12. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    A very quick pre-work response

    The rule change says wipes out the requirement for an agreement between the Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc and the manufacturer. Such agreements generally involve the payment of a royalty. So with a single stroke, the requirement for an agreement to exist and hence pay royalties to the Global Sailing which owns Bruce Kirby Inc is wiped out, I'd be amazed if the GS try to recover their losses in some way. Instead you'll need a licence from the ILCA and ISAF which will involve some sort of fee. The reality of the situation is that the ILCA/ISAF is stealing revenue from GS by the change of wording.
     
  13. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Clarification of the above post:

    Current Rule

    A Builder is a manufacturer that has a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. to build the Laser and has the rights to use a Laser trademark and has been approved as a Laser Builder by each of the International Sailing Federation and the International Laser Class Association.


    Rule as published in the 2011 Handbook "valid from 1st January 2011"

    A Builder is a manufacturer that has a building agreement from the design rights holder. to build the Laser and has the rights to use a Laser trademark and has been approved as a Laser Builder by each of the International Sailing Federation and the International Laser Class Association.



    Isn't it interesting that the ILCA is asking us to vote on a change after some handbook editor made change without any vote????

    what's it all mean?? hell knows? and nobody, even those posting here, really cares.

    I recently renewed my dues for two years anyway. I don't give a tinker's dam what rules we use. I am going to rig up and go race no matter howsilly they might become.
    I am certain those running the show are doing the best they know how and the social penalties for attempting to change our leadership make it no fun what so ever to be the one suggesting we consider changing our leadership.
    If you want to have fun sailing lasers I suggest you ignore all the association crap , show up when there are races or parties or whatever it is you enjoy and let those who thrive on endless conflict with no reward for their efforts continue to call themselves officers and do whatever it is that pleases them.
     
  14. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gouv is correct above with the changing of the wording. If there was no vote then it should still read Bruce Kirby or KIrby Inc (wor whatever his company was called).

    When IP changes hands there is generally a period of negotiation between new nw IP rights (or contract) holders and the existing licensee/contractee.

    There was an example of this in the UK some years ago when Virgin Media purchased NTL expecting to keep the same agreements with Sky TV to be a carrier for their channels.

    There was a bit of a falling (kept relatively quiet in the press) and Virgin stopped broadcasting some Sky TV channels for a period of time because they did not have a valid agreement.

    Happily (for customers of Virgin Media) the man at the helm (Richard Branson) is a pretty savvy business man and made amends in the short term whilst working on resolving the dispute.

    It seems to me that is what is required here.

    In theory all agreements with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc are no longer valid (unless the company still exists, even if only on paper, as a wholly owned subsidury of Global Sailing).

    Anyway...as Gouv also very wisely said....at the moment who cares, lets go sailing! (sunny and windy here in the UK, shame I am stuck at work today).....
     
  15. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    18
    This is the crux of the issue. What would LPE do if this rule chage is not passed? Another possible scenario is that they would realize that it was in their best interests to settle their dispute with Global Sailing, and start paying royalties again for the right to build legal Lasers.

    The other side of the equation that we need to consider in deciding how to vote is what would Global Sailing do if the rule change is passed? Sue ILCA for destroying the value of their investment in the Laser design rights? Tell ILCA it was no longer allowed to use the word "Laser" (the "L" in "ILCA") in the regions where they own the trademark? Start their own class association in their trademark territory? Start selling Bruce Kirby Sailboats (i.e. look-alike Lasers under another name) in Europe in competition with LPE?

    With the current limited information that is available it seems entirely possible that the Laser class as a single international class is doomed whichever way the vote goes.
     
  16. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Almost certainly. Big companies will not just "walk away", writing-off such large investments when they believe they are "in the right". Maybe they would win, maybe not (and not even ILCA's lawyers can know that as nobody has seen the agreements that are being discussed) - but either way it will be costing the ILCA vast sums to defend themselves. and in a UK court they would be unlikely to get their costs awarded as they (ILCA) were the ones interfering rather than allowing the other parties to resolve the issues between themselves. These types of "threat" (the "disruption of supply", "death of the product", etc.) are just threats and if they happened both parties would lose out and both parties know that. They are part of the posturing process that goes on in business as part of the process of dispute resolution.


    And it would not be too difficult to do. Adopt the same class rules but add the option for e.g. measured sails (so you could get your Intensity, iSails, Rooster, etc. measured and stamped and use it legally and no longer be forced to buy poor quality over-priced sails), allow pre-summer 2011 Lasers to automatically be part of the class, etc. no longer be constrained by Olympics on rule changes, ensure you have class officers who are aware and responsive to the membership, etc. and it would be a far more attractive class that the ILCA. I would then expect most club sailing to then switch to be under the "Kirby Class Association" (as e.g their regattas would allow those using Intensity sails, etc. to join-in giving bigger turn-outs) and it might well be the death of the Laser (and ILCA) but would see an equivalent/better class evolve (addressing many of the shortcomings of the existing setup ?

    We don't need to be frightened of change but to just consider the impacts of change. Had the ILCA not stuck its nose in then I would expect more LPE/GS posturing and threats for a bit and they would eventually sort themselves out (maybe through courts, maybe the posturing would be enough) and things would carry on as at present. The ILCA sticking their nose in has ensured that things are going to change - which way who knows but ILCA has forced a change. As the ILCA are not inclined to provide information or do anything being asked of them by the membership then maybe people need to think carefully about the impacts of changes either way without being scared of things changing. The class can change and still provide strict one design competition.

    Ian
     
  17. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    133
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I would like to thank Tillerman, SFBayLaser/Tracy, Deimos/Ian, Jeffers, AlanD, Gouvernail and others for getting this thread back on a serious track. Your contributions were all thoughtful and I find apparently valid, but contradictory, points in all of them. Thus, I still find myself conflicted about how, and even whether, to vote

    AlanD's response of June 2 particularly struck a chord with me. I keep wondering why I should vote to 'get around' a commercial dispute between two competing builders and whether ILCA was wise to enter the fray. Moreover, the consequences of a "YES" or a "NO" vote aren't clear at all, and not anywhere as simple as ILCA attempts to say on its website. But I do feel that by voting "YES" I would favor LaserPerformance. This, to me, is especially awkward because LP started the brouhaha, as far as I can tell. Also, if voting in favor of the amendment, I would be helping LP to continue to sell 'legal' boats. Thus, my vote would take the pressure off LP to settle the legal dispute with Global Sailing. This clearly is NOT in the best interest of Laser sailors.
     
  18. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Your argument here is based upon UK law and my not be applicable to international law or the laws where this agreement are applicable.
     
  19. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    The singular most annoying part of the rule change is not that which has been removed but that which remains.

    Why does the class care whether a builder has the right to use the word Laser or the starburst?? Would it be that hard for us to change this??
    [​IMG]
    I don't give a hoot what some builder calls the toys we use to play our game. I give a hoot whether all the toys are as exactly alike as reasonable building practices can manufacture for us.

    It seems to me, in fact, that the ILCA is asking me to vote for a rule that goes EXACTLY OPPOSITE that which would be good for the sailors.

    Case in point>

    If I decided to make molds and build toys that are exactly like the thing Kirby designed, I might be able to supply my local fleet with boats so we could play our game with toys sold through a local dealer at 1/3 to 1/2 the purchase price of those boats supplied by the monopoly builders who currently supply our toys.

    Now I fully understand that many of you would be annoyed by a newfound need to measure boats at regattas to see if they are like the monopoly builders boats...

    But. How many thousands of dollars are you willing to spend??

    Also note...Some have already told us the popularity of knock off parts is already requiring a lot of checking and measurement to make cetain teh parts came from those who own copyrights to the starburst logo and name.

    Builders and consumers of knock off parts have become sneaky.

    If we alowed local builders to be up front and in the open, we could also expect they would deliver the exact same parts they promised or face our community's wrath. I know I damn sure wouldbn't build any toys for our game that were not up to snuff. I have a reputation to uphold...as would most anyone in the business. The community is small and the pissed off sailor customer gossip is not someone with whom I care to contend.

    How long are you willing to wait for backordered parts from the monopoly builder and supplier of all parts who is currently supplying the North American market?? How is theh supply of official builder parts at your favorite supplier?? How has it been for the last three years??
    Do you suppose the monopoly suppliers will love us more and do a better job if we gather and say our marriage vows a second time??

    If the Builders want to throw open the discussion about rules related to who can supply toys for the ILCA game, Let's go along with them and have a good long look at ALL our options.

    My bet is we could find ourselves being served by builders who really want our buisness and who would simply love to make a decent living manufacturing toys for us to use.

    May the builder with the most reliably "alike" boats and sails, the best price, and the best aftermarket customer service win that contest!!!

    or we can actually legislate a fresh rule that says, "Those who own the copyright on the word laser and the starburst can have their way with us."

    I have noy yet cast a ballot as, "ask again when you have something better to offer" was not an option..

    but there is hope, the ballot has already been reworded in the middle of the election. Who is to stop our beloved leaders from rewording the ballot a second or third time...or even once more after all the votes have been cast??
     
  20. mental floss

    mental floss Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Sounds a lot like free market economics.....that used to be an American ideal.
     

Share This Page