Lotus – Un feuilleton juridico-économique

Je poste en article le commentaire très intéressant de Lotus62, publié dans le billet : Duel autour du nom Lotus.

Comme annoncé, du travail pour les cabinets d’avocats. Ce qui risque d’être préjudiciable à tout le monde!!!

Cela dit, lorsque GM a racheté Group Lotus au début des années 80, ils croyaient aussi avoir racheté la F et avait même envoyé un émissaire… qui a été poliment éconduit. GM a conservé Group Lotus quelques années me n’a jamais réellement investi … peut-être à cause de cela.

Pour le surplus, cela va également toucher ART car soit Proton et Tony Fernandez négocient, soit on va au procès et il y aura un perdant. Celui qui gagnera pourra utiliser le nom en compétition et l’autre pas. En mars 2010, Team Lotus Ventures Ltd, titulaire depuis 1994, du nom et du logo Team Lotus a redéposé ces deux éléments pour utilisation dans toutes les compétitions automobiles.

Rien ne garanti que Lotus Group va gagner car, comme rappelé, Colin Chapman n’a jamais intégré la compétition et les voitures de route dans le même groupe. Depuis le début des années 70, Lotus Group était en bourse alors que Team Lotus appartenait à la seule famille Chapman.

Il y a un précédent amusant quand VW a dépensé une fortune pour racheter Rolls Royce et empêcher BMW de l’acquérir…pour ensuite se rendre compte que BMW avait racheté le nom à Rolls Royce Aviation. Résultat VW a conservé l’usine et fabrique des Bentley tandis que BMW a construit une nouvelle usine pour produire ses Rolls Royce.

Ce n’est donc pas parce que Lotus Group fabrique des Lotus de route qu’ils ont automatiquement le nom pour la compétition…

En tous cas, un beau feuilleton juridico-économique de plus pour la compétition automobile (dans lequel vont se retrouver ART en GP2 et GP3 et KV Racing Technology en F Indy).

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0 Responses to Lotus – Un feuilleton juridico-économique

  1. Domino dit :

    A titre personnel , pas trop dispo cette semaine ,le point négatif pour moi , passionné de cette marque , ils risquent de tout perdre en claquant des millions de procédure au lieu d’investir dans l’avenir côté Lotus Cars et aussi Team Lotus, l’actuelle écurie de F1 … et ces 2 entreprises , la clè sous la porte … :sad: :sad: :sad:

    voici un aperçu de la note officielle de Lotus Racing, l’écurie F1:

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 28th September 2010

    SM Nasarudin, Kamarudin Meranun and Tony Fernandes, the three shareholders of Lotus Racing, announced on Friday 24th September that Team Lotus is back in Formula One™ from 2011. Lotus Racing has competed in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship under licence from Group Lotus parent company Proton, and today Lotus Racing Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat shed more light on why Team Lotus is coming back for the first time since 1994 in the 2011 Championship.

    Riad Asmat: « This has been an incredible year for everyone associated with Lotus Racing. Last week we brought Team Lotus back to the Formula One grid when we announced that we had bought Team Lotus Ventures from David Hunt, and would be racing as the successor to one of the most iconic names in world motorsport. This year, we have established ourselves as the leading new team in Formula One™ as a licensee of Group Lotus, and, although we all dreamt of bringing Team Lotus back to where it belongs, we could not do so in 2010 because those rights were owned by Team Lotus Ventures. As Tune Group has now bought Team Lotus Ventures it means we can now use the Team Lotus name for 2011 and beyond. We are all delighted we can go into 2011 with total confidence in what we own, and what we can take to the track.

    “However, given that this is contested by Group Lotus we think now is the time to clear this matter up so there can be no further arguments. We have therefore today issued proceedings in the English High Court for a declaration that Team Lotus Ventures has the rights to use the Team Lotus name and everything associated with that brand in relation to Formula One™.

    « Racing under the Team Lotus name from 2011 means our licence with Group Lotus has now come to an end. In reality, this has nothing to do with how we will go racing in 2011, as the ownership of Team Lotus has been clearly defined for many years. David was approached a number of times about selling the rights of Team Lotus Ventures, including one official offer of from Proton / Group Lotus themselves. That must have been tempting for David, as the rightful owner of the Team Lotus brand and its rights. Oddly enough, Group Lotus also recently tried to revoke the Team Lotus trade marks at a hearing at the Trade Mark Registry, but they were unsuccessful. I suspect David’s misgivings about their previous offer to buy were justified by that action.

    « The licence debate really is a non-issue. It was a simple licence, attached to a one year sponsorship deal with Proton for 2010 alone, and in fact for a tiny proportion of the amount invested by the shareholders into the team – approximately 1.5% of the total budget. Unfortunately we never reached the point where we discussed extending that one year deal. When we signed our licence to compete as Lotus Racing with Group Lotus, they were very clear that we could not make any reference to Team Lotus as they had no rights at all to the Team Lotus name or its rights. In fact, in the licence agreement between 1Malaysia Racing and Group Lotus the use of the Team Lotus name is expressly prohibited as they had agreed contractually, as long ago as 1985, that they had not rights to use that name. That was obviously something we had enormous respect for, and made no attempt to change until we could do so rightfully, and with a very clear understanding of what we had acquired in Team Lotus Ventures.

    « So now the licence we ran under this year has been withdrawn by Group Lotus, and while we accept that this obviously means we have reached the end of that chapter, it opens up a new and very exciting one for everyone in our team. There will have to be some discussions with Proton and Group Lotus about the entitlement to terminate the licence. Frankly, they are trying to say that some very trivial points, including t-shirt design approvals of all things, gave them the right to terminate, but we thoroughly reject this.

    “Now we look to the future. The details of what has been going on behind the scenes are now coming to light, and that’s good because it means the shareholders of Proton, the government, will now know the truth of what has been going on. However the important thing is to look at what we are doing to guarantee future success. We have already invested heavily in ensuring the Malaysian / ASEAN motorsports platform grows, something that cannot be said for our colleagues at Group Lotus. We created a world first when we ran Nabil Jeffri in our aero test earlier this year – the youngest ever F1 test driver. Fairuz has been gaining invaluable experience at the highest level by driving for us, and, through Tony and Din’s AirAsia Driver Development programme, we are giving young Malaysian / ASEAN talent the chance to reach the top. We are so proud to have laid the foundations for future success, and our fans acknowledge this every day. Personally I think it’s odd that our colleagues at Group Lotus have not embraced what we are giving them – a global platform for creating huge awareness and great value for their operations, all at no cost to them. In one year we have made huge strides in the growth of Lotus Racing, and now it’s all about Team Lotus.”

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    enfin ,en réponse , l’actionnaire Proton de Lotus Cars s’exprime à ce sujet ! voici leur mail:


    Kuala Lumpur, 27 September 2010 – There is and always has been only one Lotus, the Lotus started by Colin Chapman. From the beginning Lotus made road cars and raced racing cars. Until 1994, Group Lotus, the road car manufacturer and Team Lotus, which operated the Formula 1 team, were in common ownership with common directors. In 1994, Team Lotus failed and Lotus has not raced since. Since 1994, David Hunt has claimed to have acquired assets of Team Lotus, including its name, from the liquidator. He has never raced as Lotus. Mr. Hunt’s attempt to acquire the name Team Lotus was ineffective. Group Lotus is the owner of all rights in the « Lotus » automotive brand including those relating to Formula 1.

    Last year, Tony Fernandes and 1 Malaysia Racing Team recognised this by taking a licence from Group Lotus to use the « Lotus » brand for the « Lotus Racing » team in the current Formula 1 season. With PROTON’s agreement, Group Lotus has now terminated its licence to 1 Malaysia Racing Team to use the « Lotus Racing » brand in the 2011 and future Formula 1 seasons as a result of the flagrant and persistent breaches of the licence by 1 Malaysia Racing Team, which were damaging to the « Lotus » brand.

    Following that termination, neither 1 Malaysia Racing Team, nor any other company associated with Mr. Fernandes such as Tune Group Sdn Bhd or Team Lotus Ventures Limited, has the authority of Group Lotus to use any « Lotus » brand in the 2011 Formula 1 season. This includes the use of the brand « Team Lotus ».

    Group Lotus understands that Mr. Fernandes intends to rebrand the current « Lotus Racing » Formula 1 team to « Team Lotus » for the 2011 Formula 1 season. Mr. Fernandes indicates that Tune Group has acquired the rights to the name « Team Lotus » from a business formerly owned by David Hunt called Team Lotus Ventures Limited. Group Lotus believes these rights to have no proper legal foundation, a fact of which Mr. Fernandes was well aware when his company purchased them.

    PROTON will support Group Lotus in taking all necessary steps to protect its rights in the « Lotus » name, including resisting any attempts by Mr. Fernandes or his companies, or any other unauthorised person, to use the « Lotus » name in the 2011 Formula 1 season.

    Dato’ Sri Mohd. Nadzmi Mohd. Salleh, Chairman of PROTON Holdings Berhad and Group Lotus commented, « We believe the Lotus brand to be one of the most valuable brands in Formula 1 today. We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it. Tony Fernandes has no rights to use the Lotus brand in the 2011 Formula 1 season, and we will strongly resist any attempts by him to use our brand without our permission and will withdraw our sponsorship of the Lotus Racing team. »

    “To put it simply, Group Lotus is everything Lotus. The fact that 1 Malaysia Racing Team entered into an agreement with Group Lotus to use the brand means that both Mr. Fernandes and 1 Malaysia Racing Team recognises and acknowledges Group Lotus’ rights,” he added.

    About PROTON

    PROTON, established in 1983, is Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, and the only full-fledged OEM car manufacturer in South-East Asia. With operations in key markets from UK to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, especially in countries like China and Iran, PROTON produces cars to suit a range of consumer demands and preferences.

    Its offerings include versatile and reliable four-door family vehicles, two-door hatchbacks for the young-at-heart, luxurious and stylish executive sedans, spacious and affordable multi-purpose vehicles, as well as the world-renowned sports cars from Lotus. Most importantly, PROTON models are now developed with Lotus Engineering, offering customers superior ride and handling experience in every drive.

    PROTON’s inception as a key driver of national development has seen the brand accelerate its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. By listening to the needs of customers, PROTON cars are now steadily on track to achieve the mission for the future, with PROTON set to become a marque which builds cars with passion and soul; cars that are a delight to drive – and a pleasure to own.

    About Lotus

    Group Lotus is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PROTON Holdings Berhad. The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Limited, which has two operating divisions – Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in Germany.

    Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world’s OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet all worldwide markets and customers to full production. This includes third party ‘niche vehicle’ engineering and manufacture worldwide.

    Lotus Cars builds world class, prestige, high performance sports cars for sale in 37 countries. These include the iconic Lotus Elise, and the Exige and Europa. Lotus’ latest model, the Lotus Evora, goes on sale from Spring 2009. Lotus is a global high-tech company, expanding rapidly and committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric cars and renewable fuels.

    === END ==

  2. Lotus62 dit :

    Une petite visite du site de NAZA Group (sponsor et co-fondateur de Lotus F1 Racing) peut également éclairer les raisons de cette guerre.

    NAZA est non-seulement le plus gros distributeur de voitures en Malaisie mais également un constructeur.

    Parmi les marques distribuées figurent Peugeot, Kia mais aussi Perodua (le concurrent malaisien direct de Proton)ainsi que Ferrari, Maserati et Porsche …. mais pas Lotus ni Proton.

    NAZA est certainement en train de devenir le pire concurrent de Proton… cela ne doit certainement pas aider pour la coopération!

    Il faut d’ailleurs noter que les problèmes sont apparus (au public en tout cas) vers le mois de juin… soit au moment où NAZA a annoncé la construction d’une usine d’assemblage (de Peugeot sauf erreur)d’une capacité équivalente aux ventes de Prtoton en Malaisie!

  3. exo dit :

    Merci a Marc, mais aussi a Lotus62 pour ces éclaircissements sur NAZA group !

  4. Stands-up dit :

    Vu la conformation du droit Britannique en matière de propriété industrielle et vu l’origine dudit transfert de jouissance (et non d’appartenance) par la famille Chapmann via David Hunt, la cour accorde au nouveau récipiendaire l’autorisation emphytéotique d’apposer la marque « Team Lotus » sur tout véhicule destiné exclusivement à un usage de compétition … j’anticipe mais je prends les paris 😎

  5. exo dit :

    J’espère qu’on ne va pas en arriver au point d’avoir Team Lotus (Fernandes) et Lotus (proton) un jour en F1. La situation est déjà suffisamment ridicule et dommageable pour les 2 parties.

    Je crois que Fernandes a plus d’un tour dans son sac…
    Je vais être tenté par un « et si… » : « Et si » au vu du redressement d’Air Asia, de la conduite très professionnelle de l’équipe F1, de l’image positive que cela donne à la Malaisie (aussi de par son programme pilote local)… Le gouvernement Malaisien, d’une manière ou d’une autre donnait les commandes du Groupe Lotus à Fernandes ou un de ses acolytes ?
    C’est peut-être ce que tente Tony le malin, un Hold Up par le haut?

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