Team Lotus allowed to keep name

Team Lotus will be able to continue using its name in Formula 1, after the High Court in London ruled in its favour in the row with Group Lotus

Team Lotus allowed to keep name

After weeks of deliberation, the court ruled that although the Hingham-based outfit had been in breach of a licencing agreement with Group Lotus last year, there was nothing that prevented the team racing under the Team Lotus banner.

Team principal Tony Fernandes said: "We are all pleased that it has been clarified that we are the rightful owners of Team Lotus. We have always been confident that 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 was entitled to end the licence agreement in 2010. We entered into that contract on the basis that we were beginning a long-term partnership with Group Lotus but unfortunately they then used technical breaches of the merchandising pre-notification process to bring the licence and our partnership to an end.

"However, my fellow shareholders and I are firm believers that when one door closes another door opens. In the early days of our agreement we realised its termination was inevitable and as events have unfolded the end of the licence has proved positive for us, with many new avenues being opened up as a result.

"We wanted to develop a long-term relationship with Group Lotus and help them sell more cars around the world but that door closed and now we are delighted that we can turn our attention to ensuring success for Caterham Cars on the road and Team Lotus on track.

"These are two very exciting brands and their future development, bringing these two iconic brands together under the Caterham Team Lotus umbrella, will see us introduce new Caterham cars and a range of new Team Lotus brands into the global marketplace.

"Now our main aim is to build on the solid foundations that has made Caterham Cars the model for how to run a profitable contemporary car company and add more history to the incredible story of Team Lotus over the coming months and years and with the people, spirit, passion and determination we have in both businesses we know that marks the next stage in our incredible story."

In his judgment, Mr Justice Peter Smith ruled that Group Lotus has the right to use the name 'Lotus' in F1, that the Renault team can continue to use its black and gold livery, and that Team Lotus must pay it damages for the breach of licencing agreement last year.

With the judge ruling that Team Lotus can continue to use its name, Group Lotus has decided to appeal - although there is a chance that Team Lotus could counter-appeal it.

In a statement issued by the car company it said: "Team Lotus has the right to continue to race in Formula 1 under the name Team Lotus but the effect of the Judgment is that only Group Lotus can use the name "Lotus" on its own in F1.

"Group Lotus is concerned that this aspect of the Judgment will cause confusion in the eyes of spectators and the wider public. Accordingly, Group Lotus is seeking leave to appeal so that the right to use the Lotus brand in Formula 1 is clarified once and for all in the interests of the sport and the fans. Group Lotus and its shareholder Proton Holding Bhd are confident of success on appeal."

Sarah Price, head of legal at Group Lotus, said: "Group Lotus is pleased that 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 - we are extremely grateful for their continued support. The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly."

Read the full verdict here.

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