On Friday 27th May, the long awaited judgement in the Lotus vs Lotus case was released. And Lotus won. Or rather Team Lotus won the right to carry on being called Team Lotus and Group Lotus won some other things. You can read the summary judgement right here on Badger Lotus Naming Row – the Verdict. However, the full version of the judgement from Lord Justice Peter Smith is available now, if you have time to read it. You may not fully understand all the legal arguments (I certainly didn’t), but what will come out quite clearly is Smith’s sense of wit and humour when it comes to the case and the parties involved. Here then for your amusement are some of the choice quotes.
On the Evidence
Para 26: As will be seen from the analysis both sides’ journalists expressed strong views in support of their own beliefs. There is always a difficulty in dealing with mythical figures such as Colin Chapman. Truths become elided with “urban myths”. Stories get better with telling and distorted. What appears in the books is often a distillation of fact, myth and conjecture.
On Colin Chapman
Para 40: For example Colin Chapman had qualified as a pilot in the RAF and liked flying (although some of his passengers did not necessarily enjoy it).
Colin Chapman’s persona strides like a colossus over the entirety of the issue. He represented what is probably in many ways a dying breed that of the dynamic powerful leader. In addition to this he had very great skills as an engineer. Like many powerful persons he had a “difficult” personality but could easily be witty and charming as required.
On Lotus Sports Cars
Para 52: Thereafter there was the Lotus Elan famous in the 1960s as the car driven by Diana Rigg in the Avengers, the Lotus Europa driven by George Best in the 1960s and the Lotus Esprit being associated with Roger Moore playing James Bond (although I do not believe there was actually a submersible version).
On F1 Team names
para 216: If one looks at the F1 website where the teams are listed one finds RBR-Renault, Renault (which is the one with which GL is associated), McLaren- Mercedes, Mercedes, Ferrari, Sauber-Ferrari and SGR-Ferrari. There is also a Lotus Renault but I think that is a technically correct reference to the Defendants. Renault appears in several teams as does Ferrari as does Mercedes. Nobody appears to be confused over all of this.
On the Licencing agreement and breaches of contract
Para 304: Ultimately Mr Fernandes’ attitude is summarised in his email of 4th August 2010 that he sent to Ms Bauer (GL’s Director of Merchandise):-
“Stop treating us as lepers and stop harassing my staff. We have been so supportive of Group Lotus but quite the opposite from you guys. We will continue with this bag which is similar to the Classic but with a different logo. If you are unhappy sue us”.
Well they did.
On the case itself
Para 387: At the end of the day I cannot help feeling that nevertheless the parties are better competing against each other on the F1 racetrack. Equally I cannot help avoiding the feeling that F1 followers would actually find that enhances F1 and they would be interested to see which of the two Lotus cars was more successful and which then might possibly be better placed to claim to be successors to the Colin Chapman mantle.
NB: Links are to the Bailii site; copyright is Crown Copyright, extracts quoted under Open Government Licence