All about to kick off....

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Laser Tim, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    If you look back over the treads when the ILCA were trying to cut Kirby/rights holder out of the deal and siding with Laser Performance, it was said back then that the ILCA were heading for more legal action given their unnecessary actions and decision to take sides (I was one of those pointing this out). It was predictable. Quite a few were commenting on how "unwise" the ILCA action was and I guess now we are proven right.

    I don't quite see how the ISAF were culpable. ILCA yes, but ISAF seem to have refused the ILCA trying to cut Kirby/rights holders out of their rights.

    I wonder if it is the beginning public move of setting up a new builder - but first attempt to stop Laser Performance.

    Ian
     
  2. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    It was always likely this would happen to the ILCA. The actions the ILCA took back then are now going to result in members subscriptions paying out to defend themselves. I'm glad I left (or did not renew) after the fiasco of the "vote".


    I suspect a new boat (or two) will be happening first.

    As a wild prediction, I wonder if we will end-up with two classes using virtually identical hulls:
    1st Class: A strict one-design (i.e. the idea behind the "Laser" but which people have drifted away from due to things like the ongoing sail saga).
    2nd Class: with pretty much the same hull but much more open rules, sails, etc. And how easy it would be to move between "classes" with the same hull (but different gear) maybe depends on the ultimate commercial situation.

    If the rumours about LPE are true I do wonder if the court action against LPE will be settled out-of-court with LPE giving up rights to the hull/name. If their situation is as some suspect then they have plenty of other boats to focus on and spend their limited resources on. ISAF and ILCA cannot offer much so probably depends how much money Kirby is after. Given how the ILCA took sides with LPE I cannot see him being particularly lenient/generous with ILCA. If new class happens then setting up a Class Association is not a big issue and he may well prefer to do that than inherit the ILCA (given their past actions).

    I suspect things might have been sorted a lot sooner if ILCA had not barged in on it all - as the long wait whilst a membership vote happened, followed by a wait for ISAF, made other parties wait to see the outcome before proceeding.

    I accept that guessing/theorising achieves little but I find it intersting trying to guess ahead (and cheaper than doing the same thing with stocks and shares).

    Ian
     
  3. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    I guess I don't see what the rule change vote has to do with it. They took a vote which the membership approved, but that the ISAF vetoed. The class rules never changed. The issue is that they continued to supply plaques.
     
  4. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    More of an emotional thing. If somebody tried to exclude you from what is rightfully yours then you are less likely to behave in a generous manner to them when it becomes time to settle accounts.
     
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  5. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    BK's claim against ILCA (and ISAF) is about supplying building plaques since he terminated the LP building contract late last year. The rule change doesn't come into it.

    What the documentation does provide is a much clearer insight into what was going on between the various parties back when the rule change was proposed - until now we've been relying on supposition and internet rumour. We finally have some facts (at least from the perspective of one side of the debate).

    I don't think ILCA were trying to exclude BK from what was rightfully his per se. They were trying to ensure continued availability of boats in Europe and NA - trying to avoid the exact situation that has now arisen with no-one authorised to build and sell Lasers in those markets. I don't know that they had many alternatives ... unless one side or the other gave in this was always going to go to court. In the meantime the ILCA had to try something to make sure the class continued to operate. What will happen now if this takes a couple of years to drag through the courts? No new boats from LP/LPE? Nothing called a Laser sold into those markets from the other builders?

    I obviously don't know the guy, but from his past form I don't think BK would want to do anything to the detriment of the actual sailors or the class. He has drawn a line in the sand and is defending his legal rights, but it isn't in his longer term business interests to damage the class, nor do I believe he would have any personal desire to do so, quite the opposite. He has created something huge in the sport of sailing, there is no way he would want to see that torn down.
     
  6. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    It seems at this point that ILCA/ISAF should be able to answer to the ILCA membership if they will continue to issue the plaques to LP
    To my simple way of thinking that would let us know if we will have new boats available (I don't think the filing of the suit is going to stop LP from building if they can get the plaques)
     
  7. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    My memory (which is not as good as it used to be) was that ILCA were trying to change the rules so that the BK/Right Holder part of the triangle of rule requirements was no longer part of the definitions of a "Laser". Before the vote, for a Laser to be a Laser the builder had to have a contract with BK/Right Holder. I thought the vote was to change things so it no longer needed BK/Rights Holder contract - i.e. exclude BK.

    And if US law is anything like UK, then BK could go to the courts and ask for an immediate injunction to stop any plaques being issued (something that would be heard and decided on very quickly) - yet it sounds like he has not done that (maybe because he might be liable for losses were the case eventually found against him or maybe because he wants things sorted without damage to the ultimate users/customers or maybe other reasons).

    But if somebody had tried to cut me out of what was legally mine I would be somewhat less sympathetic and generous when seeking damages.

    If Laser Performance was me and one of my businesses I would probably have to settle for paying owed royalties and hand over rights to the Laser name (i.e. step out of being a builder). I note that BK is after not only lost revenue/interest but punitive damages; which is only to be expected on the basis of his court submissions (i.e. notifications to ISAF/ILCA about termination of contracts and instructions to them to thereby stop issuing plaques). From his submissions it sounds like he has a very strong case and ILCA/ISAF are in trouble. But difficult to say until there is a defence case submitted.

    Ian
     
  8. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Interestingly, if Kirby does win the case, I guess boats built after the builder contracts were terminated will be counterfeit (as per the BK submissions). I would suspect that a court award of the royalty payments would not be adequate as the boats would still have been built (and sold) without the required BK contract; so either a retrospective builder contract would need to be put in place or people buying boats after builder contract termination will not have legal Lasers and will need to seek replacement legal boats from whoever they purchased the boats from (who in turn can pursue their supplier who can utlimately then pursue the ILCA/ISAF). So it could get even worse if it does go to court.

    I think the ILCA/ISAF handled things badly in that their actions have just prolonged a situation rather than forcing a resolution. All parties waited for ages whilst the ILCA vote took place. And then, the ILCA/ISAF continuing to issue plaques allowed LPE to continue, ignoring the problem ('cos at least they had some money coming in), so things just went on, more questionable boats built and sold, etc. so now when it does get to court the monies involved are that much higher and the potential numbers of counterfeit boats is higher. Leave things as they were (and stopping issuing plaques) would have forced LPE into a bit of a corner in that they would have owned something they were making no money from (and was probably costing them as well) and they would have been a lot more interested in finding a solution.

    I wonder what the ILCA/ISAF will do now. I assume that when BK informed them of the termination of builder contracts and instructed them to stop issuing plaques they took legal advice in deciding to continue. So maybe they have some recourse to their own legal advisors if things are found against them? I do wonder what they will do now. Will they stop issuing plaques now they appreciate that BK is not just letting things drift forever?

    The thing is, as with 3rd party gear not being acceptable in Open Meetings/Regattas, so counterfeit boats are not acceptable. So, when some hot-shot turns up and wins a regatta in a new boat next week, will he be subject to protest on the basis he is sailing a counterfeit boat ? In fact, should medals from the 2012 Olympics be "recalled" because the races used counterfeit boats ? (OK, unlikely to happen but who knows - 'cos if I raced a regatta using a Rooster sail I would not be placed in the results).

    Ian
     
  9. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I would agree. If LP can get plaques they have an argument that ISAF/ILCA (those in a position to determine the rules?) had judged the situation and that LP were in effect acting on their advice (indirect advice that they can continue to build Lasers). Maybe we will see something happen in the near future - even if only an announcement about the status of LP boats since the builder contract termination.

    Ian
     
  10. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    Yes that's true, but my point was that ILCA were acting to protect their member's interests - any potential downside to BK was a byproduct of that action rather than the intent. ILCA weren't 'taking sides' - they were acting in the interests of their own membership.

    The rule change would not have had any impact on the agreement between the builder and Kirby - that contractual agreement would remain in place whatever the class rules said. ILCA has no lever to use in any dispute between the builders and Kirby - they did all they could, which was to try to change their own rules to remove themselves from an uncomfortable position between the two.
     
  11. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    ILCA and ISAF were in a pickle no matter what. They keep sending plaques, Kirby sues them. They stop sending plaques, LP sues them.
     
  12. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    The Kirby sailboat seems poised to be named the Kirby Torch, with this as its sail insignia:
    [​IMG]
    Not a bad name for an Olympic class to carry the torch of the former Laser class.
     
  13. laser67713

    laser67713 New Member

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    I might have to ask my dealer to refund my purchase price on the new "counterfeit" boat I purchased last year. Same with the xtra blades, sails and spars I bought
     
  14. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I would have expected they could pass the relevant contracts and regulations to a decent lawyer who could say if LP were complying or in breach and tell them to continue or stop sending plaques. Given the contracts were created by lawyers, there should be some around who can establish who is in breach of contract. If contracts do require a builder/BK contract/royalties and BK has notified the ISAF/ILCA that those contracts have been terminated, were LP to pursue ISAF/ILCA for not supplying plaques then they maybe they can defend themselves by "redirecting" to BK (or (counter-)suing BK given they would have been acting on his instruction).

    I can't see them being stuck with no way out when caught in the middle. Their problem would be if they switched direction now - as either the before or after will be "wrong" and they will have done both. I assume their lawyers have advised them, based on contracts and notifications received that they are obliged to continue to supply plaques. Because, to have not taken legal advice or to ignore such advice would be putting themselves "in a pickle" as you say.

    Ian
     
  15. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    That's a great name and symbol. How do I re-baptize my boat or will that lead to doom and eternal damnation by ILCA?

    Thanks Chris/Litoralis; it's nice to have some info that isn't (totally) speculative...

    PS: The Torch; that is SO Olympic.
     
  16. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    The ILCA/ISAF were not a part of the contracts between Kirby and the builders and probably don't have access to those documents. I would imagine there was a separate legal agreement covering the conditions for the ILCA/ISAF to supply plaques to builders.
     
  17. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Then we can only hope they have complied with those conditions (given BK notifying them of builder contract terminations). If they complied with their obligations then they should be in the clear. But, that BK has included them in the legal case suggests that they may easily not have complied (obviously though we have and I suspect will not see their defence).

    I suspect that the court action is a means to clear LP out of the frame so BK can appoint a new builder without arguments about who is "the real builder" and which boat is a "Laser" (even if known under a different name). Any new builder may have reservations about starting to build when LP are still "playing the game" and presumably maintaining they are the legal builder (as I suspect starting to build Lasers is a fair amount of work). The Complaint document suggests that the moulds, plugs, etc. are owned by BK; or at least near the end of the document he is asking the Court for their "return" (page 21). Which suggests that they would be passed to a new builder and that would certainly stop LP from continuing to build and would ensure we don't have the "two classes" I was hypothesising about earlier.

    I think the "Torch" thing might be indirectly confirming where this is heading. I would assume the Class Rules for a "Torch" would state that Lasers built before xxxx (or sail numbers prior to xxxxxxx) are considered class legal Torches (giving the new class an immediate massive number of boats/fleets/events/etc.). That is assuming the relevant authorities accept it all (if they have any say). And maybe the Torch will have an improved sail (from day one) ?

    Ian
     
  18. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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  19. LaserPerformance LLC

    LaserPerformance LLC New Member

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    LaserPerformance Statement in connection with the complaint by Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby Inc.
    3/13/2013

    Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby Inc. have filed a legal complaint against LaserPerformance entities, the International Sailing Federation Limited (“ISAF”) and International Laser Class Association (“ILCA”). A number of false accusations and claims have been made in the document.

    LaserPerformance vehemently deny the allegations made by Mr. Kirby and maintain that these legal proceedings are vexatious in nature at best. LaserPerformance will take all necessary action to contest and defend these ill-conceived and meritless claims.

    LaserPerformance is the trademark owner of the Laser name and Starburst mark in all its territories. Mr. Kirby’s complaint does not dispute LaserPerformance’s ownership and use rights in connection thereto.
     
  20. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Shocking...

    Tell it to the judge...
     

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