sail-world.com -- ISAF and ILCA on thin ice? Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright
ISAF and ILCA on thin ice? Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright
Mon, 6 May 2013
Extracts from an article written for Scuttlebutt USA by Intellectual Property Rights lawyer John Harwood-Bee on the lawsuit between Laser designer Bruce Kirby, builder LaserPerformance and associated companies and International Sailing (ISAF) and the International Laser Class Association (ILCA).
'Having followed the saga that Bruce Kirby is being subjected to, there appears to be no dispute that Bruce is the absolute beneficial owner in the design rights and therefore IPR, in what has until now been known as the Laser. I can find no evidence or reference to him ever having assigned those design rights to any other entity, and therefore must assume that he has retained them. If this is the case, then ISAF and the Laser Class Association are skating on very thin ice in supporting any builder who is in breach of a design licence agreement.
'IPR infringement is considered by the courts to be a grave offence and punishments of transgressors can be severe. 'You have only to read recent archives to discover the serious financial penalties issued to those pirating copies of films, albums and videos or duplicating and distributing music without accounting. Million dollar lawsuits have closed down websites and bankrupted individuals.
'If design royalties are not being paid by the builders of the boats, under whatever name, then they will need some excellent argument to prevent a court from ordering seizure of moulds and all equipment, computers and tools used in the default.
'As LaserPerformance have carefully avoided answering your questions on this, it seems likely that they are in breach. I think it highly unlikely that Bruce and his lawyers have failed to issue ‘cease and desist’ notices against all parties and therefore there should be a standstill in approval and manufacture.
'How, under those circumstances, ISAF and International Laser Class Association (ILCA) can continue to issue plaques to LaserPerformance and any other builder in breach of Bruce Kirby’s rights is beyond comprehension.
'The ISAF statement says that plaques will be issued to any approved ISAF and ILCA builder. It does not state that those builders must be licensed by and in good standing with Kirby, and therefore I consider that both ISAF and ILCA need to check with some damn good IP lawyers to make certain that is it not just their normal arrogance that is driving this.
'Surely the fair and equitable solution would be to suspend the issue of plaques until this dispute is resolved. If Bruce is found to be in the right, as I sincerely hope he is, the ISAF and ILCA could face enormous penalties and damages for their support of anybody who has in effect pirated the design. '
As a matter of interest, we recently found this US Copyright registration
Registration Number / Date: TXu001362085 / 2007-06-21 Title: Laser construction manual. Copyright Claimant: Bruce Kirby, Inc. Date of Creation: 2005 Authorship on Application: Bruce Kirby, 1929- Copyright Note: Cataloged from appl. only. Names: Kirby, Bruce, 1929- Bruce Kirby, Inc.
There is an upcoming ISAF mid-year meeting in Copenhagen and we understand numbers of the ISAF Member Nations will be taking the opportunity to ask ISAF are they really sure they know what they are doing, with ISAF likely to be heavily exposed to significant damages claims if the ISAF decision making processes have not been as good as everyone would like.
Onesails.com - Workforce
OneSails is the culmination of over 35 years of experience accumulated by our team in design and technology applied to sail-making. [More info]
Burke Marine, suppliers of international quality marine clothing and equipment, was founded by Martin Burke on the shores of Sydney Harbour in 1971. Visit our website for your nearest stockist. [More info]
Ensign Ship Brokers
Ensign Ship Brokers was established in 1980 and has spent the last 28 years expanding our marine knowledge and developing our reputation! We strive to provide the very best service! [More info]
Festival of Sails
The Festival of Sails is the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere with over 400 yachts and 4300 competitors annually taking part in the event. [More info]
GME Standard Communications Pty Ltd
Leaders in communications and navigation. Their goal has always been to make products whose innovation, convenience and peace of mind can help improve the lives of their customers. [More info]
Henri Lloyd was established in 1963 in Manchester, England. Mr Henri, as he became universally known, founded the company based upon hard earned principles of honesty, integrity and freedom. [More info]
Hood Sailmakers (Aust) P/L is 100% Australian owned and operated. The first sail loft outside of the USA to be granted a franchise in 1968 by the founder Ted Hood. [More info]
Mauri Pro Sailing
Your direct access to sailing solutions. 8,000+ products for cruising and racing sailors and sailboats. We search for appropriate sailboat hardware or sailing gear and offer them at competitive prices [More info]
Navionics is proud of its superb cartographic database comprising more than 25,000 charts and port plans; the largest privately owned database of its kind, the only one using full seamless technology [More info]
Performance Sailcraft Australia (Asia Pacific)
Laser builder Performance Sailcraft Australia has taken on the successful RS Sailboat range from Britain, and is now licensed to build and distribute all of the RS range in the Asia Pacific region. [More info]
Quantum Australasia Pty Ltd
Quantum Sail Design Group designs, engineers and manufactures sails for racers and cruisers who demand the highest levels of quality and performance. [More info]
Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) is an annual four-day event which attracts buyers and marine industry representatives from across Australia and around the globe. [More info]
Sydney Rigging Specialists
Sydney Rigging Specialists is a leading company in the supply of yacht rigging, cordage, marine fittings and accessories. We are based in Sydney and work from our specially fitted out rigging shop. [More info]
Ullman Sails Australia
The Ullman Sails Australia team provides service to customers all over Australia with four main locations in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and the Whitsundays. [More info]
Vicsail Sydney Pty Ltd, launched into the Australian sailing fraternity in 1983 and has been sailing strong ever since. At Vicsail, “We Sail the Boats We Sell”. [More info]