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2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

SFBayLaser

Member
Re: rule change, builder

What's the rush if the polls are open for 6 months? Don't we ILCA members "deserve the respect of a detailed and complete explanation" from both sides before we cast our votes?
I've been wondering about the timing too since I was under the impression that the Fundamental Rule change was under a shorter time fuse. I'll ask for clarification.

Note that once you vote on the Fundamental Rule then you get to a page with the remaining changes to the Class Rules (e.g. electronics/compass). The timeline for those is the end of September as the next World Council meeting is in October (I'm told).
 

SFBayLaser

Member
Re: rule change, builder

ILCA should be in charge of defining the specifications.
ILCA IS in charge of defining the specifications as it "owns" the Laser Construction Manual and drives the changes/updates to it.

As we know, the major advantage to the current system is that when the boat leaves the factory we KNOW its a Laser - no need to bring in a measurer to verify each hull/spars/sail. Imagine having to do that for some 3000 boats/year! And its the job of the ILCA Technical Officer to periodically inspect each factory to insure compliance with the LCM (in fact, there is an inspection of a factory scheduled for next week).
 
Re: rule change, builder

Hi,

The most important required change is not included in the new wording.

All Lasers should be built following the same specifications and I don't care who builds them. A boat should be called a "Laser" only if it complies with clearly defined design and specifications. All boats should be measured before calling them Lasers. If they are in conformance with the class official measures, fine. Otherwise, correct them or change the name.

ILCA should be in charge of defining the specifications. Boats could be measured by any ISAF authority.

Regards,
Rodolfo
Growing up sailing Lightnings for about 20 years ( another ILCA), I don't see why having multiple boat builders and multiple sailmakers would be such a disaster. That is how that class has operated since time began and I'm pretty sure its still a strong class.

They have class measurers at major events.

IF someone at the club level had an underweight boat, it was either dealt with there or ignored. As no one was getting paid for their results at the local level, we got over it and did what we could to get more sailors on the water.
 

Eric_R

D10 Secretary
Re: rule change, builder

Growing up sailing Lightnings for about 20 years ( another ILCA), I don't see why having multiple boat builders and multiple sailmakers would be such a disaster. That is how that class has operated since time began and I'm pretty sure its still a strong class.

They have class measurers at major events.

IF someone at the club level had an underweight boat, it was either dealt with there or ignored. As no one was getting paid for their results at the local level, we got over it and did what we could to get more sailors on the water.
Yes and remember there are far fewer Lightnings out there than Lasers. You go to a major regatta with maybe 75-100 for NAs. Go to a major Laser regatta and there are 150+ boats. You think people want to come early for measurement especially with everything you want to check? Nope.
 

Cefalu

New Member
Re: rule change, builder

Many people believe that true one design status can only be preserved with the current status quo system. This philosophy is fear based rather than reality. The International Optimist Dinghy Association operates under very strict one design rules. Optis are every bit as strict a one design class as the laser class, yet there are literally hundreds of suppliers vying in competition to supply hulls, spars, blades, sails rigging etc. It's true competition not a monopoly.

Here is how it works, and it is really quite simple. IODA has class measurer's who approve the hull molds every builder uses. Every hull mold has a discreet numerical ID that is used to track boats later to verify conformity and grant a measurement certificate. ISAF issues a measurement plaque, the same as Laser currently does. The class has very strict hull construction specification that must be followed by every builder. Hulls are measured once for weight, and are then stickered. Hulls come from approved molds and have an ISAF plaque to certify it so nothing else needs to be measured. I am not aware of any problems in the 10 years I have been involved in the class.

The rest of the stuff? sails, blades and spars are all measured excatly one time only at a major class event and stickered. Once stickered you don't need to be measured EVER again unless you buy new blades, spars or a sail that were not previously stickered. Under our current system there is no way to verify if a competitors boat components are genuine or not because it is never measured or stickered. We "assume" the laser class blades, sails and spars are unadulterated and genuine.

It resulted in lower costs for boats and equipment. The Opti class is exploding in size so it works. Personally, I would rather pay a bit more for a professional class measurer which would allow multiple builders, than a class controlled by builders who dictate to the members.

Case in point. Our centerboards and rudders are pure garbage. They are made from what looks like bondo with a wire core. WTF is that? I don't know any other boats built that way. Heavy, weak and prone to chips and breakage. But we pay the same as if they had been made with epoxy. Our upper sections are crap and here in SF they are a constant source of failure, taking with it the sail as collaterol damage. And the sails, no question they are overpriced for what you get. But the builders work from a place of fear with laser class members and argue that if they can't have this bit of gravy on replacement parts they can't make it on new boats alone and they might go out of business. They need this subsidy. That's BS. Bad business model.

I am not under the mistaken belief that the builders who monoplize laser boat construction are getting rich. But I do believe that we can all have better quality equipment forthe same price. You don't have to look any further than the sucess of IOD 95 in the Opti class to prove it.
 

49208

Tentmaker
Re: rule change, builder

It resulted in lower costs for boats and equipment. The Opti class is exploding in size so it works. Personally, I would rather pay a bit more for a professional class measurer which would allow multiple builders, than a class controlled by builders who dictate to the members..
It's not April Fools Day already is it ? Opti race sails cost just about the same as Laser race sails..Spars and blades too...


All up race ready Opti is $4K

Thanks, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater
 

Eric_R

D10 Secretary
Re: rule change, builder

Many people believe that true one design status can only be preserved with the current status quo system. This philosophy is fear based rather than reality. The International Optimist Dinghy Association operates under very strict one design rules. Optis are every bit as strict a one design class as the laser class, yet there are literally hundreds of suppliers vying in competition to supply hulls, spars, blades, sails rigging etc. It's true competition not a monopoly.

Here is how it works, and it is really quite simple. IODA has class measurer's who approve the hull molds every builder uses. Every hull mold has a discreet numerical ID that is used to track boats later to verify conformity and grant a measurement certificate. ISAF issues a measurement plaque, the same as Laser currently does. The class has very strict hull construction specification that must be followed by every builder. Hulls are measured once for weight, and are then stickered. Hulls come from approved molds and have an ISAF plaque to certify it so nothing else needs to be measured. I am not aware of any problems in the 10 years I have been involved in the class.

The rest of the stuff? sails, blades and spars are all measured excatly one time only at a major class event and stickered. Once stickered you don't need to be measured EVER again unless you buy new blades, spars or a sail that were not previously stickered. Under our current system there is no way to verify if a competitors boat components are genuine or not because it is never measured or stickered. We "assume" the laser class blades, sails and spars are unadulterated and genuine.

It resulted in lower costs for boats and equipment. The Opti class is exploding in size so it works. Personally, I would rather pay a bit more for a professional class measurer which would allow multiple builders, than a class controlled by builders who dictate to the members.

Case in point. Our centerboards and rudders are pure garbage. They are made from what looks like bondo with a wire core. WTF is that? I don't know any other boats built that way. Heavy, weak and prone to chips and breakage. But we pay the same as if they had been made with epoxy. Our upper sections are crap and here in SF they are a constant source of failure, taking with it the sail as collaterol damage. And the sails, no question they are overpriced for what you get. But the builders work from a place of fear with laser class members and argue that if they can't have this bit of gravy on replacement parts they can't make it on new boats alone and they might go out of business. They need this subsidy. That's BS. Bad business model.

I am not under the mistaken belief that the builders who monoplize laser boat construction are getting rich. But I do believe that we can all have better quality equipment forthe same price. You don't have to look any further than the sucess of IOD 95 in the Opti class to prove it.
Dang didn't type fast enough :p

Id like to point out that Opti racing sails are only 100 or so less than Laser sails. A fully tripped out Opti is almost 4k. Opti sails have different cuts and all cost different amounts of money. I fail to see how opening up the market makes Optis cheaper. It's an arms race for the top opti kids to have the best equipment and the parents pay for it blindly.

Most Laser class parts like spars and blades have an official class sticker on them. Sails have buttons. They only come from the builder, which is why you don't see them on replica parts.

Sadly the Laser class doesn't keep ownership records, which IMO they probably should be doing.
 

Cefalu

New Member
Re: rule change, builder

Comparing the cost of laser equipment to opti equipment is an apples to oranges comparison. The quality of opti gear is higher than laser gear. You cannot compare them. If you want the future market cost of a laser sail look no further than what Intensity charges. Less than half. It's a lot cheaper than our class approved sail. Opti sails are way better cloth and can last seasons of heavy use. Now which one is cheaper? My son had a North radial sail for his opti that he used heavily for 3 years and he still won races with it. Try that with a laser class sail. Spars? I have never seen a broken opti spar, EVER. It's not a matter of if you break a laser top section but when (here in SF). And those laser blades...what were they thinking?

There is a hidden cost in laser class equipment, you have to replace it more frequently because it is inferior quality.
 

Eric_R

D10 Secretary
Re: rule change, builder

Comparing the cost of laser equipment to opti equipment is an apples to oranges comparison. The quality of opti gear is higher than laser gear. You cannot compare them. If you want the future market cost of a laser sail look no further than what Intensity charges. Less than half. It's a lot cheaper than our class approved sail. Opti sails are way better cloth and can last seasons of heavy use. Now which one is cheaper? My son had a North radial sail for his opti that he used heavily for 3 years and he still won races with it. Try that with a laser class sail. Spars? I have never seen a broken opti spar, EVER. It's not a matter of if you break a laser top section but when (here in SF). And those laser blades...what were they thinking?

There is a hidden cost in laser class equipment, you have to replace it more frequently because it is inferior quality.
Intensity charges less than half for their opti sails compared to the big names also.

Opti spars don't bend like Laser spars so you really can't compare, plus you can't crank on the vang like a Laser.

You can give a great sailor a very used Laser sail and they can still win.
 

SFBayLaser

Member
Re: rule change, builder

Comparing the cost of laser equipment to opti equipment is an apples to oranges comparison. The quality of opti gear is higher than laser gear. You cannot compare them. If you want the future market cost of a laser sail look no further than what Intensity charges. Less than half. It's a lot cheaper than our class approved sail. Opti sails are way better cloth and can last seasons of heavy use. Now which one is cheaper? My son had a North radial sail for his opti that he used heavily for 3 years and he still won races with it. Try that with a laser class sail. Spars? I have never seen a broken opti spar, EVER. It's not a matter of if you break a laser top section but when (here in SF). And those laser blades...what were they thinking?

There is a hidden cost in laser class equipment, you have to replace it more frequently because it is inferior quality.
One way to help prevent top section breakage in San Francisco is to not sail in Richmond... if you sail on the City Front then you don't stick the mast in the mud when you capsize!

Sorry Doug, that was too hard to resist!

We can all argue well into next year about the quality of the boats. I certainly have my opinions, based on nearly two decades of hard sailing on the City Front while tipping the scales well over the heavy end of the competitive weight range.

But that is not the point of this thread. The rule change in question presents a modification to the Laser Class Rules that is possible to do with membership approval. Some of the other suggestions, e.g. opening to any builder and having measurement at regattas, are not possible within the context of Laser sailing as we know it. Given the legal situation with design rights, trademark rights, etc., what is proposed is at the limit of what can be done - at least this is what has been presented to me.

One could alter the design of the boat and invent a new name. But it would not be the Olympic boat, therefore it would not have worldwide appeal, it would not be recognized in the existing fleets and, ultimately, it would be doomed to fail like so many other singlehanders before it. Look at the "real" world, branding is VERY important!
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Re: rule change, builder

As we know, the major advantage to the current system is that when the boat leaves the factory we KNOW its a Laser - no need to bring in a measurer to verify each hull/spars/sail. Imagine having to do that for some 3000 boats/year! And its the job of the ILCA Technical Officer to periodically inspect each factory to insure compliance with the LCM (in fact, there is an inspection of a factory scheduled for next week).
I'll stir the pot on this issue ;)

Technically no laser leaves the factory measuring as it doesn't have any sail numbers on. Arguably no laser has yet competed in the Olympics for the same reason. Ultimately it's up to each competitor to confirm that their boats measure fully. But yes, I think the current system of the technical officer inspecting the factories is an efficient system, particularly when combined with dilegent class measurers inspecting and measuring the boats at regattas.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Re: rule change, builder

We are bing asked to vote while uninformed by people who know we are uninformed.
 

Deimos

Member
Re: rule change, builder

Presumably, rather than an ILCA rule change (taking 6 months), LPE could sort out the issues between themselves and Global Sailing. We are talking business here so it is all about money. Are LPE just doing nothing (other than scare everybody) to avoid having to resolve the issues ?

Again, without the ILCA giving more complete information nobody can know.

At this point there does appear an additional risk in that the ILCA rule change summary does give the impression that the Association has a strong opinion. Plus, there are signs in their published info of "scaring people" (We may therefore end up with three different classes and may lose the Olympic status. The “one design / out of the box principle” would also be threatened.). So what are the chanced of "un-biased" information ?

Then if LPE are threatening the class, why are the class paying for all sorts of legal advice to help them out ? Does LPE threatening the class show a business whose interest is in developing the class or are their "true colours" emerging (money and profit).

Why should the class membership be paying to resolve a business dispute between two companies ? Are LPE going to stop making Lasers (risks of starting a new class, marketing costs, etc.). Business disputes happen all the time and end up being resolved. Buy an iPhone and 6 months later do Apple come back and ask you to pay for their legal battle with Nokia over use of some patented technology ?

Different people purchase Lasers for different reasons, but for many the strength of the 2nd hand market and that the boats retain their value very well is a major factor. So how many will buy a "not-a-Laser" when there is no fleet, no regattas, totally uncertain 2nd hand value, etc. The class has strengths and I suspect the players are ignoring those in what is a traditional game of bluff played in business disputes.

Ian
 

tim.platt

New Member
Re: rule change, builder

I'm no legal beaver, so I might be about to ask some very stupid questions.

Why was:

"has a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. to build the Laser"

ever in the ILCA rules, especially as the class was never party to these agreements.

Presumably the class has just realised that we no longer need thisin the rules because what ever rights he had have now expired? Assuming that was why this was in the rules in the first place.

I cannot see how removing this part of the rule should cause any problem - why do we (the ILCA) need to have anything to do with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc anyway (I dont mean that in a nasty way, but Bruce, having sold his business obviously isnt tied to the class in the way he might have been in the past)?

And/or, if it is that easy, why wasnt this done before - which will probably answer my previous question?
 

49208

Tentmaker
Re: rule change, builder

How does the class ensure that one or the other builder (or both) won't resort to a form of ballet stuffing.. ie, buy a bunch of memberships to vote with, and with so much on the line, how do we ensure that the count is done fairly and impartially ?

One for you, two for me, one for you, wait, that's a hanging chad.....
 

49208

Tentmaker
Re: rule change, builder

From an article on Sail-World.com
http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?Nid=81848&refre=y&ntid=0&rid=1


>>> Overnight Sail-World.com has spoken at length to representatives from Global Sailing and to Jeff Martin from the ILCA and now Bruce Kirby who is very much against the proposed change and will report on those conversations in the next 24 hours.

Certainly the interviews we have conducted so far show there is much more to this issue than first meets the eye and the growing body of calls to wait for more information before voting do seem justified.

And it seems to be getting worse. In the last few hours, we've been advised that numbers of the Laser sailors who followed the ILCA urging and voted early, have now been asking Class representatives, with the benefit of more knowledge asked how can they change their vote. <<<
 

torrid

Just sailing
Re: rule change, builder

Overnight Sail-World.com has spoken at length to representatives from Global Sailing and to Jeff Martin from the ILCA and now Bruce Kirby who is very much against the proposed change and will report on those conversations in the next 24 hours.
I wonder if Bruce Kirby ever considered turning over the legal rights to the Laser design to the ILCA rather than selling them to one of the builders. Certainly there is money invoved, but it would have preserved his legacy and the phenomenon of Laser racing that he created.
 

tim.platt

New Member
Re: rule change, builder

I wonder if Bruce Kirby ever considered turning over the legal rights to the Laser design to the ILCA rather than selling them to one of the builders. Certainly there is money invoved, but it would have preserved his legacy and the phenomenon of Laser racing that he created.
I'm not expert, but I totally agree. I asked the same question on another forum.

If I understand the circumstances correctly, and I might have got this wrong, but it does seem a bit rich if Mr Kirby isnt happy with what's going having sold his business/rights to a 3rd party.

If his control/position was material to the situation, and he had the class at heart, why didn't offer these to 'us'. Maybe he did and we just never got to hear about it.

It seems to me that the class will always be vunerable while any of the rights/trade marks are held by some other commerical organisation. Their agenda(s) will always be different to ours (as owners / users).
 

SFBayLaser

Member
Re: rule change, builder

On the timing issue, the length of time for the balloting is determined by the ILCA constitution and is set to 6 months. Technically it also says "postal ballot" but in the modern era this includes electronic balloting (after all, we all have "mailboxes" on our computers!).

The prominent placement on the ILCA website is intended to attract attention. I think that box can be ticked off.

The actual page on the ILCA website does say "Vote Now!" in the title and in capital letters does say "PLEASE DO NOT DELAY YOUR VOTE". The reason for this is experience - ILCA typically sees a small fraction of people actually voting on rule changes, and that even only a fraction of people who "hit" the page. Apparently people often go to the voting pages, don't vote while there thinking about it, then forget to come back later to vote. This means small special interest blocks can have a large influence on the outcome of a vote.

Summary: there is nothing sinister about this, rather an attempt to get as much attention from class members as possible, and to get as many people to vote as possible. Modifying the Fundamental Rule is a MAJOR change, it needs to have as many Laser Class members as possible voting!

People who are not comfortable with voting now because they think they need more information should rightly delay their vote. However, its very important that they do, ultimately, vote, so PLEASE don't forget as the passion of the topic starts to die down!

Note that once the voting is over, all District Associations will be required to verify that those who have cast ballots are actually members. That means that in North America neither Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse will have their votes count unless they join the Laser Class. (And what I really mean is that is the primary protection against ballot stuffing - a real name whose membership can be verified has to be attached to each ballot).

Obviously, if someone wants to spend lots of money on memberships they can "buy" votes. Our protection against that is for as many of the 15,000+ plus existing members worldwide to vote as absolutely possible.

There is also another page which contains the "other" proposed rule changes for 2011, you get to it once you have voted on the Fundamental Rule. Personally, I don't quite follow this organization... In any case, those rule changes should be discussed in a separate thread, which I will start and call "2011 Rule Changes - NOT Fundamental Rule". Perhaps Merrily or Bradley can change the title of this thread to "2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule"?
 

sailchris

Member
Re: rule change, builder

In the interest of promoting transparency by giving everyone all the available information, here is some information on some of the intellectual property related to the Laser.

The following copyrights are recorded at the US Copyright Office:

A copyright on a visual work of the Laser, titled "Laser / designed by Bruce Kirby" apparently owned by Bruce Kirby himself.

A copyright on the Laser Construction Manual apparently owned by Bruce Kirby Inc.

A copyright on a drawing of a Laser boat apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

A copyright on some sort of design for the Laser apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

Bruce Kirby also seems to have had US design patents on the design of the model radio controlled Laser (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=x_4oAAAAEBAJ&dq=D373156) and a swinging centerboard boat (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=jNY8AAAAEBAJ&dq=D304922).

The Laser trademark in the US (Reg. No.: 1038170) was originally registered by PERFORMANCE SAILCRAFT INC. CORPORATION CANADA 91 HYMUS BLVD. POINTE CLAIRE, QUEBEC CANADA but is apparently now owned by a holding company in Jersey KARAYA (JERSEY) LIMITED CORPORATION JERSEY 14 CONWAY STREET ST HELIER JERSEY.

There don't seem to have been any US design patents or Canadian industrial designs on the Laser itself. Also, it seems that the Laser is not registered under the relatively new Vessel Hull Design Protection Act: http://www.copyright.gov/vessels/list/index.html

So, there seem to be some registered copyrights in the US on the design of the Laser and, interestingly, Bruce Kirby Inc. seems to own the US copyright on the Laser Construction Manual. Of course, there could be other unregistered copyrights and trademarks, as well as unrecorded agreements that govern the intellectual property. There could also be IP rights registered in countries outside the US as well as common law rights to IP.
 

Fernwood

New Member
Re: rule change, builder

I am sure there is lots we do not know here, but I certainly would not hold Bruce Kirby at fault.

Bruce is a great guy and, unfortunately, he is not getting any younger. I would think that this was a business decision that was driven by the need to do some estate planning.
 

torrid

Just sailing
Re: rule change, builder

In the interest of promoting transparency by giving everyone all the available information, here is some information on some of the intellectual property related to the Laser.

The following copyrights are recorded at the US Copyright Office:

A copyright on a visual work of the Laser, titled "Laser / designed by Bruce Kirby" apparently owned by Bruce Kirby himself.

A copyright on the Laser Construction Manual apparently owned by Bruce Kirby Inc.

A copyright on a drawing of a Laser boat apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

A copyright on some sort of design for the Laser apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

Bruce Kirby also seems to have had US design patents on the design of the model radio controlled Laser (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=x_4oAAAAEBAJ&dq=D373156) and a swinging centerboard boat (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=jNY8AAAAEBAJ&dq=D304922).

The Laser trademark in the US (Reg. No.: 1038170) was originally registered by PERFORMANCE SAILCRAFT INC. CORPORATION CANADA 91 HYMUS BLVD. POINTE CLAIRE, QUEBEC CANADA but is apparently now owned by a holding company in Jersey KARAYA (JERSEY) LIMITED CORPORATION JERSEY 14 CONWAY STREET ST HELIER JERSEY.

There don't seem to have been any US design patents or Canadian industrial designs on the Laser itself. Also, it seems that the Laser is not registered under the relatively new Vessel Hull Design Protection Act: http://www.copyright.gov/vessels/list/index.html

So, there seem to be some registered copyrights in the US on the design of the Laser and, interestingly, Bruce Kirby Inc. seems to own the US copyright on the Laser Construction Manual. Of course, there could be other unregistered copyrights and trademarks, as well as unrecorded agreements that govern the intellectual property. There could also be IP rights registered in countries outside the US as well as common law rights to IP.
I know patents expire, but I'm not sure about copyrights and trademarks. As long as they are actively protected, I think they can go on indefinitely.

I am sure there is lots we do not know here, but I certainly would not hold Bruce Kirby at fault.

Bruce is a great guy and, unfortunately, he is not getting any younger. I would think that this was a business decision that was driven by the need to do some estate planning.
Maybe when looking between the two builders and ILCA, Bruce Kirby decided the Australian builder was the best of the three to protect sailor's interests.
 

SFBayLaser

Member
Re: rule change, builder

Maybe when looking between the two builders and ILCA, Bruce Kirby decided the Australian builder was the best of the three to protect sailor's interests.
My guess is that the reason Bruce Kirby did not offer to the Laser Class is because he knew ILCA could not pay what he could get on the open market.

If the choice was based on who could best protect the sailor's interest then why didn't he pick the third Laser builder, Takao Otani, the owner of PS Japan? I know this will break Gouvernail's heart, but there is no person on this planet who cares more deeply for Laser sailing and Laser sailors than Takao.

In any case, I agree with the comment that Bruce Kirby has always acted in the best interest of Laser sailing, deserves to have a well earned retirement and is completely blameless in whatever disputes are going on.
 

SFBayLaser

Member
Re: rule change, builder

Further reference material: The list of the members of the World Council, Advisory Council and contacts for each of the regions is listed on the ILCA website. There is contact information listed there for each.
 

sailchris

Member
Re: rule change, builder

I know patents expire, but I'm not sure about copyrights and trademarks. As long as they are actively protected, I think they can go on indefinitely.
Yes, patents expire. US design patents expire 14 years from their issue date, so both of the Kirby patents listed above are expired (although neither relates to the Laser itself).

Copyrights have a defined term. The exact term can be complicated to calculate, but it is probably at least 70 years after Kirby's death.

Trademarks do not expire and remain enforceable so long as they are maintained and don't become generic, e.g., The Bass Red Triangle in comparison to Aspirin, Escalator, Cellophane, etc.
 

Capt Tony

New Member
On the surface following the class letter it may seem simple, but I wonder if it is REALLY a no brainer.
If we vote is YES what stops the legal Patent Holder from suing the builder making boats without an agreement? Seems to me a continuted leagal dispute following a vote would hold the whole issue up while we pay fees of lawyers through dues and ever increasing costs racing equipment? Bought a new sail lately?

3 FACTS I believe true: ILCA Class Rules, requires 3 core criteria builders must meet to make class-legal vessels:
1. manufacture the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual (owned by the class)
2. have the Laser trademark rights, (evidently these have been sold to builders over time by someone, Kirby?)
3. Have a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. (Bruce sold to Global Sailing so as a result they are Bruce Kirby)

Questions, can anyone shed light.
1. If GS owns the Kirby Patent (expired or not) can they issue building agreements?
2. If so why not to LPE? Assume i can figue, but maybe someone knows
3. More importantly why does LPE, a company making boats now NOT have an agreement? No agreement means the MANY who have bought and sail LPE boats are they not legal.
4. The Class owns the construction manual, why has the class sided with LPE, or at least against GS, especially since LPE are building without one of the 3 important criteria above?
5. Is it not fair for the owner of the patent rights to issue agreements?
6. as Diamon says in a post, If he is correct and LPE came from LP who merged w Vanguard, and if Vanguard held a buiders agreement why does it not carry over?
Lastly this is likely all about GS gaining greater market access: "Proper Course" reported an ad in SA by Global Sailing "looking for enthusiastic and well established marine dealers to become national or multi national distributors in the European region for the Bruce Kirby designed Olympic Sailing Dinghy."
Love to get a deeper understanding before people are called to a vote following a ‘fear’ letter.
 

Capt Tony

New Member
On the surface following the class letter it may seem simple, but I wonder if it is REALLY a no brainer.
If we vote is YES what stops the legal Patent Holder from suing the builder making boats without an agreement? Seems to me a continued legal dispute following a vote would hold the whole issue up while we pay fees of lawyers through dues and ever increasing costs racing equipment? Bought a new sail lately?

3 FACTS I believe true: ILCA Class Rules, requires 3 core criteria builders must meet to make class-legal vessels:
1. manufacture the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual (owned by the class)
2. have the Laser trademark rights, (evidently these have been sold to builders over time by someone, Kirby?)
3. Have a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. (Bruce sold to Global Sailing so as a result they are Bruce Kirby)

Questions, can anyone shed light.
1. If GS owns the Kirby Patent (expired or not) can they issue building agreements?
2. If so why not to LPE? Assume i can figure, but maybe someone knows
3. More importantly why does LPE, a company making boats now NOT have an agreement? No agreement means the MANY who have bought and sail LPE boats are not legal.
4. The Class owns the construction manual, why has the class sided with LPE, or at least against GS, especially since LPE are building without one of the 3 important criteria above?
5. Is it not fair for the owner of the patent rights to issue agreements?
6. As Diamon says in a post, If he is correct and LPE came from LP who merged w Vanguard, and if Vanguard held a builders agreement why does it not carry over?
Lastly this is likely all about GS gaining greater market access and pushing out LPE an any other potential builder: "Proper Course" reported an ad in SA by Global Sailing "looking for enthusiastic and well established marine dealers to become national or multi national distributors in the European region for the Bruce Kirby designed Olympic Sailing Dinghy."
Love to get a deeper understanding before people are called to a vote following a ‘fear’ letter.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
After a night of thinking about this and re-reading what I understand I think some or all of the following may be true.
If I knew for certain I would write the following>>>

The Designer rights now belong to something called Global.
The logo and name rights belong to all sorts of folks on a regional basis.
The current ILCA rules state, "lasers aren't Lasers unless they are built by folks who pay ALL the fees to ALL the owners of ALL the various intellectual property."

One of the major builders of lasers would like to blow off the required intellectual property payments to the design rights holder.
In other words, the major builder, who owns the rights to use the name Laser but not the rights to build the design wishes to build knock off boats and call them Lasers.
That builder is threatening to quit building things called Lasers if the class refuses to allow use of boats for competition when the design fees for those boats have not been paid.

++++
What do I think??
The major builder wants to have it both ways. The builder wants to control the use of the Laser logo and name with respect to the boat but they do not wish to pay for the rights to produce the actual product.
They seem to like intellectual property rights whjen those rights are theirs, but they want to ignore the intellectual laws when proper business behavior costs money.
My interpretation of the question upon which we are being asked to vote tells me we are being asked to work in collusion with intellectual property thieves..
If I am correct in my assesment of the situation, I think the correct response it "Stuff it!!!"
If the name and logo copyrights holder persists in its refusal to properly pay for design rights, we should work together with the design rights holder and the legal system to shut them down.
If we find it necessary to change the name of the toy, so be it.

+++++++
Remember, I really do not have sufficient information to form an opinion. The above is what I would write if what I currently understand to be the case actually is the case.
In the meantime...Come sail in the big regatta!!!
 

Tillerman

Member
On the surface following the class letter it may seem simple, but I wonder if it is REALLY a no brainer.
If we vote is YES what stops the legal Patent Holder from suing the builder making boats without an agreement? Seems to me a continuted leagal dispute following a vote would hold the whole issue up while we pay fees of lawyers through dues and ever increasing costs racing equipment? Bought a new sail lately?

3 FACTS I believe true: ILCA Class Rules, requires 3 core criteria builders must meet to make class-legal vessels:
1. manufacture the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual (owned by the class)
2. have the Laser trademark rights, (evidently these have been sold to builders over time by someone, Kirby?)
3. Have a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. (Bruce sold to Global Sailing so as a result they are Bruce Kirby)

Questions, can anyone shed light.
1. If GS owns the Kirby Patent (expired or not) can they issue building agreements?
2. If so why not to LPE? Assume i can figue, but maybe someone knows
3. More importantly why does LPE, a company making boats now NOT have an agreement? No agreement means the MANY who have bought and sail LPE boats are they not legal.
4. The Class owns the construction manual, why has the class sided with LPE, or at least against GS, especially since LPE are building without one of the 3 important criteria above?
5. Is it not fair for the owner of the patent rights to issue agreements?
6. as Diamon says in a post, If he is correct and LPE came from LP who merged w Vanguard, and if Vanguard held a buiders agreement why does it not carry over?
Lastly this is likely all about GS gaining greater market access: "Proper Course" reported an ad in SA by Global Sailing "looking for enthusiastic and well established marine dealers to become national or multi national distributors in the European region for the Bruce Kirby designed Olympic Sailing Dinghy."
Love to get a deeper understanding before people are called to a vote following a ‘fear’ letter.
Great questions Tony. But I think there are some inaccuracies in your post. They don't fundamentally change the issues but I would like to try and clear them up, and ask a few questions of my own...

1. Patents. I don't think patents are involved. If there ever were any patents on the Laser they have expired by now as both sailchris and the original statement from the International Class have said.

2. But it seems that Bruce Kirby Inc. owns some design rights to the boat. Sailchris listed several copyrights assigned to or owned by Bruce Kirby Inc. Do these copyrights give Bruce Kirby Inc. the rights to royalties from every Laser sold? Do they give Bruce Kirby Inc. the right to decide who can build boats to those designs? Are these the rights that are at the heart of this dispute? And do these rights just become irrelevant because ILCA changes a class rule, or will the owner of these rights seek to enforce them using every means at their disposal?

3. Laser Construction Manual. Tracy says the class owns the construction manual (post #38 in this thread.) Sailchris says that the records at the US copyright office show that copyright in the Laser Construction Manual is owned by Bruce Kirby Inc. Are these two statements in conflict? And, in any case, what does it really mean to "own" the construction manual or the copyright to it? Does that give you the right to decide who can build boats using the designs and processes in the construction manual?

4. Minor point. The ad from Global Sailing looking for distributors in Europe was on the Scuttlebutt Europe newsletter. (It might have been on SA as well for all I know but that's not what I reported on my blog.)

As a wise man once said, "Remember, I really do not have sufficient information to form an opinion. The above is what I would write if what I currently understand to be the case actually is the case."
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Re: rule change, builder

snip...
If the choice was based on who could best protect the sailor's interest then why didn't he pick the third Laser builder, Takao Otani, the owner of PS Japan? I know this will break Gouvernail's heart, but there is no person on this planet who cares more deeply for Laser sailing and Laser sailors than Takao.

snip

acutually...Tracy is way ahead of me too. he spends way more time and personal wealth working for the game than I either wish to or could.

but while this s&#+fight continues...

How about if lots and lots of you load up your boats and head on down to Austin for the Easter regatta??!!!
 

torrid

Just sailing
Quite frankly, it seems quite simple from an IP point of view.

Prior to this mess, it was universally recognized that Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. owned the rights to the Laser design. This was recognized by all builders and the international class, and the required licensing fees and royalties were paid.

So now that the IP rights have been sold, suddenly they hold no meaning? I don't think so.
 

Deimos

Member
One of the major builders of lasers would like to blow off the required intellectual property payments to the design rights holder.
In other words, the major builder, who owns the rights to use the name Laser but not the rights to build the design wishes to build knock off boats and call them Lasers.
That builder is threatening to quit building things called Lasers if the class refuses to allow use of boats for competition when the design fees for those boats have not been paid.
...
The major builder wants to have it both ways. The builder wants to control the use of the Laser logo and name with respect to the boat but they do not wish to pay for the rights to produce the actual product.
They seem to like intellectual property rights whjen those rights are theirs, but they want to ignore the intellectual laws when proper business behavior costs money.
My interpretation of the question upon which we are being asked to vote tells me we are being asked to work in collusion with intellectual property thieves..
You may be right but there may be other considerations - but again we would need more information about the dispute.

Does a "design rights holder" agreement last forever (i.e. once you get it you never need to renew it) or is it a short term thing requiring regular payments. If the latter, it might be that Global is asking totally ludicrous amounts of money to re-issue the agreement (e.g. more that the cost of a boat per boat) - with the intent to stop LPE building so they can enter the region. It may be that it is just a business squabble and the intervention of ILCA has just made it unnecessary for LPE and Global to sort things out. Might be that LPE no longer wants to pay for the IP and keep more profit for itself. Without details how can we know and how can we thus make a sensible decision.

Ian
 

Capt Tony

New Member
Thank you Grouvernail and Tillerman, you have shed light! My first reaction after reading the letter to the class yesterday was why side with a builder who does not have, or is not willing to pay in the future, for rights. What makes the class request a YES vote? Why side with the builder who does not have all the building criteria over GS who does? Seems the Desgn rights holder has a point and untill or unless we get more clear information, i'd lean NO.
 

Deimos

Member
Quite frankly, it seems quite simple from an IP point of view.

Prior to this mess, it was universally recognized that Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. owned the rights to the Laser design. This was recognized by all builders and the international class, and the required licensing fees and royalties were paid.

So now that the IP rights have been sold, suddenly they hold no meaning? I don't think so.
With the limited information published I would agree. And thus, were this rule change to go through, does anybody thing that Global will just shrug their shoulders and walk quietly away (now making no money from something they paid Bruce Kirby for) ? I suspect that if the rule change were to go through it would be the start of a big legal fight - except now the ILCA would be tangled-up in it all and thus need expensive lawyers and even then become liable for any awarded compensation/costs to Global (I don't know but may be the case, I'm not a lawyer).

Also under the ILCA, who is liable for the Associations debts ? - the membership ? So were a court to find against ILCA and award damages and costs, who would pay (i.e. would the membership be legally liable or would the Association just go bust; in which case what happens to the Construction Manual).

Seems to me that it would be wise for the ILCA to cancel the vote, publish more complete information and background papers, then re-initiate the vote in order to allow people who voted taking the info at face value to re-consider in the light of more complete information.

I'm neither in favour or against (yet) - not enough information published to form an opinion. In fact, given that the Association appears to have a preference already, I would suggest they agree to publish (or provide a link) to something where Global and LPE can state their side of the story.

Ian
 

Der_Dude

Member
Pretty much everything here is speculation. IP rights can be traded and traded under conditions so knowing who holds them or held them originally tells us nothing. As pointed out, they need not be registered. They could be rights to the design of the little eye where you tie the painter to (if you use one) for all we know.

Maybe this should be the time to stand up as a class and vote for conserving our sport and fending off our own exploitation by ILCA sanctioned builders? If we found out just what these design rights are, maybe there could be such a thing as a royalty free OD boat? Or we could make an offer as a class and buy the right ourselves. How powerful is the ILCA?

I believe the folkboat class bought the design rights to their boat long ago and they seem be very happy with it.
 
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