2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

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?
 
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?
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.
 
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...........
 

Merrily

Administrator
I did not know there was a lawsuit either in progress or planned, can you give more details? Also, I have not been told that the legal bill was in the 6 figure range. Admittedly, the last accounting I saw was at the last World Council meeting this past February where it was still in the range of 4 figures, though by now I'm sure its passed into the 5 figure range. From my point of view, given that ILCA's annual budget on the order of $500,000, it would seem to be in line given the seriousness of the situation (and, as well, one of the reasons to have the surplus that ILCA has maintained over the years).
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?
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
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.
 

Eric_R

D10 Secretary
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.
Go back to this post: http://www.laserforum.org/showpost.php?p=154129&postcount=19
 
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?
 
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.

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...
 
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.
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?
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
 
By accounts, Global makes better boats. Why would you choose, or ask us to choose, illegal, badly built boats?
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.
 
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.

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.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
A very quick pre-work response

CLASS RULES, PART ONE
FUNDAMENTAL RULE

Current Rule

The Laser shall be raced in accordance with these rules, with only the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sail and battens manufactured by a licensed builder in accordance with the Laser design specification (known as the Construction Manual) which is registered with ISAF.
Proposed new rule with changes

The Laser shall be raced in accordance with these Rules, with only the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sail and battens manufactured by a licensed an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and International Laser Class Association (ILCA) approved builder in accordance with strict adherence to the Laser design specification (known as the Construction Manual) which is registered with ISAF.
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.
Proposed new rule with changes

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, is manufacturing the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual, and has been approved as a Laser Builder by each of the International Sailing Federation and the International Laser Class Association.
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.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
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.
 

jeffers

Active Member
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).....
 
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.
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.
 
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?
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.


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?
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
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
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.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
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).
Your argument here is based upon UK law and my not be applicable to international law or the laws where this agreement are applicable.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
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??

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??
 
What SFBayLaser said makes a lot of sense to me. The problem is: his reasons are based on conjecture it seems. It's really annoying to be asked to vote when it's apparent that our information is at best incomplete and one sided.

However: to those of you thinking the rule change could devalue Global Sailing's rights to the boat. Legally that should only be possbile if GS and LPE agreed on a royalty contract that refers to the ILCA rules. Because in most industrialized countries contracts between two parties cannot be legally binding for third parties, i.e. whatever we GS and LPW agreed upon at some point should not limit our right to define our class rules and whateber we as class members agree upon for our class rules should not alter their contract.

The rule change might alter the economical background for the GS-LPE contract or their contractual dispute. So do your everyday decisions as a consumer, whether or not to buy a boat, parts, whatever. That is the risk any entrepreneur takes in a free market economy. Why should we let that influence our decision about what is best for our interests?
 

jeffers

Active Member
Your argument here is based upon UK law and my not be applicable to international law or the laws where this agreement are applicable.
LPE were a UK based company last time I looked therefore their contracts will probably need to satisfy UK contract laws (as well as contract law for where Bruce Kirby Inc were based and now contracts law for Australia).... It is a minefield and may be the reason behind why LPE stopped paying.

As has already been said a lot of this on the agreements is pure speculation as none of us know what is in them! It is just another angle that people may not have considered.

From what I have heard (from the UK side at least) LPE seem to be getting their act together and the supply of new parts and new boats is now getting back to what it should be. Whether this ia good sign in the wider scheme of things is another matter....
 
"IP rights versus trademarks"

This is why I am so confused about this conversation - people keep on throwing around the term "IP rights" without clearly defining their terms. Trademarks, industrial design rights, patents and copyright are all examples of IP rights, but IP rights on its own is not something meaningful, but rather a description of a class of rights that are contained in legislation, and in common law jurisdictions, in judge made law.

What I am struggling with is, what is the right that Bruce Kirby Inc. had to the design of the Laser, or the molds, or other associated rights in the actual boat? I haven't seen that articulated.

If the rights are contractual, only companies or people that are party to the contract are bound by those rights. If the contractual rights are somehow attached to the licensing of the trademark, or other actual specific IP rights (again, which have not really been defined except for the trademark) then they might be enforceable as part of the trademark licensing, but otherwise, only bind the parties to the agreements.

The example of the broadcasting rights is very different from the current situation - there are copyright and contractual rights which are clearly different from what is being considered in this case.

I don't mean to be a jerk, but I have not seen anything here that approaches real analysis or understanding of the underlying rights involved. Now, I am not an IP lawyer, but am a lawyer, and know that there must be some actual arguments about specific IP rights that have not been publicly disclosed or described, and that is why it is so difficult to make an informed judgment about what is actually going on here. As many others have said, it is hard to understand without more transparency.

Unfortunately, this is also a good example of the difficulties of splitting up the ownership of rights that are each required to create one product. It works when the incentives are aligned, and everyone is cooperating. But, when that isn't happening, you get a standoff (look at RIM, other patent disputes that end up being holdup problems or can destroy value because of standoffs). As long as Bruce Kirby had those rights and was being cooperative, it worked.

Here's to hoping that this is all resolved productively, and we can keep doing what we love - sailing our boats.
 
I think you are having the same trouble the ILCA now finds itself in. From the reamble to the suggested rule change: "The ILCA is not a party to any of these “Kirby” agreements.".

I seem to remember Tracy saying that the ILCA has no idea what's in these "Kirby" agreements - I assume that's because the ILCA is not one of the entities tied by them.

Would I also be correct in assuming, therefore, that ILCA cannot be referred to in such agreements? And that because the ILCA is not a party to any of these agreements it isn't allowed to see what they contain, unless all the parties that are, allow them to do so?.

I have to say that it doesnt seem right, to me, that our club rules should make a requirement of someone elses commercial agreement, when we have no idea what it requires someone to do, or not do.

As you say, whilst these agreements were owned by Bruce Kirby there wasn't a problem, but now it appears he has sold them to an organisation that has common ownership with one of the builders, this seems to have 'stirred things up' a bit.

My understanding is that the name 'Laser' is a registered trade mark, separate to the design of the boat, which could in theory be applied to any boat/product the trade mark owner chose to do so (in the geographical regions that they own it).

The whole building rights; design rights; trade mark ownership all sounds a bit of a mess. It reminds me of the classic directions joke - "If I was going there, I wouldn't have started from here".

 

torrid

Just sailing
My understanding is that the name 'Laser' is a registered trade mark, separate to the design of the boat, which could in theory be applied to any boat/product the trade mark owner chose to do so (in the geographical regions that they own it).
I think you are correct. In this aspect, the proposed rule change would allow the class association to exclude some random boat from a former manufacturer that has the name "Laser", but isn't up to class specs. It is one thing which is making me lean in favor of voting yes.

The inability of the manufacturers to settle this among themselves is also leaning me to vote yes. Again it would protect the interest of class members, even if it favors one of the manufacturers. All the more reason for them to work out a settlement of some kind.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
but the real truth is...

we are all so sick of the entire mess we will accept whatever happens and we will continue to do whatever it takes to be allowed to race in whatever regattas we believe sufficient numbers of our friends will attend to make the effort of attendance worthwhile.

See you on the water sometime
 
Interesting to read this advocacy piece, but it seems very ill-informed from a legal perspective.

Before opining on precedents and "setting aside commercial rights" it helps to have at least talked to someone with some knowledge about what that actually means.

It seems to me that this author is taken in by what is admittedly an appealing story: Bruce Kirby has certain rights to the design, and he chose to sell those rights to a (family owned) company that he believes will do a good job for the class, and now the class association is trying to take away those rights. All very warm and fuzzy to side with Bruce Kirby and his chosen purchaser.

That story might be based in part on the story so far, but the real story is almost certainly more nuanced than that.

First off, it was a big mistake to separate the design rights from the trademark - that is likely to lead to a disaster in the long run, and most certainly never would have been a decision that would or should have been made by someone that wanted to ensure the best interests of the class in the long term. [as an aside, I know that it happened as part of a receivership, and might not have been fully intentional - I am not concerned about why it was done, but in the end, it was a bad thing to have happened to the class, and almost certainly could be predicted to lead to difficulty down the road.]

The second issue here is the claim that what the class is doing is "setting aside commercial rights". First off, what are those rights? If the rights are derived solely from the reference in the class association rules to a "building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc." and the class has no corresponding agreement with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. that obliges the class to maintain that rule, then there is no legal constraint to setting aside that rule and maintaining the class as is (using the same boat design and trademark that is in use now). I have not heard any reference to any other rights. People have vaguely referred to "IP Rights", but that is a general category of rights, and without a reference to anything more specific contained in an actual legal code - ie, copyright, industrial design rights, patent etc... - there is no actual IP rights to be discussed, except for the trademark to Laser and the Laser symbol, which is owned by the class.

The third issue with the article is that it says near the end, and quoting Kirby, that this would be problematic for designers of classes that have international ambitions. I don't see this. The problem arose in part from splitting the design and trademark rights, and how these rights were dealt with. This is a lesson to designers who want to maintain control of their designs: don't split the rights and try to parcel them out, don't do deals with financially unstable companies unless you can maintain your design and trademark rights after they go under, and don't sell rights that you have only because of a rule in a class association that they have no obligation to maintain. The article might imply that what is happening now might dissuade future designers. It seems to me that Bruce Kirby has done okay by the Laser. It was a booming success, helped launch his career, and he has presumably been making money on it for 40 years, even if that income stream stops now (and maybe he already got the value of the income stream by selling it to the Australian outfit, and it is their problem now). That doesn't seem to me to be a story that will warn others off of making similar efforts.

Finally, whatever Bruce Kirby says, and I appreciate all that he has done for the class, from designing the boat that we all love to sail, to promoting it, and I am sure doing what he believes is in the best interest of the class to keep it stable and growing, this is not about him anymore. Bruce Kirby lost control when he had given up some of his rights to a company that ended up being in receivership. Bruce Kirby traded absolute control of the class for a widely produced, widely sailed class with a strong association. That probably helped him because without those things, it might not have been the runaway success it was, and he might have been less famous and made less money along the way. Part of the cost of that tradeoff was giving up a measure of control.

Now, this is in the hands of the class and the sailors. It is about the long term success of a worldwide, Olympic, widely raced sailboat class. That success requires stability. That decision needs to be made without reference to what is good for Bruce Kirby or his builder of choice, unless those preferences actually help to maintain the class.

The other thing that could happen, though, which might really kill the class, is that the change gets made and then there are protracted lawsuits. That would really be a pity.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Interesting to read this advocacy piece, but it seems very ill-informed from a legal perspective. ( so fill us in: What do you do for a living and to whom might you owe allegiance?)

Before opining on precedents and "setting aside commercial rights" it helps to have at least talked to someone with some knowledge about what that actually means. ( Talking TO somebodty doesn't do squat. With whom have you conversed on this subject? Do you have sufficient knowledge to make comments and why should we believe you?)

It seems to me that this author is taken in by what is admittedly an appealing story: Bruce Kirby has certain rights to the design, and he chose to sell those rights to a (family owned) company that he believes will do a good job for the class, and now the class association is trying to take away those rights. All very warm and fuzzy to side with Bruce Kirby and his chosen purchaser. ( Why do you believe this is warm and fuzzy? Cite your evidence please.)

That story might be based in part on the story so far, but the real story is almost certainly more nuanced than that. ( and you have sufficient understanding to use the word certainly for what reason?)

First off, it was a big mistake to separate the design rights from the trademark - that is likely to lead to a disaster in the long run, and most certainly never would have been a decision that would or should have been made by someone that wanted to ensure the best interests of the class in the long term. [as an aside, I know that it happened as part of a receivership, and might not have been fully intentional - I am not concerned about why it was done, but in the end, it was a bad thing to have happened to the class, and almost certainly could be predicted to lead to difficulty down the road.] ( is there some reason it matters by what name the 14 foot sailboat used to race singlehanded is called? Why does the ILCA not simply change the name and trademark to something else and have races in the boats we the members describe as ILCA racers?)

The second issue here is the claim that what the class is doing is "setting aside commercial rights". First off, what are those rights? If the rights are derived solely from the reference in the class association rules to a "building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc." and the class has no corresponding agreement with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. that obliges the class to maintain that rule, then there is no legal constraint to setting aside that rule and maintaining the class as is (using the same boat design and trademark that is in use now). I have not heard any reference to any other rights. People have vaguely referred to "IP Rights", but that is a general category of rights, and without a reference to anything more specific contained in an actual legal code - ie, copyright, industrial design rights, patent etc... - there is no actual IP rights to be discussed, except for the trademark to Laser and the Laser symbol, which is owned by the class. (So what? Why is this relevent?)

The third issue with the article is that it says near the end, and quoting Kirby, that this would be problematic for designers of classes that have international ambitions. I don't see this. The problem arose in part from splitting the design and trademark rights, and how these rights were dealt with. This is a lesson to designers who want to maintain control of their designs: don't split the rights and try to parcel them out, don't do deals with financially unstable companies unless you can maintain your design and trademark rights after they go under, and don't sell rights that you have only because of a rule in a class association that they have no obligation to maintain. The article might imply that what is happening now might dissuade future designers. It seems to me that Bruce Kirby has done okay by the Laser. It was a booming success, helped launch his career, and he has presumably been making money on it for 40 years, even if that income stream stops now (and maybe he already got the value of the income stream by selling it to the Australian outfit, and it is their problem now). That doesn't seem to me to be a story that will warn others off of making similar efforts. (Really? He is saying the control of the design by the designer or his assignees is critical to the motivation of potential designers. If classes allow any old schmuck to build the designer's boat without paying the designer, designers don't have much reason to design toys for those classes..Sorry you missed that. I thought Kirby was quite clear.)

Finally, whatever Bruce Kirby says, and I appreciate all that he has done for the class, from designing the boat that we all love to sail, to promoting it, and I am sure doing what he believes is in the best interest of the class to keep it stable and growing, this is not about him anymore. Bruce Kirby lost control when he had given up some of his rights to a company that ended up being in receivership. Bruce Kirby traded absolute control of the class for a widely produced, widely sailed class with a strong association. That probably helped him because without those things, it might not have been the runaway success it was, and he might have been less famous and made less money along the way. Part of the cost of that tradeoff was giving up a measure of control. ( Tradeoff?? "Screw the designer and his assigneees. We aren't helping with the leverage for collecting design fees anymore." is the proposal on the table. Tradeoff vs what?? That some lawyers stole the name Laser from Kirby is one hunk of BS that never should have been allowed. Now you are OK with also stealing the design itself?? Tradeoff?? What tradeoff. Cutting off the designer fees requirement is more like the finalization of the rape.)

Now, this is in the hands of the class and the sailors. It is about the long term success of a worldwide, Olympic, widely raced sailboat class. That success requires stability. That decision needs to be made without reference to what is good for Bruce Kirby or his builder of choice, unless those preferences actually help to maintain the class. (Which is what Kirby hoped for when he carefully considered the options for our game and then sold his design rights to Global Sailing. If the ILCA votes to abandon it's designer and his assignees, one fewer carefully chosen caring entity will be there to care about the long term success of the game we play.)

The other thing that could happen, though, which might really kill the class, is that the change gets made and then there are protracted lawsuits. That would really be a pity. ( but the change is alleged to be a perfect method to avoid those lawsuits. Sop, are you writing that it is not? That's certainly curious.)
Since 1972 it has been the rule of the ILCA, "You cannot bring a boat out to the course unless you have paid your royalties to the man who owns the design."

In my opinion, the day that rule is lifted, anyone can build a boat and bring it to our sailing contests. You will be allowed to race your toy that is in every way just like one who follows the builders manual would create .

Use of the term Laser and the sail insignia is only restricted to copyright holders for commercial use. I can call anything I build for myself a Coca Cola NFL Rolex Laser and so can anybody else.

Copyright law only steps in when you start selling your homebuilt by the ILCA builders manual sailing toy and representing it as a Mercedes Benz...or Laser.

My totally uninformed guess is, if the current owners of the Laser logo and name quit absolutely associating themselves by contract with the design itself, their copyrights will become quite vulnerable to a suit asking the court to release the logo and name to the public domain.

In fact, we could all help that process along by encouraging evrerybody to call every singlehanded boat a laser.

Or

by encouraging those who would like to profit by manufactuiring boats just like Kirby's Laser to pay those chosen by Kirby to oversee his design for rights to manufacture boats of Kirby's design.

I know my position on this one.

If you bring a boat to a Laser regatta, I expect you to bring one with a traceable record proving Bruce Kirby or his assignees were paid for overseeing the design and manufacture of your boat.
 
This link is to 48North July 2011. There is an article about the the subject of this thread on pages 46 and 47

http://content.yudu.com/A1sqfj/48NJuly11/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http://48north.com/
To dispute the conclusions of this text above: The ISAF nominated "Laser" and "Laser Radial" to be the Olympic "Mens/Women's One Person Dinghy" also for the "2016"-Games. The ISAF did the decision in early May 2011.
http://www.sailing.org/35891.php
We all know: ILCA's Executive Sec. is member of the board of the ISAF! So, no one can say , that the ISAF didn't knew about the issue between PSA and LP.

Till now, there havn't been any new official informations.... :(

LooserLu
P.S.: Directly Mr. Wesley W. Whitmyer, Jr. of St. Onge Steward Johnson & Reens, LLC, I 'm not afraid of YOU (and your here secretly viewing staff)... never!! Greetings of Europe, hahaha!!
 
Gouvernail - thank you for the reply. For a bit of context, and in answer to your first couple of questions, I am a lawyer in Canada, so have some knowledge of the issues of commercial agreements and intellectual property rights. With respect to what is my motivation and relationship to the issue? I have no professional interest in this case, and in fact don't work on this type of law at all, so am far from an expert at the intellectual property rights aspects. I have no financial interest, direct or indirect professional interest or other connection to this case or the people involved except for the fact that I sail a Laser. I do have an interest in sailing my Laser, and in having a strong class. I am also interested in learning about what the facts are (ie, what the legal rights are that are in play).

Frankly, the level of information that is out there - both from the article that you linked to, and from the Laser class association, and from all the public documents available that I have seen, is very much lacking. For the record, I don't think I know what the right decision is, or who should have rights to what. All I know is that I have almost no basis from which to make that decision, and the article made me frustrated because it made an argument based on a few biased facts, and no consideration or analysis of the legal rights that are in play.

To get to your specifics:

( so fill us in: What do you do for a living and to whom might you owe allegiance?)

I am a lawyer, and owe my allegiance to nobody involved in the case (in fact, I didn't even know about it until I got back into sailing my Laser regularly a couple of months ago).

( Talking TO somebody doesn't do squat. With whom have you conversed on this subject? Do you have sufficient knowledge to make comments and why should we believe you?)

Talking to somebody who has knowledge of a subject area (in this case, legal rights) does help in understanding the issues. I would hope that somebody would talk to an expert on fiberglass repairs before writing an article about the relative merits of one approach to making a repair versus another, if it is clear they have no personal experience (I am, to use a (para)phrase referenced below "almost certain" the author does not have a great deal of knowledge of legal rights). That doesn't mean they talk to someone who has an interest in the case, but hopefully a third party that can help them to understand the issues. As for the second part, I only have sufficient knowledge to understand that this article doesn't answer any questions that I have about the issue in a meaningful way (specifically, what are the actual legal rights at play).

In terms of my knowledge, I have sufficient knowledge to offer a critique of what the author said, but don’t have any knowledge of the actual case because those facts have not been shared. You shouldn’t believe me, but you should consider the critiques – I think this kind of inquiry is helpful to understanding the issues at play.

( Why do you believe this is warm and fuzzy? Cite your evidence please.)

I am a strong believer in evidence. But in this case, I'm not sure my claim about a story being warm and fuzzy requires evidence. What I was really implying, and I didn't state it well, was that this article, and many of the arguments made in this forum and elsewhere, are based on little more than a narrative that supports one party or the other, with little in the way of any facts about the actual contractual or IP rights that are at issue. I find that frustrating because I like facts and evidence.

( and you have sufficient understanding to use the word certainly for what reason?)

I don't, really. I didn't phrase that point very well. Really, I was just trying to say that the article is missing a lot, and I am sure that the real facts and issues are more complex than those presented.

(So what? Why is this relevent?)

To me, this is actually the core of what is at issue. This is relevant because we are talking about what legal obligation the class (and the holder of the trademark of "Laser") has to not change that rule, and to not continue to pay a fee for the design rights. If it is an obligation only because the class says it is, the class cannot be forced to maintain that part of the rule. I am not making a judgment on what is best for the class, I am asking a question about what the legal obligations are. I haven't heard any reference to any IP right or contractual obligation of the class that Bruce Kirby actually still maintains, and if there is one, I would be curious to hear about what it is.

(Really? He is saying the control of the design by the designer or his assignees is critical to the motivation of potential designers. If classes allow any old schmuck to build the designer's boat without paying the designer, designers don't have much reason to design toys for those classes..Sorry you missed that. I thought Kirby was quite clear.)

Absolutely agree, and I understand the point that Bruce Kirby is making – perhaps more than most, as I did a masters thesis on the economics of IP protection and the theoretical justifications, and detriments of restrictive IP policies – I’ve heard and considered the arguments about incentives to innovate that is the basis for the argument that he is making and that you claim I don’t understand.

My point is that Bruce Kirby may have had an opportunity to reap those benefits. IP rights have limits - patents are in force for a certain number of years, copyright for many more, and trademarks for as long as they are kept active, and other rights for other things. But, those rights aren't unlimited. My point is, that if we are going to stand around and say "Edison would have never invented the lightbulb because now anybody can make it without paying his heirs a fee, so why should he do it?" that is missing the point. Edison got paid plenty of money for his inventions, protected by patent rights that eventually ran out. There is a balance in those rights, and sometimes those rights are lost to the inventor/designer due to time, contract or otherwise. You might think that those rights should be more robust, or harder to lose, or longer or whatever. There is lots that has been written and argued on those issues. Lots more will be written. But the bottom line is that the argument does not give a slam dunk for extending those rights for the innovator or designer in all cases. Bruce Kirby may want/argue that they should be in his case, and if I were in his shoes I would make the same argument. He was quite clear. I just don't agree that the point ends the discussion.

( Tradeoff?? "Screw the designer and his assignees. We aren't helping with the leverage for collecting design fees anymore." is the proposal on the table. Tradeoff vs what?? That some lawyers stole the name Laser from Kirby is one hunk of BS that never should have been allowed. Now you are OK with also stealing the design itself?? Tradeoff?? What tradeoff. Cutting off the designer fees requirement is more like the finalization of the rape.)

I have to be careful here - I am a lawyer, so will be viewed with suspicion ;)

The tradeoff I am referring to is making the rights of the designer stronger than they need to be to create the incentive to design and develop sailboats. I would be suspicious of the claim that it is sufficiently robust IP rights that are holding designers back from designing more and better boats – and perhaps more importantly, developing the class (which, I would argue in the case of the Laser is actually a more important aspect of its success than the design, which although a good one, is not the sole reason is so successful).

You might be right, that the name Laser was stolen from Kirby. I don't have any familiarity with the case. This is an honest question - where can I find out more about it? It is possible that Bruce Kirby sold his rights without intending to give up as much as he did. He may have been taken to the cleaners by slick lawyers. But, I don't know what happened. It may have been a commercial transaction that he later regretted when the Laser became wildly popular. He may have thought - $x for this design is great - it took me 5 minutes to design it on the back of a cocktail napkin. I am being a bit facetious, but the point is, that I don't know that background, and I don’t know where to find it – perhaps a journalist who knows something about these issues would have asked him those questions and written a more illuminating article? Maybe he would tell someone asking those questions to take a hike? Maybe you know the story and can help us to understand it?

To look at another part of this, you say that it is a "hunk of BS that never should have been allowed" - well, if that was his contract, I don't feel too bad for him. You are the one from Texas - what about freedom to make contracts? If you later regret it, should you be able to reneg? But, he may also have been screwed. That is why I am curious about what actually happened in that case, and what Bruce Kirby agreed to.

With respect to stealing a design, again, design rights, under whatever IP category are rights that are granted by law in order to create an incentive for more innovation. When the rights are up, they are up. Using that design is not stealing. Reprinting public domain books is not stealing. Neither is using a design that is public domain.

(Which is what Kirby hoped for when he carefully considered the options for our game and then sold his design rights to Global Sailing. If the ILCA votes to abandon it's designer and his assignees, one fewer carefully chosen caring entity will be there to care about the long term success of the game we play.)

You might be right. I don't have any disagreement with this without knowing more. They might be the best caretakers of the class. But, they also need to make that argument to the class, and so far I have heard nothing substantive.

( but the change is alleged to be a perfect method to avoid those lawsuits. So, are you writing that it is not? That's certainly curious.)

I am suggesting, from no direct knowledge, that if the class makes this rule change, that there is at least a chance of lawsuits. Again, with no direct knowledge of the facts, I would wager that it will result in lawsuits. I think making this rule change in this way is risky, and seems to me to be only reasonable if it is a last ditch effort. The only way to avoid lawsuits, in my experience is to reach a settlement. The parties here aren’t willing to make a deal. That means that, whatever the approach is, the class is vulnerable. It seems to me to have arrived at this point is the result of some unfortunate or bad decisions, though I don’t know who made those decisions, again, because there are almost zero relevant facts that have been presented.

“Since 1972 it has been the rule of the ILCA, "You cannot bring a boat out to the course unless you have paid your royalties to the man who owns the design."

In my opinion, the day that rule is lifted, anyone can build a boat and bring it to our sailing contests. You will be allowed to race your toy that is in every way just like one who follows the builders manual would create.”

The question is, does the man actually own the design in a legal sense. Ownership of an intangible depends mostly on the rights attached to it by law - and in this case by contractual obligation. This doesn’t help if Mr. Kirby doesn’t maintain any actual legal rights to the design. One might argue that Bruce Kirby should have more rights, or less rights, or whatever, but I still haven’t learned what specific legal rights he has.

Use of the termLaserand the sail insignia is only restricted to copyright holders for commercial use. I can call anything I build for myself a Coca Cola NFL Rolex Laser and so can anybody else.

Copyright law only steps in when you start selling your homebuilt by the ILCA builders manual sailing toy and representing it as a Mercedes Benz...orLaser.

Agreed, but I don’t see why this is relevant.

My totally uninformed guess is, if the current owners of theLaserlogo and name quit absolutely associating themselves by contract with the design itself, their copyrights will become quite vulnerable to a suit asking the court to release the logo and name to the public domain.

In fact, we could all help that process along by encouraging everybody to call every singlehanded boat a laser.

You might be right, but a trademark (not copyright) does not have to be associated with an otherwise protected design in order to be effective. It can be associated with something that other people make in exactly the same way, and still be valid. You are right that it can be lost if it becomes generic. Note that the ILCA and the ISAF can still require that only certain boats made by certain makers can be used in events sanctioned by those bodies.

Or

by encouraging those who would like to profit by manufacturing boats just like Kirby'sLaserto pay those chosen by Kirby to oversee his design for rights to manufacture boats of Kirby's design.

People can do so. BUT, they might not have a legal obligation to do so in order to build a boat like the Laser. You might have an argument that they have a moral right, but that is a different story – and I already know your position on the gap between the law and morals ;)

The bottom line for me is that I want to know more. I want to know what the actual legal rights are, and what path they have taken from their inception. This is not information that I have been able to learn from reading various articles and discussions on the internet about this issue. And, I think that is the critical issue at play. This is about the use of design rights, and the contracts that have been made about those rights. My view is that the rest is window dressing.

I don’t know what the best choice is on this subject, but I do worry that, unless the central parties come to a reasonable agreement, that it could be detrimental to the class.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Wwo. Mr Whitfit certainly gave a wonderful and patiently written answer to my rant.

It is way more than I deserved but...wow I sure do think your response tells us all a lot of stuff we may not have considered. Thanks for being so patient and thorough ...

especially in response to something I did not write very nicely.

Kudos to you for being a really patient guy!!!

Makes me wonder if I can get a Beer gift certificate for your favorite local bar???
 
Wwo. Mr Whitfit certainly gave a wonderful and patiently written answer to my rant.

It is way more than I deserved but...wow I sure do think your response tells us all a lot of stuff we may not have considered. Thanks for being so patient and thorough ...

especially in response to something I did not write very nicely.

Kudos to you for being a really patient guy!!!

Makes me wonder if I can get a Beer gift certificate for your favorite local bar???
Thanks, Gouvernail.

I think that you have earned the right to get frustrated and short - and for all of your advice and help on this board and webpage have earned the right to at least my patience. The wealth of information, as well as your work for the class are worth more than a beer. And, I was able to repair a big shark bite out of my daggerboard this past weekend based on your webpage on the subject.

Here's to hoping we either get the information that we need, or at least whatever the outcome, the class survives and thrives - whether we are sailing a "Laser" or a "Bruce Kirby One Design Single Handed Dinghy" or maybe a "TGIF".
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
welll...nobody really has an special right to be nasty and I was...so I still owe you a beer and a personal apology next time I see you.
and I did have a plan to sail, in canada a couple weeks ago...
I just left Austin a couple weeks ago on Tuesday afternoon, drove to Maine ,and tried my heart out to make the turn in time to get back to hamilton for the Masers regatta. I simply could not make more than about 500 miles a day with a J-80 behind me...too damn white knuckled and worried about dragging $50,000 of somebody else's stuff.

So I ended up on a beautiful island eating lobster with the proud owner of the boat he had bought in San Antonio. My two fer ended up being meeting him and his friends instead of seeing old canadian Pals on lasers...but that's ok too!!.

They are the antithesis of laser sailors. There is an annual "around the island" race. 300 people live there year round and more summer guests. The fleet last time was a Tornado, a Lightning, a catalina 27, an international 210 and I forget what else...no handicaps...just who makes it first.

The place stopped in time somewhere around 1955.
 
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