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LaserPerformance lists its own FAQ's in latest Building Licence move

by LaserPerformance 10 Apr 2019 18:24 PDT 11 April 2019
The Laser will be the Mens and Womens One Person Dinghy at the 2024 Olympics, provided they can get their legal affairs resolved by August 1, 2019 © Richard Gladwell

In another salvo in the battle between the International Laser class Association and its predominant builder LaserPerformance, LP has posed a set of its own "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning ILCA’s Actions".

The dispute which was triggered at the end of March when ILCA terminated the agreement which allowed to build the Laser class to the specifications contained in the Builder's manual to which ILCA claims are its intellectual property.

All Laser class dinghies built to date which have an official building plaque will be eligible to participate in class racing, regardless of whether they are built by LaserPerformance, or Performance Sailing Australia and Performance Sailing Japan who build and supply to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea.

10 April 2019

1. Why is LP proposing that ILCA be moved back to Europe and a full-time executive team be hired?

According to EurILCA, over 70% of the class members are in the European region. As discussed at the 1998 ILCA World Council meeting the management of ILCA, it was felt by representatives of this region that their needs and priorities were being neglected. LP proposes that ILCA be moved back and a full-time professional management team lead ILCA paid by builders through increased plaque fees.

2. What is the 27 February 1998 Agreement?

This is a licence agreement between Performance Sailcraft Europe Limited (since renamed as LaserPerformance Europe Limited) and ILCA, giving certain limited rights to ILCA to use the Laser intellectual property according to ILCA’s constitution. A copy of the 1998 Agreement can be found here 1988_02_27 Trademark Agreement between ILCA and PSE.

3. Why is LaserPerformance requiring a new license agreement?

• In 2010 ILCA moved to the USA under a new entity incorporated in the State of Texas.

• In 2016 LaserPerformance group was re-organized globally. Consequently, LPEU ceased to operate effective 31 December 2016 and will cease to exist from 31 August 2019.

• The 1998 Agreement does not have any provisions for succession rights and as such, as of 31 August 2019 the contract will extinguish on its own terms. Therefore, a new replacement and like agreement is needed in order for ILCA to continue to operate as before under the 1998 Agreement.

• ILCA have known about this and have been given multiple extensions under the 1998 Agreement for the past three years but they have refused to enter a new and like agreement.

• Without a new like license, ILCA will not be able to hold events or use the Laser mark in connection with its authorized activities from 31 August 2019.

4. What is ILCA’s view about the 1998 Agreement?

ILCA refuses to acknowledge that the Agreement will expire and a new agreement is required with the successor parties, whilst in private meetings they acknowledge LP’s rights to its intellectual property.

5. What has LP’s response been to ILCA’s actions?

LP has consistently asked to meet with all parties to resolve this issue as well as other pending issues. The last such attempt for an “All Parties Meeting” at the November 2018 ILCA World Council where LP requested that such a meeting be organized at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January 2019. ILCA refused to respond even after several subsequent reminders of the importance of such a meeting. LP is still prepared to meet with ILCA and WS.

6. Why has LP not allowed inspection of Laser manufacturing facilities:

• It should be noted that ILCA has not inspected LP manufacturing since June 2015.

• LP has refused access to ILCA for inspection in May 2019 given the expiry of the ILCA license from 31 August 2019.

• LP has offered and World Sailing has agreed to participate in inspection of LP manufacturing by ILCA.

• The issue is not about non-compliance by LP, it is about ILCA’s lack of a proper inspection regime.

• It is an absolute responsibility of the class to inspect its builders. ILCA have not done so for the past four years whilst issuing plaques to LP. This attests to the strong compliance culture and commitment of LP to One Design.

7. Is LP cooperating with World Sailing?

LP has met with World Sailing and has fully briefed and discussed its position. They have indicated that they would be willing to participate in a meeting with ILCA. WS has also confirmed that it stands ready to participate in an inspection of LP manufacturing.

8. What is LP’s position about competition and FRAND?

LP has prepared a note on its position on this subject Laser Antitrust Doc Final . This has been discussed with WS who indicated that in general LP position is in line with their requirements.

9. What has been the reactions been to ILCA’s recent actions?

A selection of class response can be found here Comments about ILCA Action Against LaserPerformance

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