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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

      Underdawg did an excellent job of explaining the rules.  Here's the simplified version: Don't insinuate Pedo.  Warning and or timeout for a first offense.  PermaFlick for any subsequent offenses Don't out members.  See above for penalties.  Caveat:  if you have ever used your own real name or personal information here on the forums since, like, ever - it doesn't count and you are fair game. If you see spam posts, report it to the mods.  We do not hang out in every thread 24/7 If you see any of the above, report it to the mods by hitting the Report button in the offending post.   We do not take action for foul language, off-subject content, or abusive behavior unless it escalates to persistent stalking.  There may be times that we might warn someone or flick someone for something particularly egregious.  There is no standard, we will know it when we see it.  If you continually report things that do not fall into rules #1 or 2 above, you may very well get a timeout yourself for annoying the Mods with repeated whining.  Use your best judgement. Warnings, timeouts, suspensions and flicks are arbitrary and capricious.  Deal with it.  Welcome to anarchy.   If you are a newbie, there are unwritten rules to adhere to.  They will be explained to you soon enough.  
Otterbox

Lasers - Applying a Blow Torch

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So after ISAF had originally decided that the proposed rule change was unacceptable - all of a sudden they reverse themselves and say now it is OK?

 

But cutting the designer out and supporting a shitty builder is just plain wrong.

 

It's time to get personal. ISAF doesn't make decisions - people on ISAF committees do. Does anyone know the names of the individuals that made this decision? Personally, I want to know if anyone from my country agreed to this. And if they did, I'd like to get them booted from our national sailing association...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LP only have the rights to the Laser brand in those markets. In all other markets, those rights are owned by builders who support BK.

Who said that the builders who also support BK wouldn't continue manufacturing Lasers? If they have also signed to build Torches - fine. They'll be manufacturing Lasers on Mondays and Torches on Tuesdays.

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So, 3 issues, right?

 

1. Would be nice for BK to get some benefit for being the designer.

2. Legal protections for boat designs seem to be on less than solid legal ground

3. Rastegar seems to be a guy who likes to take advantage of complex and weak parts of the law to make money.

 

I used to own at least 3 Mclaren strollers, and I believe Rastegar currently owns the company that bought the old Mclaren company, which I think went bankrupt due to a series of lawsuits about kids fingers getting crushed in strollers that they were sitting in when their parents folded them up. I am pretty sure the people who own the new ones and who have jobs building the new ones are happy that Rastegar salvaged the company.

 

It seems to me that he did a similar thing for the lasers.

 

Perhaps you can call him a vulture, or a hero. Or a hero vulture...

Not really IMHO.

 

1.) He got his value from the trademark (and a design patent had he so desired) but as it is with everything else in every other field, patents eventually expire and he extracted whatever value he could from the trademark. He is now apparently trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat (or take a second or third bite at the apple as judges sometimes say in cases like this) with a construction manual argument. But there are significant challenges to that as evidenced by all three parties with no common interest (LPE, ILCA, ISAF) agreeing.

 

2.) Not at all. Name me another class where the designer has successfully claimed or even tried to claim compensationn from a design patent, trademark and a construction manual copyright contract. Actually, I forgot one. He apparently also claims compensation based on trademarking his name. Four bites at the apple. Unheard of IMO. The implications of BK's approach carried to other fields would preclude your parents from ever having access to affordable generic drugs.

 

3.) Or he took a failed/failing company and tried to save it.

 

I don't understand you guys. Clearly the class association is not rich. Clearly LPE is not swimming in money. Somebody above calculated BK made in axcess of $10MM on the royalty alone nevermind the sale of the Laser trademark.

 

ILCA and ISAF all agree with LPE. Why on earth do you think that is so? What's in it for them? Easier to just agree w BK and watch the class die. They fight for the class and the sailor here throw them under the bus. They even bitch about an open vote! If they disagreed why didn't they vote the other way? Wow.

For the live of God, THERE IS NOT, NEVER HAS BEEN AND BK NEVER CLAIMED THERE WAS A PATENT OF ANY SORT.

Bruce Kirby owns a company that licenses selected boat builders the right to build and sell a boat that was designed by that company. The fee the selected boat builders pay is not a flat fee, but based on the number of units sold. Seems very reasonable to me. One builder has decided not to pay this fee, so BK's company have removed their right to make the boat. That boat builder has the right to use the name Laser, in some parts of the world. Big f*^$ing deal. A rose by any other name smells as sweet.

Rastegar has dubious business history and I wouldn't rust him as far as I can spit.

The ILCA vote was a sham. It was rushed through with a partial provision of the facts. If I was a member I'd be seeking a vote of no confidence in the management.

Read it again. I am not saying there was a patent. Most folks (myself included) think there was not. But BK was extremely vague in his early reports about what his rights were based in and so folks speculated. What I am saying is he could have sought a design patent and did seek a trademark (Laser) and he got his value from these things.

 

We do agree the name is no big deal. Go ahead and buy a Torch. Nobody is trying to stop him from making or selling them. I actually would not be surprised if its still part of the solution even if it not called the torch.

 

Disagree your comment on the vote being a sham. You say "if I was a member." Well class members had a vote. I was one of them. Did a lot of reading on the topic and voted as did many others.

 

Think the class has done the right thing to protect class members while being stuck in an impossible situation they did not create. Hell, ISAF waited forevere to approved the class rule apparently trying to promote some middle ground solution. For their efforts BK sued. The only action the class took was top stop issuing plaques. For their efforts BK launched torch. Only then did class and ISAF take final action of approving the class rule which I suspect leads to possibility of multiple builders (having to meet class measurement standards).

 

Happy day!

 

But far from over. I still see many paths for BK to fight on (and for LPE and class to defend on). Still betting on negotiated settlement.

 

 

OK, we agree that all the evidence confirms there was never a patent or an attempt to patent.

 

I believe history shows Kirby did NOT trademark the Laser name. The first manufacturer, Ian Bruce, did.

 

Kirby states, and I believe him, that he entered into a contract with Ian Bruce's company for a modest percentage paid for every boat produced. He also claims that that contract survives and carries through all subsequent builders.

 

Kirby has some pretty solid precedent on his side here. The agreement is still honoured today by builders other than those controlled by Rastegar. And in that instance it has been honored for 40 years until Rastegar-owned companies pulled the plug a couple of years ago.

 

Looks as if Kirby has received scant support from ILCA and ISAF. He has worked for two years to resolve this before resorting to a lawsuit.

 

I don't pretend to know the intricacies of the the ILCA or ISAF positions. However I believe that whatever they want or decide should be subordinate to the agreement. Is it still valid? The court will decide that.

 

All rather simplistic, I'll agree, and it will be up to the Courts to sort this out. That's going to take a long time, absent any negotiated settlement.

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All this money for a freakin' boat. I don't care if it is the most popular boat in the world, no one is entitled to an unending stream of money because 40 years ago they penned a design for a boat, wrote a song people enjoy, or wrote a book. Something is definitely wrong with patent and copyright law if contracts can be constructed that give a person such an income stream forever. (no argument from me on trademarks, however, they are forever as long as they are protected and actively used)

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Something is definitely wrong with patent and copyright law if contracts can be constructed that give a person such an income stream forever.

 

As has been said ad nauseum, this has nothing to do with copyright or patent. It's a contractual dispute.

 

BK Inc thinks it has a contract to collect a royalty for boats constructed per the Kirby construction manual. It also thinks it has a contract with ISAF and ILCA to only issue plaques to boats made by builders that have a contract with Kirby. A court will decide whether it has or not.

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does it really matter what the patent or trademark validity is? isnt this a contractual issue? ie, LP has it in writing that they were going to pay BK?

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All this money for a freakin' boat. I don't care if it is the most popular boat in the world, no one is entitled to an unending stream of money because 40 years ago they penned a design for a boat, wrote a song people enjoy, or wrote a book. Something is definitely wrong with patent and copyright law if contracts can be constructed that give a person such an income stream forever. (no argument from me on trademarks, however, they are forever as long as they are protected and actively used)

 

 

Hah! You should join the party - The Communist Party!

 

As I writer I subscribe to the recognition of intellectual property rights. We can argue about whether they should exist for 30, 50 or 100 years but they are essential to bring order to the marketplace.

 

If Kirby owned the Laser trademark, which he apparently doesn't, his rights would last forever as long as the trademark was used in commerce and defended against infringement.

 

Were he originally able to copyright his design, which appears doubtful, the copyright would last for 70 years after his death.

 

I cite these points as evidence that Kirby's efforts to protect his intellectual work are certainly well within the bounds of reasonableness. As I've said before it all turns on whether his original contract with Ian Bruce still applies to the current builders.

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RANT ALERT!!!!

 

While I was typing this sorta got out of hand....

 

 

snip>>> no one is entitled to an unending stream of money because 40 years ago they penned a design for a boat, wrote a song people enjoy, or wrote a book. <<<snip

Something tells me you have never developed a new product, written a song, or authored a book.

 

in fact...just guessing here...But my bet is you don't bring a sharable roll of duct tape to regattas.

No offense intended. I just want to know if any or all of the impressions your post gave me are true:

 

1. You do not own a self proprietor business.

2. You do not own a multi person boat upon which your friends get to ride at your expense

3. You do not have a multi deck trailer you share with your friends for use getting to singlehanded sailboat event.

4. You do not have a toolbox of spare parts from which friends may mooch at a regatta so they can finish the event and refill your stash next week

5. You do not bring a cooler full of beverages to any regular gatherings like fleet sailing night or even football game watch parties.

6. You rarely or never host parties

7. You are not and never have been a fleet captain, district secretary, or a club officer of any type at any time ever.

8. You never host sailboat regattas

 

If I am wrong about my impression. I will be surprised and if I am entirely incorrect, I will have to revaluate a lot of things I tend to think about people based upon my early impressions...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Or not...because I really don't give a hoot...

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Here is my impression about what Kirby is doing and why:

 

He and a bunch of friends figured out how to build a pretty decent sailing toy and wanted to tell EVERYBODY to come out and play with them. Lots of others have tried to do that in the history of this planet. Nobody has ever managed to get so many to come out to play on one kind of boat so many times and in such large groups for so many years.

NOBODY!!!

 

I sure tried. I worked at a company that built a boat called a Copperhead and another called a Sidewinder at the same time Kirby and his buddies were introducing the Laser. Our two boats were sailed in the same 1969 One of a kind Regatta...(The Americas Teacup) where the Laser made its initial big very positive impression. The company with which I was affiliated had resources that dwarfed those available to Kirby and his buddies ( Well actually they could have brought their design to us and had us build it and our fiberglass con struction experts would have likely teamed with his rigging and sailmaker experts and the laser would have been a hell of a lot better and more durable and less expensive and started off with a much bigger push than it did) But his pals and Kirby didn't. They went at it on tehrir own and took three years to get the first production boat out.

Anyway, our not as good as a Kirby boats hit the market faster and sooner and harder and more thoroughly than the laser and by the time Kirby got his first boat in production , we already had a thousand each of ours. We had dealers all over North America and we had everything...except our rig sucked and our class management was just not very good at all...No pozazz. Nothing at all like the laser..

 

There were lots of other guys building their version of the monopoly company perfect boat for all people to have and sail. Force 5ive, Banshee, US 1, dagger, Super Sunfish, ..there were hundreds of them ..

You haven't heard of tehm because Kirby and his gang didn't set up those companies.

 

Laser happened. It really happened. Holy shit!! It happened!!! By the end of the seventies there were already almost 100,000 Lasers and there were 150 and 200 boat single regattas. There were world championships with extremely limited entry and many layers of qualification just to get in. Kirby and his guys developed a whole new game.

 

(So did Hobie Alter but this is about Kirby and monohulls not the other even more successful Hobie 16 explosioin)

 

THE SECRET!!!

 

The boat may be a little better than some of the rest, but the real thing was the promotion and organization. Lasers had money set aside from EVERY boat to PROMOTE. The builders spent lots of extra money promoting the racing. The worlds were held in a fleet of brand new supplied boats. NObody else even thought of that.

The mutual back scratching between the racing game, the class association and the builder was the brilliant business plan of Kirby and his buddies. The builders built facilitles able to create enough boats for the 1977, 1978 boom and when sales dropped back to an otherwise unheard of annual 10,000 boats, the company experienced its first huge financial faiure. As sales slipped on that which was not so much the new greatest thing, the builders stumbled and stumbled and, in North America, continued to stumble well into the 1990s.

Each new North American builder and Kirby held to the basic business model of promoting and contributing to the racing game while building the exact same boat for that game and the Laser game continued on while almost ALL other one design dinghy fleets pretty much folded up shop and stopped having builders of new boats.

Kirby held on to the model, "Support the game. Support the one design concept. Support the game and we will continue to hold on as the only real worldwide fleet of racing sailboats.

 

When Vanguard took over as builder ( And a couple years later I set up a class office in Austin) Laser sailing actually started to boom again. For the first time in twenty five years, we had fanatics in charge at both the builder and class office who were determined to take over the entire world of sailing AGAIN and the sales of lasers started to increase annually. The association membership rose dramatically, the participation in regattas started to pick up again....and then...

 

Shortly after I stopped running the class office, ( and we won't get into why as this rant is already testing my finger endurance and your attention span) Vanguard sold to the group headed by rastegar and things went into a tailspin.

 

rastegar and his fellow dumbasses dodn't even keep Chip Johns around to entirely dissect his brain and figure out how the hell he ran the ONLY growing and prosperous dinghy business in North America.

Thye knew EVERYTHING they understood they needed to know.

 

The Kirby plan where the builder beats the bushes for sailors and funds the class so it can beat the bushes some more was set aside.

 

rastegar and his guys didn't think that Kirby's (the only successful business model in the last 40 years) was worth trying.

 

So they didn't

 

They didn't even try.

 

 

Nobody is doing all that stuff builders and associations and dealers need to do to make the special "Kirby and his buddies" plan work.

 

The singlehanded sailing game is NOT booming. In fact, the machine is running on its fumes and there are no spare parts and the place where Vanguard was building the boats their managers and owners so loved is quiet..

 

But..

 

rastegar

 

and his gang

 

 

own the name laser

 

 

and the logo.

 

 

.

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

SO FUCKING WHAT!!!!!

 

I want to race sailboats in huge fleets. There are already 200,000 of Kirby's design floating around out there and the problem is we do not have a builder who is fanatically building and supporting the game we love to play.

 

Kirby's idea is to make up a new name, build his same old sorta OK sailing toy and keep the party rocking.

 

I think of his move as a Get the fuck outta my way!!! I am gonna go play anyway.

 

Others are trying to point has move as a money grab. What the fuck is Kirby gonna do with a few million more bucks?? Do you suppose he is gonna buy a mansion and invite playboy Bunnies over to party??

The answer is obviously "Hell No!!" Too damned young....He is way younger than hefner.

 

The point is, we need to find ourselves a builder who will support the game and all support that builder while that builder supports a class management team while that class management team supports the game while the fleets support the sailors while the sailors support the fleets while we tell everybody where we are playing next and refuse to accept no for an answer when we invite them out to play...

 

and the dealers damn certain better stock spare parts and sails and new boats and even a few nice used boats and the builder damn certain better build top notch quality hulls and decks and warranty their product and support the class and the game and take all their profits and enjoy the hell out of their weekends out playing IN THEIR SAILBOATS!!!

 

I do not EVER want to see another person on the Laser Class payroll or involved in management at the Builder who does not love to sail the toys or at least manage the game by serving on RC on weekends.

If they don't passion for the game, it will show in their work. Get those people who don't like to play with us the hell out of the way so we can set up the party!!!

 

We can build a new game.

 

We already have lots of great available toys and anybody with a shop and anybody with a thorough knowledge of dinghy sailboat mass production, who agrees to abide by the Kirby contracts, can crank out new ones. (Melges Boat works, MFG Union City PA, MFG Gainesville Texas, and maybe others)

 

Seems like Kirby is trying to revive the patient not grab a pile of money...

 

You might decide to help...

 

 

 

 

Or you can all "take sides" with the guys who happen to own the trademark on the current name.

 

 

 

Note: I already took my turn and lumps as a class officer and class employee I really do not want to ever go to work for somebody else again. The only way I would get financially involved in the promotional and organizational end of this would be with a guaranteed contract with some form of 3rd party insured separation payment GUARANTEED regardless of the genesis of the eventual shitfight where I get my ass tossed out.

+1. go the torch. its about playing the game, not the logo on the ball.

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Seems like Kirby is trying to revive the patient not grab a pile of money...

 

Great post Gouv! A worthy rant.

 

I'm encouraged by the way this conversation here is turning more in favor of Kirby but pretty disappointed that too many still can't see the wood for the trees. Certainly there are lots of trees.

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Can someone explain to me ILCA/ISAF cock and bullshit story of "not to disrupt the supply of class legal equipment"? I have the last pair of stabilizers for your dolly sold in North America. You can not buy class legal gudgeons to replace the ones you broke in an dock accident. Need to replace your grab rail? Forget replacement plugs and those hole in the new grab rails will not match the old ones. Some one told me today that mast tops are out off stock.

 

Why in the fuck should I spend my money on this Iranian dyke? Our club sailing instructions state that non-class legal equipment is fine. Soon, Torch boats will be fine. You can be a member of the laser union, laser class, or torch class... first gun is 6:30 Wednesday night. Well said Fred Gouvernall.

 

I was still playing rugby when the vote was cast so I was not yet sailing again, but I am curious on the geo-demographics of the 7.25% of members who voted in 2011.

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This is Bruce's boat. Always was. That's the morally correct position, otherwise it's going to subvert the whole design industry.

He's had 40-odd years of revenue and by a plausible calculation here made north of $10M over that period. "Subvert the whole design industry" is being a touch dramatic, don't you think?

 

By the way, do you think patents last for ever? That would be 14-20 years in the USA. Design copyright? 10 years in the USA.

 

 

I never said anything about patents. That's a common mis-conception which even the ILCA lawyers fell foul of.

 

 

Sigh. Yes we all know there are no patents related to the Laser. You claimed this could "subvert the whole design industry". My point was that most forms of IP have a limited lifespan, yet IP-related industries function. You've also failed to grasp the cake analogy. Clean made the same point yesterday. If BK has copyright which remains valid in the construction manual, it doesn't help him too much. If you buy a pastry cookbook, you can't copy it and sell the copy but you can bake and sell the cakes. If you have the construction manual, you can use it to build boats. The copyright is in the manual (cookbook) not in the objects it describes.

 

It seems to me BK has a valid claim as to misuse of his trademark and is likely to get some compensation for that. But moving forward, its use can simply be dropped. As to his contract, that argument seems to rest on validity of novations as rights and companies have been sold and resold. I'm not sure anyone here either fully understands the facts in that respect and personally, even if I did, I certainly don't know how that relates to contract law in Connecticut.

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in favor of Kirby but pretty disappointed.....

This isn't a popularity contest. It's about claims in law. By all means, Rashegar makes a good villain but so what?

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Dog watch : you clearly have no knowledge on the subject.

And yes I am an expert on the subject.

Educate me then please. What have I misunderstood?

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The issue is not about IP.

 

Your cake analogy when pulled into line with the build manual : if you have an agreement with an entity to pay anmout of money for each cake you make pursuant to the recipe they have supplied as outlined in the agreement you are then required to make payment.

The word cake can be replaced with the word boat in the agreement BK has with the builder.

The terms of the agreement will specify the time duration of the agreement, renewal of agreement etc

Now before you eat that next bit of cake has the author of the recipe been remunerated, perhaps just saying it tastes good effects the transaction.

I think there is a few people ~Isaf / Ilca chocking on theirs at the moment, but I'm sure their lawyers will try to clear their throat, for remuneration of course. I'd let them choke!

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Sure - you are rather confusing my views on a point made by one other poster here with my views on BK's claim.

 

Turning to your comments on the latter, this goes back to the question of whether BK in fact has such an agreement, given the sequence of novations involved. At one point I'd concluded he did. Now, given transactions others have more recently mentioned here, I'm far from certain the documents in the filing prove that one way or the other. The lovely word novation has formed part of my business life for the last couple of years and with respect, if anyone here is an expert on that subject, in the laws of Connecticut, I'm yet to see it. If anyone has a full account of the transactions that have gone on related to the agreement BK claims, I'm yet to see it.

 

IP is - might be - relevant because if the contracts are found void, there could be legal claims in IP. As far as use of the Kirby trademark goes, there almost certainly is a claim. Otherwise, it looks like not so much.

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@Wildwavedesign: have you actually read the contract between BK/BK Inc. and LP and are you citing it? Has it been published?

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Good rant Gouv. But in kicking off with the Torch you are rolling the dice and hoping that the same class building process that worked originally with the Laser will work again.

 

There are a few problems with this. Firstly, this is a global solution to a local problem. Admittedly NA and Europe might be the largest markets but they're not the only ones. How keen for example do you think the thousand odd laser class members in AUS and NZL will be when you ask them to throw away the class that is doing pretty well for them, and sign on to a new startup that may or may not succeed?

 

Secondly, if the Torch does get going, do you really think Rastegar will stop making boats called Lasers? He owns the trademark and will keep using it, with or without approved plaques. If he sells his boats for a little less than the Torch then every club that currently allows replica sails will be talking about allowing these cheaper, almost identical hulls into the Torch racing. Meanwhile, he will continue to have all the advantages in the marketplace that a hugely successful brand name like the Laser provides.

 

Thirdly, the people on the ILCA world council who I assume are working on solving this, well the ones I know fit your requirements perfectly. They love the boat, they love the class, they would be working tirelessly to solve this for the good of all laser sailors around the world. They're not on Rastegar's side, it may be unfortunate that his interests temporarily align with the class interests, but characterising this as the ILCA taking his side is juvenile.

 

The quality and supply issues are obviously a problem, but this is not the way to fix them.

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@Wildwavedesign: have you actually read the contract between BK/BK Inc. and LP and are you citing it? Has it been published?

Yes the documents can be found. There are indirect links elsewhere in this thread (or another thread on this board - too many threads!). I've read them. I don't think it's conclusive one way or the other, for reasons I've given elsewhere.

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Der- Dude

Only read what is on the net, I think as posted on SA.

As a Laser / Torch owner and in the marine industry I fully support BK.

The current front page of SA on the subject is indicative of gross misinformation.

Get their bloody act together !

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Our club sailing instructions state that non-class legal equipment is fine.

That sailing instruction is not valid, so if someone protests you'll have trouble...

 

We've drafted an SI that says that entry in "Laser" races is open to International Lasers, Kirby Torches and anything else with essentially identical hulls if we need it, but we can't change RRS 75 in it if someone cares to protest. Exactly what class rules apply to which boat in those circumstances in respect to RRS 75 is something we intend to kick straight upstairs to the NA if someone does protest, 'cause we're not sure how to interpret the rule. Hopefully no-one will protest.

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in favor of Kirby but pretty disappointed.....

This isn't a popularity contest. It's about claims in law. By all means, Rashegar makes a good villain but so what?

 

 

I never said it was a popularity contest. Please stop putting words in my mouth

 

Just to be clear, I outlined my position in Post #323 which I'll repeat below for your benefit.

 

As for novation, Kirby and his legal team who surely are not strangers to the principle of novation obviously don't believe that to be a problem.

 

For the benefit of others here, a novation in simple terms is the agreement of parties to a contract to substitute a new contract for an old one. It extinguishes the old contract. Kirby was a party to the original contract and benefitted from its terms though a number of builder turnovers until Rastegar took over LP and other companies and stopped paying royalties only a couple of years ago. Of course I don't know but I doubt if Kirby waived his previously established and recognised rights to payment.

 

OK, we agree that all the evidence confirms there was never a patent or an attempt to patent.

 

I believe history shows Kirby did NOT trademark the Laser name. The first manufacturer, Ian Bruce, did.

 

Kirby states, and I believe him, that he entered into a contract with Ian Bruce's company for a modest percentage paid for every boat produced. He also claims that that contract survives and carries through all subsequent builders.

 

Kirby has some pretty solid precedent on his side here. The agreement is still honoured today by builders other than those controlled by Rastegar. And in that instance it has been honored for 40 years until Rastegar-owned companies pulled the plug a couple of years ago.

 

Looks as if Kirby has received scant support from ILCA and ISAF. He has worked for two years to resolve this before resorting to a lawsuit.

 

I don't pretend to know the intricacies of the the ILCA or ISAF positions. However I believe that whatever they want or decide should be subordinate to the agreement. Is it still valid? The court will decide that.

 

All rather simplistic, I'll agree, and it will be up to the Courts to sort this out. That's going to take a long time, absent any negotiated settlement.

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Correct me if I am wrong but the way I read ISAF on issuing building plaques (page 7 of ISAF Entry Guidelines) : the fee for issuing a building plaque is 0.4% of new boat price not including sails.

Kirby's royalty is 2% wholesale, way less than 4% retail (less mainsail).

I'd think the Laser is probably more than 90% ISAF coffers. Where does the ISAF lawyers fees come from ?

Looper did some rough plausible calculations

 

That being said, has else anyone done any crude math on those royalties? Let's just say that on the 40 year average the boat cost is $2500. At a 2% cut with over 200000 hulls made, that's a little bit over $10 million bucks since conception! I wish I could draw up something on the back of a napkin that I could license to others that would bring in a quarter of a million annually for the next 40 years. Major props to BK for making that work.

 

On that basis ISAF's 0.4% would be around $2M over the course of 40 years. Or straight-lining (crude, obviously) $50,000 a year. It's probably less than that in recent years. ISAF's annual income is of the order of $3M http://www.sailing.org/about/isaf/annual-report.php. Your surmise therefore that the Laser plaque makes up a significant portion of that income is not correct.

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As for novation, Kirby and his legal team who surely are not strangers to the principle of novation obviously don't believe that to be a problem.

We don't know what Kirby's lawyers think may be a problem. We only know what they've written in the filing.

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Wildwavedesign, you wrote two different things

: the fee for issuing a building plaque is 0.4% of new boat price not including sails.
Kirby's royalty is 2% wholesale, way less than 4% retail (less mainsail).

 

Decimal point in two different places. Which did you mean? I can't find a figure for the Laser but ISAF plaque fees are generally a few $, not the $100-ish that 4% would imply.

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I don't think 4% is correct. This (policy document) says a maximum of 0.4%. http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/02709ISAFPlaqueFeeCalculationRegulation26.3c-%5B7562%5D.pdf

 

ISAF Plaque Fee Calculation
Amendment to Regulation 26.3©
A submission from the Executive Committee
Proposal
26.3 There shall be an executed agreement between the ISAF Ltd., the Class/Owners
Association and where relevant the Trademark, Trade Name and the Copyright Owner.
This agreement shall include at a minimum the following matters:
© agree on the amount of the ISAF fee for each boat which is based on
recommended as 0.4% on the first £20,000 then 0.2% on the next £70,000 and
0.1% on the amount above £90,000 of the average retail price of a complete new
boat without sails as a guideline for negotiation;

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ISAF : page 10 Entry guidelines ~

 

10.3 There shall be an executed agreement between the ISAF Ltd., the Class / Owners Association and where relevant the Trademark, Trade Name and the Copyright Owner. This agreement shall include at a minimum the following matters:

(a). Define, if any, the ownership of the Copyright , Trade Name and Trademark and establish the rights granted and the responsibilities, obligations and restrictions that apply to the use of such rights generally and among the parties to the agreement ;

 

(B). where a licensed builder system is to be adopted, established the procedure for granting licences and control of the licensed builders ;

 

©. agree on the amount of the ISAF fee for each boat which is based on 0.4% on the first £20,000 then 0.2 % on the next £70,000 and 0.1% ....

 

(d). define the method of issuing and using ISAF plaques, if any, Sail numbers, measurement forms, measurement certificates, changes to class rules and any other documentation affecting the ownership and the use of the boat ; and

 

(e). provide that the Class organization and members of the class shall act in accordance with the ISAF Constitution, Rules and Regulations.

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^

Yeah. 0.4% not 4%. My calculations stand. Estimated income to ISAF from Laser plaques of the order of $50,000 per annum.

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in favor of Kirby but pretty disappointed.....

This isn't a popularity contest. It's about claims in law. By all means, Rashegar makes a good villain but so what?

 

 

I never said it was a popularity contest. Please stop putting words in my mouth

 

That's a fair comment which I accept. There's an emotional spasm going on here confusing sympathy with Kirby with a conviction he must be right. However I should have directed my remarks on that elsewhere.

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Can't correct the weird alterations above relating to (B) and ©

Yes my error on the decimal point Dogwatch.

 

Have all these above considerations as per ISAF Guidelines been met ?

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This is Bruce's boat. Always was. That's the morally correct position, otherwise it's going to subvert the whole design industry.

He's had 40-odd years of revenue and by a plausible calculation here made north of $10M over that period. "Subvert the whole design industry" is being a touch dramatic, don't you think?

 

By the way, do you think patents last for ever? That would be 14-20 years in the USA. Design copyright? 10 years in the USA.

 

I never said anything about patents. That's a common mis-conception which even the ILCA lawyers fell foul of.

 

Sigh. Yes we all know there are no patents related to the Laser. You claimed this could "subvert the whole design industry". My point was that most forms of IP have a limited lifespan, yet IP-related industries function. You've also failed to grasp the cake analogy. Clean made the same point yesterday. If BK has copyright which remains valid in the construction manual, it doesn't help him too much. If you buy a pastry cookbook, you can't copy it and sell the copy but you can bake and sell the cakes. If you have the construction manual, you can use it to build boats. The copyright is in the manual (cookbook) not in the objects it describes.

 

It seems to me BK has a valid claim as to misuse of his trademark and is likely to get some compensation for that. But moving forward, its use can simply be dropped. As to his contract, that argument seems to rest on validity of novations as rights and companies have been sold and resold. I'm not sure anyone here either fully understands the facts in that respect and personally, even if I did, I certainly don't know how that relates to coRt.

SIGH. Respectfully disagree. I said in another post that there is little in common between a cookbook which is destined and purposed for mass open sales with no requirement of a plaque to be attached to each cake sold as opposed to a manual which is of controlled availability due to it perhaps containing proprietary information, and the requirement of this manual and the information contained within to have been used in the building of boats in order for plaques to be issued. It also remains to be seen how the manual will be treated with respect to its use during the alleged breach of contract. I think it will be interesting how Kirbys lawyers approach this. But you carry on with your baking.

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The issue is not about IP.

 

Your cake analogy when pulled into line with the build manual : if you have an agreement with an entity to pay anmout of money for each cake you make pursuant to the recipe they have supplied as outlined in the agreement you are then required to make payment.

The word cake can be replaced with the word boat in the agreement BK has with the builder.

The terms of the agreement will specify the time duration of the agreement, renewal of agreement etc

Now before you eat that next bit of cake has the author of the recipe been remunerated, perhaps just saying it tastes good effects the transaction.

I think there is a few people ~Isaf / Ilca chocking on theirs at the moment, but I'm sure their lawyers will try to clear their throat, for remuneration of course. I'd let them choke!

 

WWD,

 

Some good points you are making. However, IP can not be excluded when considering the big picture. First off BK is claiming IP (broadly) in the form of a BK trademark and wants compensation because the name BK appears on the plaques. That is clearly a claim in the filing. It also appears that it is relevant that there is a Laser trademark from which value was extracted and is now owned by LPE (the reason why BK wants to make a Torch and can't call it a Laser).

 

The cake analogy is useful and applies. Not clear if it is a first, second, third, or fourth bite at the apple considing the trademarks noted above but its clearly in dispute. A challenge here I believe is that it is possible to make the cake (boat) without having the cook book and given the class sets the specifications/standards and LPE owns the trademark the cookbook may have limited or no value in the eyes of some. It may be possible for the class to say we don't want or need this (cookbook), its not worth paying for (they may feel they paid enought for Laser trademarks and BK trademarks), set specs, and tell anyone having the Laser trademark to go ahead and build. To do this they would need the class rules changed. Check. And they would need to remove BK's name from the plaque. Check. Will it stand up in court? Unclear. Would need to see the all the contracts, if and when they expired, how they get renewed, and what the terms were. At some point given the likely marginal value of the cookbook at this stage in time, if there is adequate consideration (value) could impact validity of any contract.

 

For many this seems to be a fairness question and certainly BK is playing that card hard and often. Given how much and how long he did collect that seems odd. In any field, rights eventually go away, but that does not change anything for most who just see a nice old guy that penned a boat a long time ago and is claiming he is being robbed. Few see the sharp businessman trying to maximize his revenue stream for as long as he can through whatever means he can. So a judge will decide unless a settlement is reached.

 

End of the day we have BK lined up against the class and builder and I think we are left with this:

 

Laser trademark - Builder/Class

 

Ability to set specs on what Laser is - Builder/Class

 

Ability to build boats to spec without cookbook - Builder/Class

 

Class rule that said need contract w BK (potentially brings cookbook into play) - BK (but class rule now officially changed/removed)

 

BK name trademark - BK (but class removing BK name from plaque potentially limits exposure to past)

 

Cookbook - BK (but likely not necessary to make a Laser to class relevant specs)

 

Contracts - The big unknown. Are they valid, needed, expired, renewed. I wonder if it comes down to contract validity... BK, what right do you claim as the basis for having them pay you forever?

 

I think BK has some leverage given his name was on the plaque and he has (claims) a trademark for same but I think the class and builders have higher ground.

 

Be interesting to see how it plays out. All any of us have is our best guess opinions based on what is out there.

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Our club sailing instructions state that non-class legal equipment is fine.

That sailing instruction is not valid, so if someone protests you'll have trouble...

 

We've drafted an SI that says that entry in "Laser" races is open to International Lasers, Kirby Torches and anything else with essentially identical hulls if we need it, but we can't change RRS 75 in it if someone cares to protest. Exactly what class rules apply to which boat in those circumstances in respect to RRS 75 is something we intend to kick straight upstairs to the NA if someone does protest, 'cause we're not sure how to interpret the rule. Hopefully no-one will protest.

 

It was agreed in our last annual fleet meeting that If the OEM is not able to service replacement parts (Ex. gudgeons) then equally suitable parts from other suppliers is acceptable. Simply put, we will not be held hostage by a dodgy supplier.

 

If an Opti-parent wants to protest, kick it up to national.

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I said in another post that there is little in common between a cookbook which is destined and purposed for mass open sales with no requirement of a plaque to be attached to each cake sold as opposed to a manual which is of controlled availability due to it perhaps containing proprietary information, and the requirement of this manual and the information contained within to have been used in the building of boats in order for plaques to be issued.

 

The cake metaphor is concerned with the copyright which BK (presumably) still holds in the copyright manual and whether that brings any support to his position. That's all. Nobody is arguing it describes the entire situation. Just one bite-sized chunk.

 

But those who insist (with BK) that it's all about contracts, not IP, can ponder this snippet from the FP.

 

And if he doesn’t have the right, he can’t license the right. And if he can’t license the right, any contract allowing him to license the right would, in most places, be void or unenforceable as a matter of law.

 

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Our club sailing instructions state that non-class legal equipment is fine.

That sailing instruction is not valid, so if someone protests you'll have trouble...

 

We've drafted an SI that says that entry in "Laser" races is open to International Lasers, Kirby Torches and anything else with essentially identical hulls if we need it, but we can't change RRS 75 in it if someone cares to protest. Exactly what class rules apply to which boat in those circumstances in respect to RRS 75 is something we intend to kick straight upstairs to the NA if someone does protest, 'cause we're not sure how to interpret the rule. Hopefully no-one will protest.

 

It was agreed in our last annual fleet meeting that If the OEM is not able to service replacement parts (Ex. gudgeons) then equally suitable parts from other suppliers is acceptable. Simply put, we will not be held hostage by a dodgy supplier.

 

If an Opti-parent wants to protest, kick it up to national.

 

 

it's odd- at our club last night the conversation over torches and lasers naturally drifted into replica sails. The result- a statement this morning saying that only class legal laser sails and parts are allowed in our club fleet. With the exception of 'beginners' (no definition, let's assume season 1/2 straight off the RYA learn to sail course) whose results will not count in the club / class series... that's encouragement for you.

 

Whilst rigging up for the evening race, there was also a not so subtle 'ticking off' for calling the class the Torch Class - even informally, especially in web comms/emails etc - and that our club and fleet exec position was to support the ILCA.

 

Speaking to a few folks on the quiet about the 'moral side' of the story this was the general response...

 

Trying_to_give_a_damn_animation.gif

 

Frankly I found it quite depressing, I thought we sailor folks were a little brighter than that... I guess many of us are, because even a few people I know who I might not always agree with in 'sailing stuff', certainly seem to have a very similar moral opinion to me. However I guess if the Laser boys want to fuck over the guy that gave them the boat they love then so be it.... not a lot of point moralising over it, and really not much point explaining the 'corporate angle' with regards LPE. It's cheap toasters from Walmart again.

 

Interestingly earlier in the evening there were some RYA execs wandering around auditing or something - all chinos and shore jackets ... I jokingly said, 'so what's your position on the Torch Class then'. They laughed, and replied, 'just smoke and mirrors, something of nothing from Bruce (Kirby) and nothing will change'. Not an official statement of course... but an interesting insight into the group think of sailing's bureaucrats.

 

I hope to fuck they're wrong.

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Our club sailing instructions state that non-class legal equipment is fine.

That sailing instruction is not valid, so if someone protests you'll have trouble...

 

We've drafted an SI that says that entry in "Laser" races is open to International Lasers, Kirby Torches and anything else with essentially identical hulls if we need it, but we can't change RRS 75 in it if someone cares to protest. Exactly what class rules apply to which boat in those circumstances in respect to RRS 75 is something we intend to kick straight upstairs to the NA if someone does protest, 'cause we're not sure how to interpret the rule. Hopefully no-one will protest.

 

It was agreed in our last annual fleet meeting that If the OEM is not able to service replacement parts (Ex. gudgeons) then equally suitable parts from other suppliers is acceptable. Simply put, we will not be held hostage by a dodgy supplier.

 

If an Opti-parent wants to protest, kick it up to national.

 

 

it's odd- at our club last night the conversation over torches and lasers naturally drifted into replica sails. The result- a statement this morning saying that only class legal laser sails and parts are allowed in our club fleet. With the exception of 'beginners' (no definition, let's assume season 1/2 straight off the RYA learn to sail course) whose results will not count in the club / class series... that's encouragement for you.

 

Whilst rigging up for the evening race, there was also a not so subtle 'ticking off' for calling the class the Torch Class - even informally, especially in web comms/emails etc - and that our club and fleet exec position was to support the ILCA.

 

Speaking to a few folks on the quiet about the 'moral side' of the story this was the general response...

 

Trying_to_give_a_damn_animation.gif

 

Frankly I found it quite depressing, I thought we sailor folks were a little brighter than that... I guess many of us are, because even a few people I know who I might not always agree with in 'sailing stuff', certainly seem to have a very similar moral opinion to me. However I guess if the Laser boys want to fuck over the guy that gave them the boat they love then so be it.... not a lot of point moralising over it, and really not much point explaining the 'corporate angle' with regards LPE. It's cheap toasters from Walmart again.

 

Interestingly earlier in the evening there were some RYA execs wandering around auditing or something - all chinos and shore jackets ... I jokingly said, 'so what's your position on the Torch Class then'. They laughed, and replied, 'just smoke and mirrors, something of nothing from Bruce (Kirby) and nothing will change'. Not an official statement of course... but an interesting insight into the group think of sailing's bureaucrats.

 

I hope to fuck they're wrong.

It's a shame that people seem to not care at all that this guy gave them a boat that they love still 40 years on. I can see people complaining about his receiving money (and I'm not getting into that discussion in this post) to this day for it, but what has been proposed basically ignores the guy who designed the (as Fred like to say) game they all love to play. Not only are they cutting him off financially (well, that money is going to go somewhere guys, don't think that suddenly lasers will be n% cheaper, it'll just go to a different pocket), but they are completely shutting him out of the system of racing that he set up and put years of his life into to get going.

 

Honestly, I think that the attitude to tell Kirby to shove off is disgraceful, I sure as hell wouldn't want to race in a fleet of guys with that attitude. I see the precedent that this is setting as not so much to do with financial compensation for a design or setting up an amazing class (that will get sorted out by lawyers), but more as officially endorsing the attitude that once a designer (or anyone for that matter) has "served their purpose" in designing, building, or organizing a boat/class, we can basically tell them to get lost. I have a feeling some people around here would say that this sort of attitude has been directed at people involved at all levels from class organizations to club committees, just never to such a high-profile case.

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Dog watch : you clearly have no knowledge on the subject.

And yes I am an expert on the subject.

Educate me then please. What have I misunderstood?

 

I gave the "cook book" analogy to try and explain in layman's language my opinion why our courts will not recognize copyright on a construction manual for an unregistered design. This whole construction manual discussion is a red herring. For a myriad of reasons my opinion based on the available facts is that there is no legal or equitable merit to a claim of copyright on the construction manual. Feel free to discuss other more interesting aspects of the case that we can discern from the record.

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The ILCA is NOT telling Kirby to shove off! All they are doing is trying to remove themselves, and the class members, from the middle of a fight between him and LPE.

 

Whether or not LPE owes Kirby royalties is a matter between them and the courts - ILCA's actions make no difference to that. All the rule change says is that the class isn't going to police the contract between them. ILCA have been trying to mediate for years, it's been obvious for a long time it will end in court.

 

If they don't do this, the Laser class ceases to exist. Rebranding to the torch will kill it.

 

If the court decides that LPE doesn't need to pay royalties, the class can then discuss then our relationship with Kirby. He's not exactly making friends at the moment though, is he.

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The ILCA is NOT telling Kirby to shove off! All they are doing is trying to remove themselves, and the class members, from the middle of a fight between him and LPE.

 

Whether or not LPE owes Kirby royalties is a matter between them and the courts - ILCA's actions make no difference to that. All the rule change says is that the class isn't going to police the contract between them. ILCA have been trying to mediate for years, it's been obvious for a long time it will end in court.

 

If they don't do this, the Laser class ceases to exist. Rebranding to the torch will kill it.

 

If the court decides that LPE doesn't need to pay royalties, the class can then discuss then our relationship with Kirby. He's not exactly making friends at the moment though, is he.

That is unbelievably naïve. What was the point in having the rule if it wasn't to protect BK in the first place? The rule put pressure on all builders to play the game morally and fairly and by changing the rule, the ILCA has sided against BK in a big way. And the ILCA has not removed themselves from the fight. They have put themselves right in the middle and if LPE lose in court, the ILCA will be finished and potentially liable for damages and costs. Knowing the way Rastegar plays the game, the ILCA and ISAF could end up liable for a huge bill.as the parties who don't have clever corporate structures to avoid getting burnt in case of a court loss.

 

You also seem to have forgotten that BK has been trying to negotiate with LPE, ISAF and the ILCA for a long time and the ILCA has refused to honour its previous obligations, as demonstrated by the rules, to ensure that the class designer is treated in a manner that was agreed years ago and which any decent person would see as being fair. I find it very informative that the other builders considered the contracts fair and enforceable and are siding with BK. It is only a builder whose business practices can be considered, at best, dubious and who have shown time and again that they do not have the interests of the class at heart that considers the contracts between them and BK void. So the ILCA has sided with the one builder they have that has demonstrated and stated that they have no interest in the class as an association and as a racing class, which is what the ILCA is all about.

 

As for the rebranding killing the class, I personally to believe that it wouldn't. Sailors (and potential new sailors) aren't as stupid as to not be able to get past a name change.

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Looking at the sequence of events, I am not sure why so many of you are critical of your class association.

 

The ILCA's rule change was not aimed at Mr Kirby. At the time of the rule change, Mr Kirby had already sold his rights. Furthermore, the rule change didn’t remove Mr. Kirby's right to obtain royalties under any agreement he has with the builders. Those agreements are contracts which are either enforceable or not enforceable in court. I think most members would prefer that their Class Association should not get involved with that contractual dispute.

 

The rule previously allowed that the builders had to be approved by ISAF, your Class Association and Bruce Kirby (presumably in his role as the original designer of the boat). I doubt that anyone who drafted the rule comtemplated that either of those three parties would try to assign that role to another party. For some reason, when Mr Kirby sold his contractual rights, he also tried to include in the sale his role in approving builders. Furthermore, he sold the "approval" right to a builder. It would seem to me inconsistent for any builder to be responsible for approving either themselves or another builder. I certainly cannot see the "sailors interests" to be protected by that arrangement.

 

All that the rule change did was narrow the role of approval to ISAF and the Class Association (elected by you guys). Mr Kirby had already stepped down from that role and it was inappropriate for a builder to assume that role.

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It would be nice to know who's really running LaserPerformance. I found this on the BrandChannel website.

 

Updated: Netto followed up with us to clarify that a "form letter" naming him as a creditor was dropped on his lap only a few days ago, when he learned about the bankruptcy. He also clarified the chain of events, including that the Maclaren bankruptcy filing in the U.S. was on Dec. 29th, but his employer didn't have the courtesy or decency to inform him before the letter. He also clarified that everything had been cordial between him and Maclaren management including Rastegar until he found out he had to "get in line as a creditor" —

"I was notified of the bankruptcy almost two months after it had happened — by a form letter from the court — with no forewarning. My employers, with whom I was in daily contact, had not told me of taking this action. I was not irate at the time of the bankruptcy filing on Dec. 29 because I did not know of it. I only became irate when Farzad told me he wasn't paying me and to get in line as a creditor. Therefore it is not an action taken to protect them from any irateness on my part — all they have to do is pay what they owe to avoid that."

Even though Farzad Rastegar's title is the CEO of Maclaren USA, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, where it operates a showroom, he controls the Maclaren brand and its various subsidiaries worldwide. Rastegar, a former non-executive director at the Apax Partners venture capital firm, acquired the Maclaren brand when its U.K. owner, Sunleigh, went into receivership in 2001.

Whatever happens to Maclaren, Rastegar isn't reliant on its income for a living. He also owns the Ronson lighter brand once owned by business legend Victor Kiam (another disastrous acquisition that led to a shareholder revolt) and Sail Laser LLC, which owns the LaserPerformance brand that Maclaren just announced it's sponsoring. Rastegar also owns various properties, including the building at 150 Wooster Street in New York's Soho area, where Maclaren opened a design showroom on the ground floor.http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/maclaren-us-bankruptcy-david-netto-030112.aspx

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If they don't do this, the Laser class ceases to exist. Rebranding to the torch will kill it.

 

He's not exactly making friends at the moment though, is he.

1. Explain why the name change would "kill it." Otherwise your unsupported claim is about as useful to the discussion as a reply of "No! It won't!"

 

2. Asking the folks you thought were your friends to back you up and being turned down is one thing. Having your friends team up with the other side on a dispute is heartbreaking. You can rest assured, the choice to name the ILCA In a Kirby lawsuit was extremely difficult and painful to the old man.

 

 

Kirby's attempt to put the toy we use for our game BACK under the control of sailors as opposed to businessmen who could care less about supporting fleets of families and friends who use those racing sailboats has been under attack fr the ILCA rather than supported.

There's a huge difference between "the boats you build Wil not be allowed to compete on our games unless you have a contract with Mr Kirby" and "we are changing our rules to remove that requirement and yaking the old fart's me off the offocisl class stickers so we can buy our toys elsewhere.

 

I've already posted earlier in the thread about why the name change would kill it. Do you think if Coca-Cola changed their brand they wouldn't suffer? Now picture Coca-Cola changing their brand to something else while another company continues to sell a product with the Coca-Cola name. What effect would that have? That's exactly where we are - with the Torch class kicking off Rastegar will still be able to market boats called Lasers - do you really think the brand recognition that goes with that doesn't count for anything?

 

Now look outside NA and Europe for a moment. In Australia, NZ, lots of other places, the Laser class is going well just as it is. You're asking us to risk that success, to risk all the hard work we've done here to build the class, to solve a local problem you have with your builder. I appreciate that it's a big problem, but why draw us into it?

 

Is Kirby really trying to bring the game back under the control of the sailors, or under his control? Whether or not you like the individuals concerned, the ILCA are the sailor's representatives. Does Kirby know what is best for me more than the guys running the class? I'm not so sure. Tracy and Andy are your NA representatives - these are guys who sail the boat and love the boat. They're not there fighting to line Rastegar's pockets - they're there fighting to save the game they love. And Kirby is trying (seemingly successfully at the moment) to drive a wedge between them and the grassroots sailors.

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The ILCA is NOT telling Kirby to shove off! All they are doing is trying to remove themselves, and the class members, from the middle of a fight between him and LPE.

 

Whether or not LPE owes Kirby royalties is a matter between them and the courts - ILCA's actions make no difference to that. All the rule change says is that the class isn't going to police the contract between them. ILCA have been trying to mediate for years, it's been obvious for a long time it will end in court.

 

If they don't do this, the Laser class ceases to exist. Rebranding to the torch will kill it.

 

If the court decides that LPE doesn't need to pay royalties, the class can then discuss then our relationship with Kirby. He's not exactly making friends at the moment though, is he.

That is unbelievably naïve. What was the point in having the rule if it wasn't to protect BK in the first place? The rule put pressure on all builders to play the game morally and fairly and by changing the rule, the ILCA has sided against BK in a big way. And the ILCA has not removed themselves from the fight. They have put themselves right in the middle and if LPE lose in court, the ILCA will be finished and potentially liable for damages and costs. Knowing the way Rastegar plays the game, the ILCA and ISAF could end up liable for a huge bill.as the parties who don't have clever corporate structures to avoid getting burnt in case of a court loss.

 

You also seem to have forgotten that BK has been trying to negotiate with LPE, ISAF and the ILCA for a long time and the ILCA has refused to honour its previous obligations, as demonstrated by the rules, to ensure that the class designer is treated in a manner that was agreed years ago and which any decent person would see as being fair. I find it very informative that the other builders considered the contracts fair and enforceable and are siding with BK. It is only a builder whose business practices can be considered, at best, dubious and who have shown time and again that they do not have the interests of the class at heart that considers the contracts between them and BK void. So the ILCA has sided with the one builder they have that has demonstrated and stated that they have no interest in the class as an association and as a racing class, which is what the ILCA is all about.

 

As for the rebranding killing the class, I personally to believe that it wouldn't. Sailors (and potential new sailors) aren't as stupid as to not be able to get past a name change.

 

No it's not naive, it's just avoiding the over-complication and speculation that is rampant in this thread. It's the perspective of a laser sailor who has been involved in running the class locally for many, many years. And it seems to be reasonably well aligned with what the ILCA head honchos are saying as well. You point out that BK is saying he has been trying to negotiate with the class, LPE, etc for a long time - well the ILCA say that they have been as well.

 

This whole issue keeps getting characterised as BK versus Rastegar. That's fine, then they should sort it out between themselves. If the class takes action to look after their own interests (ie those of the sailors), that doesn't mean they're taking sides. It suits BK to paint it that way, and it also helps that Rastegar is a comic book villain who has provided poor service to his market. But my loyalty first and foremost is to the class.

 

Does that mean the class doesn't owe a moral debt to BK? of course not, and I sincerely hope at the end of all of this that that debt is recognised and repaid, whether by a class rule that requires builders pay royalties or the like. But I fear that by the end of this there will be too much bad blood between Kirby and the class for that to work.

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Most likely the Lawyers are going to win, sailors are going to pay.

 

Lasers sailors are already paying way tooooo much for laser's, the parts and charters (partly because the cost of boats). These cost have really been hurting the sailors and the class.

 

Just look at the price of a new mainsail, somebody is being very greedy charging those retail prices for such a cheaply made sail. How much does it cost to buy a new Laser (it's just a tupperware) out of the box?

 

So the powers at be are greedy and explains why such a thing like this is going on. How much is this going to cost ISAF and indirectly us? I'm disappointed by ISAF and I'm curious how much royalty Bruce Kirby is asking for per boat ? Is it a lot?

 

I do support Mr. Kirby getting what he deserves and what was agreed on.

 

Let's just hope that the sailors doesn't bear all the cost of this and the price of a Laser doesn't goes up because of it. The price instead really needs to go down, It's just a fun piece of tupperware.

 

 

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In all seriousness, the Laser sailors seem to be reasonably well represented by their democratically elected class officers. How can you fault the steps they have taken so far?

When Mr Kirby attempted to convey the right to approve builders to A BUILDER, it was surely the right thing to do to change the class rule. It would be absurd for a builder to approve themselves.

 

Mr Kirby may have acted with the best of intentions but at that time but he stated that he was selling his contractural rights to the Australian builder for "Estate Planning" reasons.

 

I'm sure Mr Kirby is a great and colorful guy and part of the Class history, but why do some people think he will represent sailors better than the sailors themselves and their elected representatives??? How many Laser sailors did he consult when he went about choosing his builders for the Torch? What was the process for selecting them? Are they the best qualified for the job? How well connected is Mr Kirby to Laser sailors, sparkplugs and volunteers compared to say Tracy Usher?

 

If this is about Mr Kirby getting his money, then he either has a contract with the builder or he doesn't and IMO there is no need for the Class to get involved.

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That's not really the question, is it?

why do some people think he will represent sailors better than the sailors themselves and their elected representatives???d

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Please dont take up golf Mr Gouvrenail,

 

Your sport needs you and people like you. At the end of the day, the best people to oversee the approval of class builders is a class organization representing its class members like Gouver. They are the ultimate check and balance. They are soley looking out for the interests of their sailors. They are not designers seeking to protect their royalty income nor are they builders seeking to protect their oligopoly positions. Designers deserve their fees and can hire good lawyers to design good contracts. Builders deserve their profits and can hire good lawyers to protect their trademarks. But the only interest of the Class association is to protect their members.

 

If designers and builders want to fight about their fees and their trademarks, then there are plenty of lawyers who can assist them in their desire to fight. But the Class Association is only interested in serving their members. It is not the role of the class association to help someone collect money. All they care about is the sailors.

 

 

I fully realize the answer for most sailors is: Huh?

Few give a shit about this mess.

I miss sailing in huge fleets of one design boats.

With the demise of the North American Laser and Sunfish builder, my favorite game seems doomed.

Maybe it is time to brush up on golf and bowling

What is it about Lasers that attracts guys like Landt and Rastegar???

 

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That's not really the question, is it?

why do some people think he will represent sailors better than the sailors themselves and their elected representatives???d

 

Mr Clean. I believe you are correct. This may have nothing to do with representing the sailors. But Mr Kirby in his last announcement is changing the frame of reference from estate planning to representing sailors. I wonder if his lawyers are happy with his tendency to make public announcements. It will provide rich pickings for the other side when it comes to his deposition.

 

One's first advice to clients approaching litigation is not to say anything in public.

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in favor of Kirby but pretty disappointed.....

This isn't a popularity contest. It's about claims in law. By all means, Rashegar makes a good villain but so what?

 

 

I never said it was a popularity contest. Please stop putting words in my mouth

 

That's a fair comment which I accept. There's an emotional spasm going on here confusing sympathy with Kirby with a conviction he must be right. However I should have directed my remarks on that elsewhere.

 

 

Thanks. Appreciated.

 

You still owe me a better answer re novation. You're the one who raised it, hinting it could be killer for Kirby's case. I answered by saying Kirby's legal guys had to be aware of the possibility.

 

I'll readily admit to being sympathetic to Kirby's cause. But I've also been working pretty hard to understand the underlying issues. I can find nothing positive about Rastegar's actions and frankly I'm mystified why ISAF and the class association would abandon the guy who created their cash cow, admittedly right now a pretty skinny and poorly-fed cow.

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You still owe me a better answer re novation. You're the one who raised it, hinting it could be killer for Kirby's case. I answered by saying Kirby's legal guys had to be aware of the possibility.

Actually I am not the one who raised it, I'm just the first who has used the word. There are discussions from others earlier in this thread (IIRC within the last few days) regarding Kirby's sale and repurchase of businesses and the effect that may have. Or possibly they are on another thread. Sorry I can't locate those posts right now but they are around.

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I said in another post that there is little in common between a cookbook which is destined and purposed for mass open sales with no requirement of a plaque to be attached to each cake sold as opposed to a manual which is of controlled availability due to it perhaps containing proprietary information, and the requirement of this manual and the information contained within to have been used in the building of boats in order for plaques to be issued.

 

The cake metaphor is concerned with the copyright which BK (presumably) still holds in the copyright manual and whether that brings any support to his position. That's all. Nobody is arguing it describes the entire situation. Just one bite-sized chunk.

 

But those who insist (with BK) that it's all about contracts, not IP, can ponder this snippet from the FP.

 

And if he doesn’t have the right, he can’t license the right. And if he can’t license the right, any contract allowing him to license the right would, in most places, be void or unenforceable as a matter of law.

 

 

 

Ho, ho, ho! And I was beginning to think you were being objective in your comments. To understand the lawyer-speak offered by our lawyer leader you need to include a broader quote, to whit:

 

Any ‘design patent’ he may have had on the actual boat design has long since expired, while design copyrights for boats are not really available in a form that would help Kirby in any country we can find. And if he doesn’t have the right, he can’t license the right. And if he can’t license the right, any contract allowing him to license the right would, in most places, be void or unenforceable as a matter of law.

 

In other words, when he wrote this Clean wasn't even aware there was no design patent, despite his rigorous searching.

 

I'm not privy to Kirby's legal claims but they appear to turn on a contract to build a boat of his design and pay a percentage for the right to do so. Not a copyright, a simple written agreement. One that has endured for 40 years, through several builders, including I'm guessing, Rastegar - that is until he pulled the plug. Correct me if I'm wrong about this.

 

Frankly I can't comprehend the circular mumbo-jumbo from the FP that appears to confuse a duly registered copyright with the right to enter into a contract.

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^

I think you've missed Clean's point, which is the classic definition of a contract as offer, acceptance and consideration. Consideration means both sides need to contribute something. So "I promise to give you a sports car for your birthday" isn't an enforceable contract (in a common-law system) because consideration doesn't flow both ways. If BK isn't providing consideration, what he's got isn't a contract, it's only a promise. If he doesn't own IP, what's the consideration?

 

The situation seems to be that BK did have IP and did have a contract but the IP has lapsed and the contract has been novated. In that situation, does he still have an enforceable contract? In Connecticut? Damned if I know.

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Does that mean the class doesn't owe a moral debt to BK? of course not,

And that is the heart of the matter. The moral debt was being paid to BK by having a rule that made builders have an agreement with BK. That was his protection and the class's way of paying their moral debt. By removing that requirement from the rules, it instantly says the class has no moral debt to BK. And what you seem to have forgotten is that the class pushed the rule change through without informing the majority of the membership what was going on and the true implications of that vote. It did so well before the conflict reached its current situation and in doing so, it gave a very clear signal to LPE and BK as to where loyalties lay. If you would still vote for the rule change today, knowing what you do, you would be the first Laser sailor I have come across who would do that. All the other Laser sailors, on this forum, other forums and in person that I have heard have said they think what ILCA has done is wrong and that the ILCA has behaved immorally towards BK.

 

And you are totally wrong that it is only a dispute between BK and LP, as the ILCA and ISAF will find out if the case goes against LP. In that event, the ILCA will be finished and will also be liable for rather a lot of money. At this point, their only hope is that LP wins, which is rather ironic since almost everybody in the laser community thinks that LP is about the worst thing that has happened to the class in recent times and that LP acts against the best interests of the class.

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The info that ILCA put out when originally proposing the rule change is here: http://www.laserinternational.org/info/2011rulechangesvotingended23rdseptember2011. Apart from a few minor details it is remarkably consistent with what has since happened and with their more recent statements. This is despite a considerable amount of turnover in the World Council. Yes we know more of the background now, but to claim anything in the proposal is misleading or inaccurate is drawing a long bow.

 

When the rule change was originally proposed the overwhelming opinion on the web forums, etc. was to vote no, yet the final outcome was 89% yes. The lesson there is that only a very narrow but vocal minority of the class is active on these forums. Many of the people commenting here on this thread aren't even class members so have nothing to do with the vote anyway - yourself included I suspect.

 

Every action continues to be portrayed as either for Kirby or against Kirby, largely by him and his allies as it suits his claim to do so. What the ILCA is doing is neither - they are for the interests of their members, as they should be. It's unfortunate if those interests appear to temporarily align with LP over Kirby, but if his building contracts are valid, as his case claims, then LP will owe royalties to Kirby and continue to have to pay them for each boat they build, regardless of what the class rules say.

 

Kirby's solution to the whole mess is to throw away the Laser name and to start a whole new class. Even if I believe that the current class owes him a moral debt, I can't support that. I strongly believe it would be disastrous for the class to have to rebrand itself. I'm very happy that the decision makers in the class appear to agree.

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The info that ILCA put out when originally proposing the rule change is here: http://www.laserinternational.org/info/2011rulechangesvotingended23rdseptember2011. Apart from a few minor details it is remarkably consistent with what has since happened and with their more recent statements. This is despite a considerable amount of turnover in the World Council. Yes we know more of the background now, but to claim anything in the proposal is misleading or inaccurate is drawing a long bow.

Not misleading? What about the comment "...who claim to be representing Kirby's interests". They knew full well that Global Sailing was not just "representing Kirby's interests" but had BK himself actively supporting their position. That is vastly different. The implication from the covering documentation was that the ILCA didn't know whether Global Sailing was representing the interests of BK. They did know. They constantly say that it is a dispute between 2 parties and conveniently forgot to tell the membership of BK's involvement and his position. I personally believe that if people had known the true position, the feeling of "moral duty" would have prevented the vote going through.

 

Next, the document is totally misleading in 3 out of the 4 points it says to justify a "yes" vote.

 

Point 1. They knew that the dispute was with only 1 of the builders. By their own admission, they knew the threat from the other builders to stop supplying "Lasers" and set up their own class association. I believe that they have always known that by doing this they risked the other builders doing what they seem to have done, which is to stop supplying Lasers and to support the setting up of another class association.

 

Point 3. This is the biggest deliberately misleading comment. All the parties on both sides of the dispute were committed to maintaining the one design nature of the class and to build in strict accordance with the Laser Construction manual. This comment is clearly false and scare mongering.

 

Point 4. ISAF was not threatening recognition or removal of Olympic status.

 

The only point they were right about was point 2. "To maintain the ILCA in its current form"!

 

Another point that wasn't laid out was the fact that while they were correct that there may not have been sufficient quantity of new Lasers in Europe and other countries, they knew that to side with LPE might well threaten supplies in other markets.

 

The class membership were also not informed that the ILCA were told that to change this rule, or to keep issuing builders plaques, could make the ILCA a co-respondent in a legal case that if they lost, would wipe out the association

 

I suggest that if the position was set out correctly with all the facts to hand, the vote would never have gone through. In fact, the vote represented such a small number of the class membership it was a joke with most of the votes being cast very early , plus, I believe, that many now claim they voted before they really knew what was going on because they trusted of the campaign that went on to tell everybody to vote 'urgently". Most of the few who voted did so before BK made his position known.

 

Morally, which I know doesn't apply in a court of law, BK should win and if actual justice coincides with "natural justice", the ILCA is totally screwed. It certainly won't survive if BK wins and I am sorry to say I think it deserves to go down because of the way it has behaved. I just hope that if it happens, it doesn't kill off the boat as one of the best racing classes in the world.

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Thanks Simon- I think you have just summarised quite a few of our opinions over your last few posts.

 

However the sad reality is, that at club level a lot have a 'not my problem' mentality. They don't see themselves as 'new boat buyers' anyway, and seem to be bears of little brain in understanding that without 'new boat buyers' there's no aftermarket either.

 

All I can see happening around our club is a hard-line ISAF/ILCA endorsement and an increase in costs for parts - if/when they're available.

 

We're an RYA Championship Club with the usual superiority complex of a place which charges double the average membership fee of smaller ponds in our area. Maybe the Kirby Torch would be better received at those other clubs... I hope so, because any moral objections towards LPE seem to fall on deaf ears around our way, the minority of folks who would listen have usually already voted with their feet.

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I said in another post that there is little in common between a cookbook which is destined and purposed for mass open sales with no requirement of a plaque to be attached to each cake sold as opposed to a manual which is of controlled availability due to it perhaps containing proprietary information, and the requirement of this manual and the information contained within to have been used in the building of boats in order for plaques to be issued.

 

The cake metaphor is concerned with the copyright which BK (presumably) still holds in the copyright manual and whether that brings any support to his position. That's all. Nobody is arguing it describes the entire situation. Just one bite-sized chunk.

 

But those who insist (with BK) that it's all about contracts, not IP, can ponder this snippet from the FP.

 

And if he doesn’t have the right, he can’t license the right. And if he can’t license the right, any contract allowing him to license the right would, in most places, be void or unenforceable as a matter of law.

 

 

 

Ho, ho, ho! And I was beginning to think you were being objective in your comments. To understand the lawyer-speak offered by our lawyer leader you need to include a broader quote, to whit:

 

Any ‘design patent’ he may have had on the actual boat design has long since expired, while design copyrights for boats are not really available in a form that would help Kirby in any country we can find. And if he doesn’t have the right, he can’t license the right. And if he can’t license the right, any contract allowing him to license the right would, in most places, be void or unenforceable as a matter of law.

 

In other words, when he wrote this Clean wasn't even aware there was no design patent, despite his rigorous searching.

 

I'm not privy to Kirby's legal claims but they appear to turn on a contract to build a boat of his design and pay a percentage for the right to do so. Not a copyright, a simple written agreement. One that has endured for 40 years, through several builders, including I'm guessing, Rastegar - that is until he pulled the plug. Correct me if I'm wrong about this.

 

Frankly I can't comprehend the circular mumbo-jumbo from the FP that appears to confuse a duly registered copyright with the right to enter into a contract.

It's clear you can't comprehend it, but that's because you don't want to understand the basic legal concepts that rub you the wrong way. And you certainly don't know what I had and didn't have in my possession when I wrote the article.

 

Let me make this easy for the slow kids.

 

If Kirby had a design patent in Canada, a signatory to the PCT, it's expired. I believe he did have a design patent, but I'm not all that sure it would have been a valid one the way it was written.

 

Once a patent has expired, the right to sell or license it becomes vested in the public - in any PCT country.

 

Any agreement that extends beyond the life of the patent is VOID. (instead of voidable - that's the one thing i was wrong about on the front page).

 

This concept is at least 50 years old and very well-settled law.

 

http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/379/29/case.html

 

If he never had a patent in any PCT country and the old mess of agreements are actually in effect, Kirby may be able to get the royalties that he wasn't paid up until the present day. But it's gonna cost him an awful lot to get them, and the winner in this kind of case does not get his legal bills paid for by the loser. IP litigation easily runs into the hundreds of thousands, and then still easily into the millions.

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I can't believe I am commenting on this again, but for the sake of some unbiased readers here and for the sake of class policy anarchy (legal pedantry is a tautology btw), let me add this to this mother of all dinghy threads:

 

There were and are ILCA member who think that their class officers did not offer false or misleading information for the vote. I know several. I myself am one. The info was vague. But that does not necessarily mean they withheld information.They stated that they themselves were not aware of the all the implications and that the parties of the dispute refused to disclose basic information such as the wording of the contracts in order to assess the legal situation.

SimonN's assessment is based on conjecture, unless he knows exactly what went on between the ILCA, ISAF and the other parties involved before the proposal was aired, who threatened whom with what etc.

Judging from what has happened since, I believe the ILCA-information was pretty much spot on: there was a danger of the ILCA being tied up in lenghty court case, on that might lead to a split of the class and there was a danger of a gap in the supply chain. Violá: we have a court case, the ILCAs tied up and there might be a split of the class. What hasn't happened is the gap in the supply chain.

 

I too feel LP have done a very poor job for their customers, in NA and SA especially it seems. But they were and are the only licensed and ISAF-approved builder for those regions and Europe. Because their affiliates hold the trademark, the class can't approve another builder without changing the fund. rule again and getting ISAF approval.

 

Therefore I agree with redstar and IPLore that the proposal to change of the fundamental rule cannot be interpreted as the ILCA taking sides in the BK-LP dispute. It does not mean they are not honoring BKs rights, contractual or other. It does not mean they want him out of the game. They merely want the ILCA members out of the mess. It's important to consider that BK took himself out of the game temporarily when he sold his rights - valueable or not - to the Australian builder's holding company (if I remember correctly that's what BK himself said publicly) and that he wasn't back in when the ILCA launched the campaign for the vote. For all we know, he might sell them again tomorrow.

 

It may also be important to note that BK did not chose to sue LP only and for royalties only. It's the law suit that threatens the production of class legal boats, putting pressure on the ILCA to act (considerung how everybody is tied together, of course, BK can claim that ILCAs actions promped his law suit, an argument probably equally valid from his view - it's not a black-and-white world).

 

I couldn't care less what the boat is called, Laser or Kirby Torch (even though the name is pretty pathetic) or whatever, who builds it, as long as the builder observes the OD principles as agreed on by the class. I believe BK should be honored for his effort in desiging the boat and fostering the class. However, it should be the ILCA not a third party or a court who decides if and how they want to do it. If anything, we, the class members should learn from this that we should not let ourselves be taken hostage by commercial interests that do not align with our interests.

 

And btw: any ILCA member is free to propose and /or support a different class policy.

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The Laser (TGIF) design was never, never, never, never, never, patented.

The current legal proceedings have nothing to do with Copyright, Design and Patent Law in the hull / deck geometry (or the global look) of the Laser.

Further is nothing to do with Trademark laws.

 

Certainly has to do with trademarks. Read the filings.

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So, if there has never been a patent (and you used to be able to get design patents for boat designs btw), then

 

1) anyone can make a laser

2) anyone with permission to use the mark "laser" can call it a laser

 

Binding agreements to build something can be circumvented by moving the entities around, or by simply selecting new builders. Or, a court could invalidate the existing agreements because they are based on false information, or because there was no real consideration, or for a pile of other reasons.

 

The trademark issues are deeper and that's where the litigation can get mega-expensive.

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The Laser (TGIF) design was never, never, never, never, never, patented.

The current legal proceedings have nothing to do with Copyright, Design and Patent Law in the hull / deck geometry (or the global look) of the Laser.

Further is nothing to do with Trademark laws.

 

Certainly has to do with trademarks. Read the filings.

 

Everything to do with trademarks.

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clean- what's your opinion on what's best for the sailors?

As a non-laser sailor, i have no fucking clue! But based on what I know, it's pretty much impossible to recommend LP as a good company with a good reputation.

 

Over the past few years, we have had more complaints about LP than any other boatbuilder - and not just a few more, we're talking about dozens and dozens of people. I have heard from laser owners about terrible quality and service for both new boats and parts. I have heard from a handful of people inside the LP organization who hate working there and say the environment and management are bad. I've followed Rastegar through the McLaren baby finger chopper lawsuits, and the bankruptcy and entity-shifting shit they tried to pull to get out of them...nasty and unethical in my opinion, and ultimately the same decisionmaker.

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When Mr Kirby attempted to convey the right to approve builders to A BUILDER, it was surely the right thing to do to change the class rule. It would be absurd for a builder to approve themselves.

 

That certainly is one way a person could view the passing of the torch. (no pun intended)

 

Another interpretation would be:

Mr Kitby recognized the fact the Australian builder of his toys had a long record as both a businessman and supporter of the game.

 

I'm sure we could speculate on many different interpretations as to why the Australian builder wanted to buy those rights.

 

 

What we know is that:

 

1. Mr Kirby attempted to include his role as "approving builders" in the package of rights that he sold to the Australian builder.

 

2. Shortly thereafter the Australian and European builders got into a commercial dispute and the Australian builder threatened not to approve the European builder.

 

3. The current situation is that the role of approving qualified builders is reserved for Class Association members via their democrtatically elected representatives and ISAF... and that right is not for sale. The class's mandate is to act in the best interest of the sailors.

 

 

 

At the very least, selling the right to approve builders to another builder created a potential conflict of interest. The Australian builder could have refused to approve anyone other than themselves as a builder. I'm not suggesting that they would but the conflict of interest is very apparent. Who knows who they might have tried to sell it to next? What if a competing brand bought it and suspended all production of Lasers everywhere?

 

 

 

It was a nice feature of the class to keep the designer involved in the process of approving builders. He was highly regarded and had a vested interest in ensuring that something associated with his name was produced to a certain standard and quality. But once he relinquished that role, the rule became redundant.

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Put another way.

 

I think that Gouv would make an excellent contribution to the process of approving a new North American builder for the Laser. He knows a lot about boat building. He is passionate about the Class, the boat and the people. He volunteers a lot of his time to organizing events. He cares and he would try and help choose the best builder based on their merits.

 

However, I hope that if Gouv wanted to submit his own proposal for becoming a builder of the Laser, then he would see the conflict of interest and recuse himself from the approval process.

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clean- what's your opinion on what's best for the sailors?

 

As a non-laser sailor, i have no fucking clue! But based on what I know, it's pretty much impossible to recommend LP as a good company with a good reputation.

 

Over the past few years, we have had more complaints about LP than any other boatbuilder - and not just a few more, we're talking about dozens and dozens of people. I have heard from laser owners about terrible quality and service for both new boats and parts. I have heard from a handful of people inside the LP organization who hate working there and say the environment and management are incredibly bad. I've followed Rastegar through the McLaren baby finger chopper lawsuits, and the bankruptcy and entity-shifting shit they tried to pull to get out of them...nasty and unethical in my opinion, and ultimately the same decisionmaker.

 

It would be rather amusing if the Torch succeeded in displacing the Laser, because college single handed events would still have to be sailed in the Laser.

 

I understand there is a contract involved

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