All about to kick off....

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

  1. whatever

    whatever Member

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    So you suspect that Rategar's business and/or tax arrangements are not 100% proper?

    In my opinion, none of this is good for the future of laser sailing.

    The setup of establishing local monopolies doesn't lead to the lowest possible price for boats and equipment, but it isn't obvious how one entity getting an almost worldwide monopoly would increase profits for the monopolist.
     
  2. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Hope you don't get a subpoena and have to appear in court.
     
  3. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    My comment did ignore your first option, because I was aware of what Pam had written shortly after she had placed it on her blog and was aware of it's inclusion by Kirby. You are very much mistaken - the information went from Pam to Kirby, not the other way around.

    This case revolves around the validity of the contracts - and the idea of whether or not the builders contracts were terminated prior to 2011. That idea was put forward by Rastegar and Co, who then acted as if it was so, then convinced the ILCA to propose a rule on that basis. Note that we now know, having had the opportunity to read the builders agreements, that it had in it provisions to transfer - I am unclear on what basis the obligations of any parties to the contract have been released - this is a matter that to date Rastegar has not dealt with effectively. Kirby says that the transfer to Global Sailing was not effected properly, and that the agreement that Rastegar was still valid until 2013 when he terminated the contracts.

    I believe that, in accordance with the contracts, it is up to Kirby to appoint builders. It is up to other parties, including the Trademark holder, to ratify the appointment of builders. Because the holder of the Laser Trademark is Rastegar, he effectively has right of veto for the North American, European and possibly some Asian markets. This is the bind that keep us all from moving forward. It's very unfortunate that things have reached this point - but it is a bind never the less.

    Enter the ILCA and the ISAF. Unfortunately (at least for Kirby), they don't see it the same way that he does, and would rather have Rastegar continue building boats, until this mess is sorted out. Unfortunately, in giving Rastegar support, there will be no 'sorting out' outside of court, as any move different to the situation now is a compromise for Rastegar. This is because at the moment Rastegar gets to build Lasers without paying royalties. Also, if we recognize Kirby's rights, then Kirby's termination of Rastegar's companies (Laser Performance) may be effected. These two facts prevent Rastegar from engaging in any mediations in a meaningful way.

    It's my judgement that the ethics favour Kirby, however if I set those aside, I still end up favouring Kirby's position. Bottom line for me is that I sail a particular boat design. I love all of the boats being the same and that I do battle with other sailors, not with differing technology. That being said, I cannot bear the design of the boat to change, while I can bear the trademark to change.

    To me, there are two options:
    1) Buy the Laser Trademark off Rastegar and appoint a new builder.
    2) Sail the same boat under a different trademark.

    Unfortunately for Rastegar, both of these options do not include him or his companies building 'our boat' - if it is Kirby's will (and it is). That is because I respect the rights of Bruce Kirby to appoint builders as laid out in the various contracts that I see are still valid. These are the same contracts formulated the enormously successful 'Laser system'. Over and above this, Kirby was a significant part (but not the only part) of the creation of the sport I have enormous passion for. Without Kirby, there would be no Laser. The same cannot be said for Rastegar.

    In order to change the name of the Laser, the process of change needs to be over several years - mostly because there are already agreements in place with the ISAF for Laser Performance to build Lasers. However being a longer time scale also presents an opportunity to look in depth at the system that we have, and for the stakeholders to discuss what improvements can be made to the rights. If for example, there is to be a new trademark, (from the top of my head) I'd like to see the stakeholders buy into it (is there something better than the Torch?), have a robust discussion on where the trademark ownership is best held for the good of the class so there is no possibility of a similar bind in the future. Also there is Kirby's desire to do some 'estate planning'. Again, it is the stakeholders where these things need to be discussed - how the system will best run without Kirby - how to arrive at market values of the assets (like the 'design rights', the trademark rights etc) then how the transfer of rights is best effected without seeing any party out of pocket.

    Again, the ILCA and the ISAF play a pivotal part in this.
     
  4. whatever

    whatever Member

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    I suspect that, rather than wanting someone to build "boats", the ICLA want someone to build "Lasers". At the moment, the only organization that has the rights to do this in NA and Europe are Rastegar's companies. That's probably why the ICLA seems to have given tacit support to LPE and QM.

    I have absolutely no knowledge of this, but I suspect that Kirby's implication that he is the sole creator of the builder's manual is an exaggeration -- it would seem likely that the original builders would be heavily involved in developing the specifications and techniques to build a boat.
     
  5. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    I agree with Whatever about the ILCA. So long as there are two opposing parties who have control not wanting to work with each other, we have this bind. To remove that bind, there are only a few options. As said, my favoured ones are to either buy the trademark "Laser" or work around it somehow - for example have the same boat with a replacement trademark as suggested by Kirby with the Torch.

    With the construction manual, Kirby does not claim to be the sole creator of the construction manual - at least anywhere I have read. (If I'm wrong, please send through what supports this). What Kirby claims is that he owns the manual (or at least copyright to it), but even that has special meaning and is outlined in the builders agreements.

    Immersing ourselves in the dispute, or the idea that we must have a solution with Rastegar like the ILCA seem to be doing - perhaps there is a better way? We can wait for the legal process to take place - or we can take control and make it the way we want it. If we wait for the legal process, then chances are we'll still need to make changes for the future. In 2017, what will be the best solution? Do we still want a situation that is unclear? That has the potential to bind the parties like we have now?

    The time to work on a solution is now.
     
  6. Mrs. P

    Mrs. P Member

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    He has given everyone reason to suspect. Back in 2012 in connection with the Maclaren bankruptcy, Alice Hines from the Huffington Post writes:

    In March, Rastegar's bankruptcy lawyers claimed that Maclaren USA had no knowledge of the ownership of Maclaren Hong Kong Limited. Bankruptcy trustee Napolitano disputed the claim in a court document filed April 24, writing that she believed the U.S. company possessed "knowledge sufficient to allow complete responses to her requests for information." Maclaren USA owes $13.1 million to Maclaren Hong Kong Limited, according to bankruptcy filings.

    Rastegar, subpoenaed in New York on May 10, testified that both Maclaren Hong Kong Limited and Maclaren Distribution Limited (the parent company of Maclaren Europe Limited) are owned by his mother and sister.
     
  7. whatever

    whatever Member

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    That doesn't look good.

    I wonder what his ultimate goal is? Wear Kirby down and then buy out Kirby's rights?
     
  8. Mrs. P

    Mrs. P Member

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    His history with every company he's owned in the past seems to be to run it into the ground. Whether that's intentional for financial/tax reasons or just a reflection of his business management skill is still unknown. I have no doubt that Rastegar's collective pocket is getting deeper but the pockets of his businesses are not.
     
  9. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    Whatever, check out David Netto's story. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/david-netto-maclaren-suit-fraud_n_1600530.html

    I don't know what the outcome was (or if it is still in process), however there seems to be several things not going so well in the world of Faraz Rastegar - Netto's suit was against Rastegar personally. There is a lot in the public arena, I'd encourage people to read up on it themselves and draw their own conclusions.

    For me, I have not seen any evidence that either Rastegar or Kirby have intentionally constructed this dispute - yes things have been said - some regrettable things. In short, I believe it to be genuine difference of opinion.

    All this being said, I don't think that we should be 'against' Rastegar per se. Nor do I think we should pay lip service to neutrality - while favouring one party in the dispute. For me, personally, I have had enormous benefit/enjoyment out of the Laser class, and the Laser, Kirby's sailboat and Bruce Kirby are inseparable. I'm not denying that Laser Performance is a big part - however put simply, in my mind Bruce Kirby is a bigger part. This is in part because he was a big part of creating it and making the Laser successful. For me, as I have outlined previously, I consider that I owe Bruce Kirby my support, and I gladly give it.
     
  10. tim.platt

    tim.platt New Member

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  11. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    That is a separate issue Tim.

    They probably sued under trademark infringement (which as they currently own the trademark they are entitled to do).
     
  12. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Technically a separate legal issue, but just another move in the global PR game. Quite frankly, it doesn't make sense to me for LP to toot their horn about it. They are basically admitting their failure to supply parts the last few years.
     
  13. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    LP won't see it as a separate issue. They claim that there is a conspiracy to drive them out of business by Kirby / GS / PSA, and specifically mention the selling of lasers / laser parts outside of their territory by PSA.
     
  14. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    And I note that Kirby has not terminated the agreement with LP Japan.
     
  15. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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  16. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    I sail a boat and a special one design concept for that boat; to me, the brand is just an add-on. I recognise that the creator of the boat and concept is Bruce Kirby, and until otherwise advised believe that he owns the boat design and the special one design concept for that boat. Therefore my allegiance is with Kirby.

    By the way, when I'm entering my boat in local events, I've finally thought of what name to use for my boat: "Torch".
     
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  17. Mrs. P

    Mrs. P Member

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  18. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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  19. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    Speaking to an insider who works as LP in the UK he paints a slightly different picture regarding the new sail.

    He told me that all parties have agreed the change except the ILCA and that is what is holding things up. Whether this is related to the current legal action I do not know!

    He also says that once the new sail is launched it will be priced around the same as the current sail (shame, I told him this was a silly idea and they should sell it at a more realistic price point) and the current stock of sails would be sold off at a large discount.....

    The plot thickens...... who is actually holding this up?
     
  20. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    Jeffers, what's the proposed change?
     

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