x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Both sides happy as Lotus naming row looks set to go on

Team Lotus and Group Lotus both walked away happy from a High Court ruling in London into the naming rights row.

LONDON // Team Lotus and Group Lotus both claimed victory in the naming rights row following yesterday's High Court judgment, although it is by far the end of the matter.

Following eight weeks of deliberation by Justice Peter Smith after a lengthy hearing towards the end of March, Team Lotus were today citing "a positive conclusion".

Justice Smith has ruled Team Lotus are the true owners of the "Team Lotus" name and can continue to use the iconic badge on their cars.

However, Group Lotus, who sponsor the Renault team, has the right to use the name "Lotus" on its own in Formula One. They can also continue to race in the black and gold livery, but with the badge restricted to road cars only.

Furthermore, Group Lotus have been awarded damages after Team Lotus were found to be in breach of a licensing agreement.

Group Lotus have announced their intention to appeal the decision of Mr Justice Smith for clarification regarding use of the names "Team Lotus" and "Lotus" in F1.

Group Lotus are concerned this aspect of the judgment simply causes confusion in the eyes of spectators and the wider public.

Tony Fernandes, the Team Lotus principal, said: "We are all pleased that it has been clarified that we are the rightful owners of Team Lotus.

"We have always been confident the factual evidence we presented would lead to this decision, and today's judgment confirms that belief.

"We are, of course, disappointed about the decision that Group Lotus were entitled to end the our licence agreement in 2010.

"We entered into that contract on the basis that we were beginning a long-term partnership with Group Lotus.

"Unfortunately they used technical breaches of the merchandising pre-notification process to bring the licence and our partnership to an end.

"In the early days of our agreement we realised its termination was inevitable."

Speaking on behalf of Group Lotus, Sarah Price, the head of legal, said: "Group Lotus is pleased its right to race under the Lotus name in F1 has been upheld and that the defendants' attempts to stop that have failed.

"The ongoing dispute with Team Lotus and associated companies has been a cause for concern for all at Group Lotus.

"Despite the detailed judgment there are issues which still require clarification and we remain committed to obtaining this much needed clarity for the many fans of the Lotus marque.

"The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly."

* Press Association