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North Sails NZL -  Performance

Laser Legal tangles continue

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 24 Apr 2013
Sail-World.com /AUS © http://www.sail-world.com
ISAF and ILCA have been named as co-defendants in the legal proceedings filed in the US District Court by attorneys acting for Laser designer Bruce Kirby, over a dispute caused by Laser Performance Europe (LPE) refusing to pay design royalties.

Previously ISAF had recognised that LPE were no longer licensed Laser builders and had stopped the issuance of plaques by ILCA. (that came from the publicly released letter from ISAF's lawyers.).

Major developments in the last few days with ISAF changing tack and now in conjunction with ILCA moving boldly to remove Bruce Kirby´s design rights.(full statements below in separate stories).

However the collateral damages appear to be mounting. It seems there have been unintended consequences of the ISAF-ILCA action, is that the two Asia-Pacific Laser builders, Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ) have been caught in the crossfire.

The latest advice is that existing Laser builders (that would mean PSA and PSJ) who supply Lasers with the proposed new ISAF (non Kirby) plaques will be dragged into the American courts too.

One wonders if they will be seeking indemnification from the deep pockets of ISAF before building new Lasers?

One wonders how this will all play out. It does seem pretty certain that this will be played out in a protracted and messy fashion in the US court system and the losers will be sailors and winners lawyers.

Here is Bruce Kirby´s latest comment - 'The ISAF announcement confirms what we feared.

'It would appear ISAF has been complicit all along in the efforts of Laser Performance and ILCA to steal the Kirby Sailboat design by refusing to pay royalties, issuing plaques to terminated builders, and now using a flimsy pretext to the alter the Laser class rules and purport to allow builders to make the Kirby Sailboat without Bruce Kirby's authorization.

'The only path forward that does not require a Court Order is the Kirby Torch. We remain available to negotiate with ISAF and/or ILCA if either or both of them is willing to meet.'

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