Force India set to appeal High Court ruling on its dispute with Aerolab/Team Lotus
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, March 27th 2012, 08:45 GMT|
Force India is set to appeal the recent High Court ruling on its dispute with Aerolab/Team Lotus, as it urges the FIA once again to investigate the matter.
The Silverstone-based team was awarded 25,000 Euros in damages last week after it was ruled that Aerolab and Team Lotus had used some components in its 2010 car design process to which Force India own the Intellectual Property rights.
Force India believes that the level of damages awarded was not high enough, which is why its legal team is to request the judge looks into the matter once again.
Deputy team principal Robert Fernley told AUTOSPORT: "We will ask the judge for appeal on a number of things, and our legal team has not determined that [yet]. Of course damages will be one and some of the conduct will be the other.
"What cannot be appealed is the decision - because that is admitted in affidavit and on oath. The guilt side stays; what we are saying is we want more damages. If we get it, or if we even get the appeal, is a completely different thing."
With rival team Marussia having written to the FIA to express its concern about the situation – and whether or not Team Lotus breached the Concorde Agreement in running copyrighted parts – Force India says it too is planning a further request for the governing body to step in.
"What we will do now is refer it to the FIA in its totality and it is up to the FIA to decide if there is anything that needs to be taken further," continued Fernley.
The FIA wants to wait until after the conclusion of an Italian criminal case before deciding if it will look into the matter, but Fernley does not see any reason why there is not already enough evidence to warrant an investigation now.
"The FIA has to make its own decision," he said. "I am not sure why a criminal case needs to be proved, when it has already been proved in a UK High Court. Surely if Marussia has written to them, then surely there is an obligation to make sure that is heard.
"We will submit our findings to the FIA. To them it doesn't matter if we go back to court and gain extra money or not. What they have to worry about is, has an offence been committed? Does it breach Schedule 3? And all the points we are talking about are Schedule 3 components."
Caterham, as Team Lotus is now called, has not made any public statements about the matter since the trial, but Aerolab chief Jean-Claude Migeot said last week that he welcomed the fact that 'systematic' copying of the Force India had not been found.
"It's a very fine line between using your knowledge and using someone else's IP, which we don't do," he said. "We have contractors and consultants – and people come to us because we have the know-how and experience."
Force India was also ordered to pay 850,000 Euros in unpaid fees to Aerolab, with that money having already been lodged in escrow.