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Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

It’s all official. Or at least nearly official. The membership of the Laser sailboat class just needs to vote yes to a change in its internal rules, and we may see fake Laser sailboats at the Paris 2024 Olympics. At least that’s what the Laser class wants us to believe. 

Fake Lasers are not Fake News. This is a scenario that is contemplated not only by the organization governing the Laser class but also by World Sailing - the international governing body of the sport of sailing, that oversees the sport globally and reports to the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the sailing competitions for the 2024 Olympics. 

The story goes like this. The change in the Laser class regulations will allow new companies to build the boat and to sell them with an alternate name and logo of their choosing, or even as generic boats without a name or logo - as a way to circumvent the existing Laser trademarks held by Velum - a sister company to the UK-based LaserPerformance corporation. 

The sailboats would be built according to the specification of the so called « Laser Construction Manual, » and would be controlled by the International Laser Class Association ILCA), but they would not be called Lasers. 

These are therefore « Fake Lasers » that the Laser class intends to propose to World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille. 

This plan has been in the works, in various forms, for a significant amount of time. Last March, the Laser class ILCA announced a name change to the boat, and then confirmed what we previously announced, i.e. that the boat would be called the « ILCA » dinghy. A trademark was applied for the “ILCA” dinghy in June 2018, and was approved on October 23 2018 for the whole European Union. Another trademark that ILCA attempted to register was for the « Gamma » sailboat, but that seems to be abandoned. Those applications were done by a Delaware « Weather Helm » corporation. 

The most recent approach by the Laser class is to allow the various approved manufacturers to name the boat as they see fit, or to sell them as generic boats, without a name. The Laser class - which is the International Laser Class Association - claims it can organize competitions with real Lasers along with these fake Lasers - either bearing no name, or bearing an alternative name. 

As France is located in a region where LaserPerformance controls the Laser trademark, there can’t be any real, genuine Lasers for the Paris Olympics without a direct trademark infringement. Hence what is now proposed by the Laser class, in the absence of negotiated agreement in the next two weeks, is those fake Lasers. World Sailing has indeed set an August 1st 2019 deadline for the parties to come to an agreement. 

The official position of the Laser class is that its priority is to convince the trademark owners to find a negotiated solution. But in its Sailing Illustrated editorial of July 17, the president of the class Tracy Usher states, regarding the question of trademark licensing to new builders, that « ILCA is not aware of any negotiation or discussions taking place between the three trademark owners. » 

The trademark owners are LaserPerformance (via another corporation called Velum), which owns the Laser trademark for the whole world, except two small markets in Oceania and East Asia, where the trademarks are owned by Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ). 

Under the current trademark agreements, neither PSA nor PSJ are allowed to export boats outside their own trademark area. This the system that the Laser class attempts to dismantle, following a request by World Sailing to introduce more free market competition in the sailing dinghy business. 

Commercial Opportunities for Aussie / Chinese Boats 

With the proposed rule change, the class would allow PSA, PSJ and any new approved builder to export those fake Lasers - either generic ones or bearing some alternative name - to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc ... all regions falling under the Laser trademark controlled by LaserPerformance. 

What needs to be remembered is that the Laser class terminated, on March 28 2019, LaserPerformance as a builder. Since then, apart from some exceptions granted with the mediation of World Sailing, dealers located in markets controlled by LaserPerformance, i.e. most markets in the world, cannot legally procure boats for their customers. 

At the mid-year World Sailing meeting, the Laser class came up with a long list of builders that expressed interest. But until there is approval by World Sailing, these will remain expressions of interest, and some interested builders have privately expressed concerns about the complex and costly requirements imposed by the class. 

Until its termination, LaserPerformance was by far the most dominant player. Now, the main builder is Performance Sailcraft Australia - a company that has also been involved in the past few years in developing the new « C » rigs for the boat. The intention, backed by the Laser class president, is to ultimately change the existing rigs (sails, masts, booms) of the boat and to replace them with those new C rigs globally. 

The number of boats typically produced by LaserPerformance is around 2000 per year, versus just about 250 boats for PSA and some 50 boats for PSJ. 

The termination of LaserPerformance means that their 2000 boats, i.e. over 80% of the market for new boats globally, is up for grabs. This is seen as a lucrative opportunity in some quarters, quite evidently. 

In the past days, there has been word of talks between PSA and Chinese boat builders - in order to get boats produced in China at very low cost. There are indeed already several builders in China producing dinghies, such as the Club 420 and the Optimist, to name just two examples. Current Laser builders are located in high labour cost countries, particularly PSA in Australia, where the minimum wage nears AUS$ 20 per hour, i.e. about 10 times higher than in China. 

The scenario one hears about is for PSA to subcontract to a Chinese producer for large amounts of boats annually, and then the boats to be exported globally. We are talking here about thousands of boats annually, hence a huge increase compared to PSA’s current production. 

For this commercial plan to work, in most countries, the boats cannot be Lasers. The fake Lasers would instead be produced and exported, either under an alternate name like “ILCA”, or without a name. 

If very low cost fake Lasers are produced in China and exported globally, it’s obviously unlikely that many new builders, if any, will emerge. 

Maybe there won’t be any candidate, especially as there are indications that new builders would have to pay relatively steep annual fees - figures of US$100,000 and US$200,000 annually have been mentioned by the Laser class in that regard. 

Doubts can even be expressed about the viability of the Japanese builder, which is said to produce just some 50 boats per year. 

Another hurdle for new builders are the design fees on the Laser, to be paid to the New-Zealand corporation Global Sailing, which is closely related to PSA. The company bought those rights to the Laser Construction Manual from Bruce Kirby, apparently in 2009, but it’s unclear if those rights are valid. 

It appears that LaserPerformance, when still producing boats, was not paying royalties for those rights. New builders, to be approved, are however asked to do so by the Laser class. 

European Laser class officials have asked for the reinstatement of LaserPerformance as a builder, something the company is asking through a joint inspection by World Sailing and ILCA. 

No-one contests the conformity of the boats produced by LaserPerformance, and the company actually provided 120 boats for the ongoing World Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland. But there is obvious opposition to the reinstatement of LaserPerformance, which would jeopardize the above described commercial scenario. 

Will LaserPerformance start litigation for trademark infringement? Very likely, if it has not started yet, because of the major financial losses to be incurred if the Laser trademarks become sort of irrelevant. This will be a complex case, with multiple jurisdictions involved. 

Remember that there is still ongoing court proceedings for the previous attempt, that time by Bruce Kirby, to change the name of the Laser to the “Kirby Torch” in 2012. At the time, the Laser class stayed outside the case. This time, ILCA will be at the center of it, with hefty legal fees at stake. Who will pay for ILCA’s hefty legal bills, if not the members? 

LaserPerformance takes litigation seriously. For example, in 2012, it sued the Belgian dealer OptiTeam for importing and selling boats and parts manufactured by PSA. The judge ruled in favor of LaserPerformance. An appeal was denied in 2015 and the 2013 judgement was upheld. Apparently, OptiTeam filed for bankruptcy and LaserPerformance was unable to collect damages. 

If a legal war over intellectual property rights emerges between LaserPerformance, ILCA and PSA, it may take multiple years before things are adjudicated in court. Until then, it’s unclear if dealers will dare distributing fake Lasers as there will be risks of having to pay substantial financial compensations to LaserPerformance. Pretty fast, there will also be shortages of parts, sails, etc. 

The irony is that, except in a few regions such as North America, dealers are not complaining that much about LaserPerformance. Many of them, particularly in Europe, actually have pretty positive business partnerships with the company. Those companies are not interested in distributing fake Lasers and in taking substantial legal risks by doing so. But they may have to if they want to continue to serve the sailors. 

For the fake Lasers to become a reality at the Paris Olympics, several hurdles remain to be cleared. First, World Sailing will need formally approve the class rule allowing for multiple brands and generic boats to be sailed under the umbrella of the Laser class. It’s not clear how World Sailing will react this time. Last April, following the announcement of the name change to “ILCA Dinghy,” World Sailing reacted nearly instantly and clarified its position. 

In its April 27 statement, it can be read: “World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy” ... “World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing” ... “World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations” ... “World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers' position concerning production and intellectual property rights.” 

For the fake Lasers to be Olympic, the International Olympic Committee will also need to ultimately approve the fake Lasers as equipment for the games. 

And of course, the Laser class will need to successfully defend its actions in court. There may also be court cases against dealers, against PSA and new builders. 

The Laser class asserts that voting yes for the rule change “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics.” 

Obviously, this is just a slogan as there is absolutely no guarantee for that. 

Unlike what ILCA claims, there is no guarantee that the fake Lasers will make it at the 2024 Olympics. 

The rule change actually opens a gigantic can of worms that may have much more detrimental effects on the Laser class than losing its Olympic status. 

The reported lack of action by the trademark owners towards resolving their differences may actually be a direct consequence of the proposed rule change and the substantial commercial opportunities if could in theory generate for one of the key parties to the dispute. 

Vote Rigging 4 Fake Lasers 

Well before the rule change vote was announced earlier this month, it was well known that there was substantial opposition, particularly in Europe. 

For example, The European Laser class EurILCA issued on May 30 a circular titled « Laser Standard and Laser Radial Stay as Olympic Boats, and Now? » The circular calls for keeping the Laser name and rejects a name change to ILCA dinghy. 

There was also a petition, that received over 600 signatures, including from famous sailors such as Robert Scheidt, calling for keeping the Laser name and rejecting the changes proposed by ILCA. Actually, the petition was calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership. 

In short, the ILCA leadership knew very well that there was opposition to their plans. 

Yet, not only was the rule change vote launched at the very last minute - on July 1, but some will argue one day too late on July 2 - but it is also presented to sailors in a biased manner skewed in favor of the rule change. 

The ballot itself reads that one must vote yes “to secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements.” 

Voting yes to the class rule “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics” asserts ILCA on the ballot. 

“To secure the future of our class, please ... vote “Yes” 

This sloganism in the ballot implies that a no vote would be the end of the Laser at the Olympics and absence of future for the class - nothing less. 

The ballot is obviously biased and unfair, and should never have been put forward as such to the membership. 

But there is more. 

The vote is conducted on an online survey called SurveyMonkey, which is geared at conducting surveys, not at voting, while there are many online professional voting systems out there that should have been used. 

The SurveyMonkey ILCA ballot does not allow anonymity in the vote, while this would be preferable, especially given the nature of the vote and the divisions it induced within the membership 

And a form must be filled out, but there is no control of the membership status (paid, unpaid) of those voting. 

There is no centralized database of the Laser class members worldwide, so on July 31, the Laser class should get in touch with all the districts / national associations and receive instantly the confirmation of the membership status for each of the votes - which is not possible to be done instantly. 

So, because the class started the vote so late, there is no reasonable way to expect an accurate count by August 1st. 

The Laser class is in fact in gross conflict of interest. In normal democratic elections, there are neutral parties to oversee the voting. Here the vote is conducted by a party to the vote, that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, i.e. a Yes vote. 

And there is more. The SurveyMonkey interface allows for those who run the vote to receive instant notification of the votes. Each time there is a vote, it’s possible to receive an alert, and also to access the voting data and statistics. 

This means that ILCA, which is a party to the vote, can monitor the vote and adapt its already biased and unfair campaign strategy accordingly. 

All these elements concur to one conclusion: the voting process implemented by the Laser class is grossly rigged and undemocratic. 

There was no need for that. And it’s a bit of a disgrace, particularly in light of the fact that for many members who are minors, it will be the first time they vote. 

To win, the yes requires a two third majority. This may look as a tall order, but with all the bias towards the yes, the fact that most members have no clue about what is going on, the low turnout typically taking place for such vote, and the low key attitude of EurILCA, which recommended to vote No, the Yes may well win. 

Whatever the outcome of the vote, it may not change things that much, as without an agreement among the parties, ILCA’s Plan B, with its fake Lasers, is not that realistic after all. 

The only proper action by ILCA to remedy this class rule vote masquerade is to withdraw it. That won’t happen of course. 

Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the vote or trying to further influence it with its recent assault on social media, ILCA may want to redouble its efforts and work much harder, with the help of World Sailing and possibly professional mediators, to reach an agreement among all the parties, including PSA and LaserPerformance. 

Because, ultimately, an agreement may be in the interest of everyone. 

Who actually wants to see fake Lasers at the 2024 Olympics? 

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Another "boats built to a 50 year old construction manual, monitored by a class association, formerly known as a Laser" thread?  Can we call just call it a BFKAAL and get on with it?

And who cares what logo is on the BFKAAL?

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14 minutes ago, Editor said:

Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

I

Pssst! Editor! In case you missed it, there are a kazillion posts on this subject under a variety of headings and virtually everything you wrote above has been debated thoroughly with sides well-drawn.  Thank God you have started another thread. 

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1 minute ago, bill4 said:

Pssst! Editor! In case you missed it, there are a kazillion posts on this subject under a variety of headings and virtually everything you wrote above has been debated thoroughly with sides well-drawn.  Thank God you have started another thread. 

oh fuck off, it is here in article form. 

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18 minutes ago, Editor said:

Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

It’s all official. Or at least nearly official. The membership of the Laser sailboat class just needs to vote yes to a change in its internal rules, and we may see fake Laser sailboats at the Paris 2024 Olympics. At least that’s what the Laser class wants us to believe. 

Fake Lasers are not Fake News. This is a scenario that is contemplated not only by the organization governing the Laser class but also by World Sailing - the international governing body of the sport of sailing, that oversees the sport globally and reports to the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the sailing competitions for the 2024 Olympics. 

The story goes like this. The change in the Laser class regulations will allow new companies to build the boat and to sell them with an alternate name and logo of their choosing, or even as generic boats without a name or logo - as a way to circumvent the existing Laser trademarks held by Velum - a sister company to the UK-based LaserPerformance corporation. 

The sailboats would be built according to the specification of the so called « Laser Construction Manual, » and would be controlled by the International Laser Class Association ILCA), but they would not be called Lasers. 

These are therefore « Fake Lasers » that the Laser class intends to propose to World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille. 

This plan has been in the works, in various forms, for a significant amount of time. Last March, the Laser class ILCA announced a name change to the boat, and then confirmed what we previously announced, i.e. that the boat would be called the « ILCA » dinghy. A trademark was applied for the “ILCA” dinghy in June 2018, and was approved on October 23 2018 for the whole European Union. Another trademark that ILCA attempted to register was for the « Gamma » sailboat, but that seems to be abandoned. Those applications were done by a Delaware « Weather Helm » corporation. 

The most recent approach by the Laser class is to allow the various approved manufacturers to name the boat as they see fit, or to sell them as generic boats, without a name. The Laser class - which is the International Laser Class Association - claims it can organize competitions with real Lasers along with these fake Lasers - either bearing no name, or bearing an alternative name. 

As France is located in a region where LaserPerformance controls the Laser trademark, there can’t be any real, genuine Lasers for the Paris Olympics without a direct trademark infringement. Hence what is now proposed by the Laser class, in the absence of negotiated agreement in the next two weeks, is those fake Lasers. World Sailing has indeed set an August 1st 2019 deadline for the parties to come to an agreement. 

The official position of the Laser class is that its priority is to convince the trademark owners to find a negotiated solution. But in its Sailing Illustrated editorial of July 17, the president of the class Tracy Usher states, regarding the question of trademark licensing to new builders, that « ILCA is not aware of any negotiation or discussions taking place between the three trademark owners. » 

The trademark owners are LaserPerformance (via another corporation called Velum), which owns the Laser trademark for the whole world, except two small markets in Oceania and East Asia, where the trademarks are owned by Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ). 

Under the current trademark agreements, neither PSA nor PSJ are allowed to export boats outside their own trademark area. This the system that the Laser class attempts to dismantle, following a request by World Sailing to introduce more free market competition in the sailing dinghy business. 

Commercial Opportunities for Aussie / Chinese Boats 

With the proposed rule change, the class would allow PSA, PSJ and any new approved builder to export those fake Lasers - either generic ones or bearing some alternative name - to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc ... all regions falling under the Laser trademark controlled by LaserPerformance. 

What needs to be remembered is that the Laser class terminated, on March 28 2019, LaserPerformance as a builder. Since then, apart from some exceptions granted with the mediation of World Sailing, dealers located in markets controlled by LaserPerformance, i.e. most markets in the world, cannot legally procure boats for their customers. 

At the mid-year World Sailing meeting, the Laser class came up with a long list of builders that expressed interest. But until there is approval by World Sailing, these will remain expressions of interest, and some interested builders have privately expressed concerns about the complex and costly requirements imposed by the class. 

Until its termination, LaserPerformance was by far the most dominant player. Now, the main builder is Performance Sailcraft Australia - a company that has also been involved in the past few years in developing the new « C » rigs for the boat. The intention, backed by the Laser class president, is to ultimately change the existing rigs (sails, masts, booms) of the boat and to replace them with those new C rigs globally. 

The number of boats typically produced by LaserPerformance is around 2000 per year, versus just about 250 boats for PSA and some 50 boats for PSJ. 

The termination of LaserPerformance means that their 2000 boats, i.e. over 80% of the market for new boats globally, is up for grabs. This is seen as a lucrative opportunity in some quarters, quite evidently. 

In the past days, there has been word of talks between PSA and Chinese boat builders - in order to get boats produced in China at very low cost. There are indeed already several builders in China producing dinghies, such as the Club 420 and the Optimist, to name just two examples. Current Laser builders are located in high labour cost countries, particularly PSA in Australia, where the minimum wage nears AUS$ 20 per hour, i.e. about 10 times higher than in China. 

The scenario one hears about is for PSA to subcontract to a Chinese producer for large amounts of boats annually, and then the boats to be exported globally. We are talking here about thousands of boats annually, hence a huge increase compared to PSA’s current production. 

For this commercial plan to work, in most countries, the boats cannot be Lasers. The fake Lasers would instead be produced and exported, either under an alternate name like “ILCA”, or without a name. 

If very low cost fake Lasers are produced in China and exported globally, it’s obviously unlikely that many new builders, if any, will emerge. 

Maybe there won’t be any candidate, especially as there are indications that new builders would have to pay relatively steep annual fees - figures of US$100,000 and US$200,000 annually have been mentioned by the Laser class in that regard. 

Doubts can even be expressed about the viability of the Japanese builder, which is said to produce just some 50 boats per year. 

Another hurdle for new builders are the design fees on the Laser, to be paid to the New-Zealand corporation Global Sailing, which is closely related to PSA. The company bought those rights to the Laser Construction Manual from Bruce Kirby, apparently in 2009, but it’s unclear if those rights are valid. 

It appears that LaserPerformance, when still producing boats, was not paying royalties for those rights. New builders, to be approved, are however asked to do so by the Laser class. 

European Laser class officials have asked for the reinstatement of LaserPerformance as a builder, something the company is asking through a joint inspection by World Sailing and ILCA. 

No-one contests the conformity of the boats produced by LaserPerformance, and the company actually provided 120 boats for the ongoing World Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland. But there is obvious opposition to the reinstatement of LaserPerformance, which would jeopardize the above described commercial scenario. 

Will LaserPerformance start litigation for trademark infringement? Very likely, if it has not started yet, because of the major financial losses to be incurred if the Laser trademarks become sort of irrelevant. This will be a complex case, with multiple jurisdictions involved. 

Remember that there is still ongoing court proceedings for the previous attempt, that time by Bruce Kirby, to change the name of the Laser to the “Kirby Torch” in 2012. At the time, the Laser class stayed outside the case. This time, ILCA will be at the center of it, with hefty legal fees at stake. Who will pay for ILCA’s hefty legal bills, if not the members? 

LaserPerformance takes litigation seriously. For example, in 2012, it sued the Belgian dealer OptiTeam for importing and selling boats and parts manufactured by PSA. The judge ruled in favor of LaserPerformance. An appeal was denied in 2015 and the 2013 judgement was upheld. Apparently, OptiTeam filed for bankruptcy and LaserPerformance was unable to collect damages. 

If a legal war over intellectual property rights emerges between LaserPerformance, ILCA and PSA, it may take multiple years before things are adjudicated in court. Until then, it’s unclear if dealers will dare distributing fake Lasers as there will be risks of having to pay substantial financial compensations to LaserPerformance. Pretty fast, there will also be shortages of parts, sails, etc. 

The irony is that, except in a few regions such as North America, dealers are not complaining that much about LaserPerformance. Many of them, particularly in Europe, actually have pretty positive business partnerships with the company. Those companies are not interested in distributing fake Lasers and in taking substantial legal risks by doing so. But they may have to if they want to continue to serve the sailors. 

For the fake Lasers to become a reality at the Paris Olympics, several hurdles remain to be cleared. First, World Sailing will need formally approve the class rule allowing for multiple brands and generic boats to be sailed under the umbrella of the Laser class. It’s not clear how World Sailing will react this time. Last April, following the announcement of the name change to “ILCA Dinghy,” World Sailing reacted nearly instantly and clarified its position. 

In its April 27 statement, it can be read: “World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy” ... “World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing” ... “World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations” ... “World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers' position concerning production and intellectual property rights.” 

For the fake Lasers to be Olympic, the International Olympic Committee will also need to ultimately approve the fake Lasers as equipment for the games. 

And of course, the Laser class will need to successfully defend its actions in court. There may also be court cases against dealers, against PSA and new builders. 

The Laser class asserts that voting yes for the rule change “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics.” 

Obviously, this is just a slogan as there is absolutely no guarantee for that. 

Unlike what ILCA claims, there is no guarantee that the fake Lasers will make it at the 2024 Olympics. 

The rule change actually opens a gigantic can of worms that may have much more detrimental effects on the Laser class than losing its Olympic status. 

The reported lack of action by the trademark owners towards resolving their differences may actually be a direct consequence of the proposed rule change and the substantial commercial opportunities if could in theory generate for one of the key parties to the dispute. 

Vote Rigging 4 Fake Lasers 

Well before the rule change vote was announced earlier this month, it was well known that there was substantial opposition, particularly in Europe. 

For example, The European Laser class EurILCA issued on May 30 a circular titled « Laser Standard and Laser Radial Stay as Olympic Boats, and Now? » The circular calls for keeping the Laser name and rejects a name change to ILCA dinghy. 

There was also a petition, that received over 600 signatures, including from famous sailors such as Robert Scheidt, calling for keeping the Laser name and rejecting the changes proposed by ILCA. Actually, the petition was calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership. 

In short, the ILCA leadership knew very well that there was opposition to their plans. 

Yet, not only was the rule change vote launched at the very last minute - on July 1, but some will argue one day too late on July 2 - but it is also presented to sailors in a biased manner skewed in favor of the rule change. 

The ballot itself reads that one must vote yes “to secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements.” 

Voting yes to the class rule “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics” asserts ILCA on the ballot. 

“To secure the future of our class, please ... vote “Yes” 

This sloganism in the ballot implies that a no vote would be the end of the Laser at the Olympics and absence of future for the class - nothing less. 

The ballot is obviously biased and unfair, and should never have been put forward as such to the membership. 

But there is more. 

The vote is conducted on an online survey called SurveyMonkey, which is geared at conducting surveys, not at voting, while there are many online professional voting systems out there that should have been used. 

The SurveyMonkey ILCA ballot does not allow anonymity in the vote, while this would be preferable, especially given the nature of the vote and the divisions it induced within the membership 

And a form must be filled out, but there is no control of the membership status (paid, unpaid) of those voting. 

There is no centralized database of the Laser class members worldwide, so on July 31, the Laser class should get in touch with all the districts / national associations and receive instantly the confirmation of the membership status for each of the votes - which is not possible to be done instantly. 

So, because the class started the vote so late, there is no reasonable way to expect an accurate count by August 1st. 

The Laser class is in fact in gross conflict of interest. In normal democratic elections, there are neutral parties to oversee the voting. Here the vote is conducted by a party to the vote, that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, i.e. a Yes vote. 

And there is more. The SurveyMonkey interface allows for those who run the vote to receive instant notification of the votes. Each time there is a vote, it’s possible to receive an alert, and also to access the voting data and statistics. 

This means that ILCA, which is a party to the vote, can monitor the vote and adapt its already biased and unfair campaign strategy accordingly. 

All these elements concur to one conclusion: the voting process implemented by the Laser class is grossly rigged and undemocratic. 

There was no need for that. And it’s a bit of a disgrace, particularly in light of the fact that for many members who are minors, it will be the first time they vote. 

To win, the yes requires a two third majority. This may look as a tall order, but with all the bias towards the yes, the fact that most members have no clue about what is going on, the low turnout typically taking place for such vote, and the low key attitude of EurILCA, which recommended to vote No, the Yes may well win. 

Whatever the outcome of the vote, it may not change things that much, as without an agreement among the parties, ILCA’s Plan B, with its fake Lasers, is not that realistic after all. 

The only proper action by ILCA to remedy this class rule vote masquerade is to withdraw it. That won’t happen of course. 

Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the vote or trying to further influence it with its recent assault on social media, ILCA may want to redouble its efforts and work much harder, with the help of World Sailing and possibly professional mediators, to reach an agreement among all the parties, including PSA and LaserPerformance. 

Because, ultimately, an agreement may be in the interest of everyone. 

Who actually wants to see fake Lasers at the 2024 Olympics? 

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2 minutes ago, Editor said:

oh fuck off, it is here in article form. 

So? 

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5 minutes ago, bill4 said:

So? 

so fuck off. read it, don't read it, i couldn't care less. Not everybody is as far up the Laser ass as you.

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2 minutes ago, Editor said:

so fuck off. read it, don't read it, i couldn't care less. Not everybody is as far up the Laser ass as you.

weren't you just complaining about biased leadership? ;)

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1 minute ago, Editor said:

so fuck off. read it, don't read it, i couldn't care less. Not everybody is as far up the Laser ass as you.

Someone hasn’t been reading their own forum....

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2 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

Someone hasn’t been reading their own forum....

dude, i just don't have time to read it all!

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Nice touch to call yourself "editor" whoever you are.

"Fake" is mentioned 19 times - and in many cases emphatically as if a future event has already occurred. 

"If" is mentioned 16 times, underscoring the degree of speculation.

---

1 minute ago, Editor said:

so fuck off. read it, don't read it, i couldn't care less. Not everybody is as far up the Laser ass as you.

Actually, I am. Though you should know I'm not in the habit of going away.

---

There is not one piece of new information that I could see. Was referring your own writing as having an "article form" a form of self admiration? I would be intrigued to see it published.

Lots of noise.

Nice try. In fact it is a really really good effort. A solid E for effort. Got any better? 

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6 minutes ago, BruceH-NZ said:

Nice touch to call yourself "editor" whoever you are.

"Fake" is mentioned 19 times - and in many cases emphatically as if a future event has already occurred. 

"If" is mentioned 16 times, underscoring the degree of speculation.

---

Actually, I am. Though you should know I'm not in the habit of going away.

---

There is not one piece of new information that I could see. Was referring your own writing as having an "article form" a form of self admiration? I would be intrigued to see it published.

Lots of noise.

Nice try. In fact it is a really really good effort. A solid E for effort. Got any better? 

who said to go away? and you wonder why i don't spend much time here? 

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1 minute ago, Editor said:

who said to go away? and you wonder why i don't spend much time here? 

Does "Fuck off" mean something else?

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3 minutes ago, torrid said:

I thought we determined a few weeks a go the best best term to use was "bugger off".

Not a fan of Billy Connolly? 

Fuck off is far more international.

It's brilliant!

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Editor said:

so fuck off. read it, don't read it, i couldn't care less. Not everybody is as far up the Laser ass as you.

Oh, ouch. 

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50 minutes ago, Editor said:

Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

It’s all official. Or at least nearly official. The membership of the Laser sailboat class just needs to vote yes to a change in its internal rules, and we may see fake Laser sailboats at the Paris 2024 Olympics. At least that’s what the Laser class wants us to believe. 

Fake Lasers are not Fake News. This is a scenario that is contemplated not only by the organization governing the Laser class but also by World Sailing - the international governing body of the sport of sailing, that oversees the sport globally and reports to the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the sailing competitions for the 2024 Olympics. 

The story goes like this. The change in the Laser class regulations will allow new companies to build the boat and to sell them with an alternate name and logo of their choosing, or even as generic boats without a name or logo - as a way to circumvent the existing Laser trademarks held by Velum - a sister company to the UK-based LaserPerformance corporation. 

The sailboats would be built according to the specification of the so called « Laser Construction Manual, » and would be controlled by the International Laser Class Association ILCA), but they would not be called Lasers. 

These are therefore « Fake Lasers » that the Laser class intends to propose to World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille. 

This plan has been in the works, in various forms, for a significant amount of time. Last March, the Laser class ILCA announced a name change to the boat, and then confirmed what we previously announced, i.e. that the boat would be called the « ILCA » dinghy. A trademark was applied for the “ILCA” dinghy in June 2018, and was approved on October 23 2018 for the whole European Union. Another trademark that ILCA attempted to register was for the « Gamma » sailboat, but that seems to be abandoned. Those applications were done by a Delaware « Weather Helm » corporation. 

The most recent approach by the Laser class is to allow the various approved manufacturers to name the boat as they see fit, or to sell them as generic boats, without a name. The Laser class - which is the International Laser Class Association - claims it can organize competitions with real Lasers along with these fake Lasers - either bearing no name, or bearing an alternative name. 

As France is located in a region where LaserPerformance controls the Laser trademark, there can’t be any real, genuine Lasers for the Paris Olympics without a direct trademark infringement. Hence what is now proposed by the Laser class, in the absence of negotiated agreement in the next two weeks, is those fake Lasers. World Sailing has indeed set an August 1st 2019 deadline for the parties to come to an agreement. 

The official position of the Laser class is that its priority is to convince the trademark owners to find a negotiated solution. But in its Sailing Illustrated editorial of July 17, the president of the class Tracy Usher states, regarding the question of trademark licensing to new builders, that « ILCA is not aware of any negotiation or discussions taking place between the three trademark owners. » 

The trademark owners are LaserPerformance (via another corporation called Velum), which owns the Laser trademark for the whole world, except two small markets in Oceania and East Asia, where the trademarks are owned by Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ). 

Under the current trademark agreements, neither PSA nor PSJ are allowed to export boats outside their own trademark area. This the system that the Laser class attempts to dismantle, following a request by World Sailing to introduce more free market competition in the sailing dinghy business. 

Commercial Opportunities for Aussie / Chinese Boats 

With the proposed rule change, the class would allow PSA, PSJ and any new approved builder to export those fake Lasers - either generic ones or bearing some alternative name - to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc ... all regions falling under the Laser trademark controlled by LaserPerformance. 

What needs to be remembered is that the Laser class terminated, on March 28 2019, LaserPerformance as a builder. Since then, apart from some exceptions granted with the mediation of World Sailing, dealers located in markets controlled by LaserPerformance, i.e. most markets in the world, cannot legally procure boats for their customers. 

At the mid-year World Sailing meeting, the Laser class came up with a long list of builders that expressed interest. But until there is approval by World Sailing, these will remain expressions of interest, and some interested builders have privately expressed concerns about the complex and costly requirements imposed by the class. 

Until its termination, LaserPerformance was by far the most dominant player. Now, the main builder is Performance Sailcraft Australia - a company that has also been involved in the past few years in developing the new « C » rigs for the boat. The intention, backed by the Laser class president, is to ultimately change the existing rigs (sails, masts, booms) of the boat and to replace them with those new C rigs globally. 

The number of boats typically produced by LaserPerformance is around 2000 per year, versus just about 250 boats for PSA and some 50 boats for PSJ. 

The termination of LaserPerformance means that their 2000 boats, i.e. over 80% of the market for new boats globally, is up for grabs. This is seen as a lucrative opportunity in some quarters, quite evidently. 

In the past days, there has been word of talks between PSA and Chinese boat builders - in order to get boats produced in China at very low cost. There are indeed already several builders in China producing dinghies, such as the Club 420 and the Optimist, to name just two examples. Current Laser builders are located in high labour cost countries, particularly PSA in Australia, where the minimum wage nears AUS$ 20 per hour, i.e. about 10 times higher than in China. 

The scenario one hears about is for PSA to subcontract to a Chinese producer for large amounts of boats annually, and then the boats to be exported globally. We are talking here about thousands of boats annually, hence a huge increase compared to PSA’s current production. 

For this commercial plan to work, in most countries, the boats cannot be Lasers. The fake Lasers would instead be produced and exported, either under an alternate name like “ILCA”, or without a name. 

If very low cost fake Lasers are produced in China and exported globally, it’s obviously unlikely that many new builders, if any, will emerge. 

Maybe there won’t be any candidate, especially as there are indications that new builders would have to pay relatively steep annual fees - figures of US$100,000 and US$200,000 annually have been mentioned by the Laser class in that regard. 

Doubts can even be expressed about the viability of the Japanese builder, which is said to produce just some 50 boats per year. 

Another hurdle for new builders are the design fees on the Laser, to be paid to the New-Zealand corporation Global Sailing, which is closely related to PSA. The company bought those rights to the Laser Construction Manual from Bruce Kirby, apparently in 2009, but it’s unclear if those rights are valid. 

It appears that LaserPerformance, when still producing boats, was not paying royalties for those rights. New builders, to be approved, are however asked to do so by the Laser class. 

European Laser class officials have asked for the reinstatement of LaserPerformance as a builder, something the company is asking through a joint inspection by World Sailing and ILCA. 

No-one contests the conformity of the boats produced by LaserPerformance, and the company actually provided 120 boats for the ongoing World Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland. But there is obvious opposition to the reinstatement of LaserPerformance, which would jeopardize the above described commercial scenario. 

Will LaserPerformance start litigation for trademark infringement? Very likely, if it has not started yet, because of the major financial losses to be incurred if the Laser trademarks become sort of irrelevant. This will be a complex case, with multiple jurisdictions involved. 

Remember that there is still ongoing court proceedings for the previous attempt, that time by Bruce Kirby, to change the name of the Laser to the “Kirby Torch” in 2012. At the time, the Laser class stayed outside the case. This time, ILCA will be at the center of it, with hefty legal fees at stake. Who will pay for ILCA’s hefty legal bills, if not the members? 

LaserPerformance takes litigation seriously. For example, in 2012, it sued the Belgian dealer OptiTeam for importing and selling boats and parts manufactured by PSA. The judge ruled in favor of LaserPerformance. An appeal was denied in 2015 and the 2013 judgement was upheld. Apparently, OptiTeam filed for bankruptcy and LaserPerformance was unable to collect damages. 

If a legal war over intellectual property rights emerges between LaserPerformance, ILCA and PSA, it may take multiple years before things are adjudicated in court. Until then, it’s unclear if dealers will dare distributing fake Lasers as there will be risks of having to pay substantial financial compensations to LaserPerformance. Pretty fast, there will also be shortages of parts, sails, etc. 

The irony is that, except in a few regions such as North America, dealers are not complaining that much about LaserPerformance. Many of them, particularly in Europe, actually have pretty positive business partnerships with the company. Those companies are not interested in distributing fake Lasers and in taking substantial legal risks by doing so. But they may have to if they want to continue to serve the sailors. 

For the fake Lasers to become a reality at the Paris Olympics, several hurdles remain to be cleared. First, World Sailing will need formally approve the class rule allowing for multiple brands and generic boats to be sailed under the umbrella of the Laser class. It’s not clear how World Sailing will react this time. Last April, following the announcement of the name change to “ILCA Dinghy,” World Sailing reacted nearly instantly and clarified its position. 

In its April 27 statement, it can be read: “World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy” ... “World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing” ... “World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations” ... “World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers' position concerning production and intellectual property rights.” 

For the fake Lasers to be Olympic, the International Olympic Committee will also need to ultimately approve the fake Lasers as equipment for the games. 

And of course, the Laser class will need to successfully defend its actions in court. There may also be court cases against dealers, against PSA and new builders. 

The Laser class asserts that voting yes for the rule change “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics.” 

Obviously, this is just a slogan as there is absolutely no guarantee for that. 

Unlike what ILCA claims, there is no guarantee that the fake Lasers will make it at the 2024 Olympics. 

The rule change actually opens a gigantic can of worms that may have much more detrimental effects on the Laser class than losing its Olympic status. 

The reported lack of action by the trademark owners towards resolving their differences may actually be a direct consequence of the proposed rule change and the substantial commercial opportunities if could in theory generate for one of the key parties to the dispute. 

Vote Rigging 4 Fake Lasers 

Well before the rule change vote was announced earlier this month, it was well known that there was substantial opposition, particularly in Europe. 

For example, The European Laser class EurILCA issued on May 30 a circular titled « Laser Standard and Laser Radial Stay as Olympic Boats, and Now? » The circular calls for keeping the Laser name and rejects a name change to ILCA dinghy. 

There was also a petition, that received over 600 signatures, including from famous sailors such as Robert Scheidt, calling for keeping the Laser name and rejecting the changes proposed by ILCA. Actually, the petition was calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership. 

In short, the ILCA leadership knew very well that there was opposition to their plans. 

Yet, not only was the rule change vote launched at the very last minute - on July 1, but some will argue one day too late on July 2 - but it is also presented to sailors in a biased manner skewed in favor of the rule change. 

The ballot itself reads that one must vote yes “to secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements.” 

Voting yes to the class rule “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics” asserts ILCA on the ballot. 

“To secure the future of our class, please ... vote “Yes” 

This sloganism in the ballot implies that a no vote would be the end of the Laser at the Olympics and absence of future for the class - nothing less. 

The ballot is obviously biased and unfair, and should never have been put forward as such to the membership. 

But there is more. 

The vote is conducted on an online survey called SurveyMonkey, which is geared at conducting surveys, not at voting, while there are many online professional voting systems out there that should have been used. 

The SurveyMonkey ILCA ballot does not allow anonymity in the vote, while this would be preferable, especially given the nature of the vote and the divisions it induced within the membership 

And a form must be filled out, but there is no control of the membership status (paid, unpaid) of those voting. 

There is no centralized database of the Laser class members worldwide, so on July 31, the Laser class should get in touch with all the districts / national associations and receive instantly the confirmation of the membership status for each of the votes - which is not possible to be done instantly. 

So, because the class started the vote so late, there is no reasonable way to expect an accurate count by August 1st. 

The Laser class is in fact in gross conflict of interest. In normal democratic elections, there are neutral parties to oversee the voting. Here the vote is conducted by a party to the vote, that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, i.e. a Yes vote. 

And there is more. The SurveyMonkey interface allows for those who run the vote to receive instant notification of the votes. Each time there is a vote, it’s possible to receive an alert, and also to access the voting data and statistics. 

This means that ILCA, which is a party to the vote, can monitor the vote and adapt its already biased and unfair campaign strategy accordingly. 

All these elements concur to one conclusion: the voting process implemented by the Laser class is grossly rigged and undemocratic. 

There was no need for that. And it’s a bit of a disgrace, particularly in light of the fact that for many members who are minors, it will be the first time they vote. 

To win, the yes requires a two third majority. This may look as a tall order, but with all the bias towards the yes, the fact that most members have no clue about what is going on, the low turnout typically taking place for such vote, and the low key attitude of EurILCA, which recommended to vote No, the Yes may well win. 

Whatever the outcome of the vote, it may not change things that much, as without an agreement among the parties, ILCA’s Plan B, with its fake Lasers, is not that realistic after all. 

The only proper action by ILCA to remedy this class rule vote masquerade is to withdraw it. That won’t happen of course. 

Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the vote or trying to further influence it with its recent assault on social media, ILCA may want to redouble its efforts and work much harder, with the help of World Sailing and possibly professional mediators, to reach an agreement among all the parties, including PSA and LaserPerformance. 

Because, ultimately, an agreement may be in the interest of everyone. 

Who actually wants to see fake Lasers at the 2024 Olympics? 

It certainly is annoying when people quote a long post like this one:

 

Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

It’s all official. Or at least nearly official. The membership of the Laser sailboat class just needs to vote yes to a change in its internal rules, and we may see fake Laser sailboats at the Paris 2024 Olympics. At least that’s what the Laser class wants us to believe. 

Fake Lasers are not Fake News. This is a scenario that is contemplated not only by the organization governing the Laser class but also by World Sailing - the international governing body of the sport of sailing, that oversees the sport globally and reports to the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the sailing competitions for the 2024 Olympics. 

The story goes like this. The change in the Laser class regulations will allow new companies to build the boat and to sell them with an alternate name and logo of their choosing, or even as generic boats without a name or logo - as a way to circumvent the existing Laser trademarks held by Velum - a sister company to the UK-based LaserPerformance corporation. 

The sailboats would be built according to the specification of the so called « Laser Construction Manual, » and would be controlled by the International Laser Class Association ILCA), but they would not be called Lasers. 

These are therefore « Fake Lasers » that the Laser class intends to propose to World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille. 

This plan has been in the works, in various forms, for a significant amount of time. Last March, the Laser class ILCA announced a name change to the boat, and then confirmed what we previously announced, i.e. that the boat would be called the « ILCA » dinghy. A trademark was applied for the “ILCA” dinghy in June 2018, and was approved on October 23 2018 for the whole European Union. Another trademark that ILCA attempted to register was for the « Gamma » sailboat, but that seems to be abandoned. Those applications were done by a Delaware « Weather Helm » corporation. 

The most recent approach by the Laser class is to allow the various approved manufacturers to name the boat as they see fit, or to sell them as generic boats, without a name. The Laser class - which is the International Laser Class Association - claims it can organize competitions with real Lasers along with these fake Lasers - either bearing no name, or bearing an alternative name. 

As France is located in a region where LaserPerformance controls the Laser trademark, there can’t be any real, genuine Lasers for the Paris Olympics without a direct trademark infringement. Hence what is now proposed by the Laser class, in the absence of negotiated agreement in the next two weeks, is those fake Lasers. World Sailing has indeed set an August 1st 2019 deadline for the parties to come to an agreement. 

The official position of the Laser class is that its priority is to convince the trademark owners to find a negotiated solution. But in its Sailing Illustrated editorial of July 17, the president of the class Tracy Usher states, regarding the question of trademark licensing to new builders, that « ILCA is not aware of any negotiation or discussions taking place between the three trademark owners. » 

The trademark owners are LaserPerformance (via another corporation called Velum), which owns the Laser trademark for the whole world, except two small markets in Oceania and East Asia, where the trademarks are owned by Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ). 

Under the current trademark agreements, neither PSA nor PSJ are allowed to export boats outside their own trademark area. This the system that the Laser class attempts to dismantle, following a request by World Sailing to introduce more free market competition in the sailing dinghy business. 

Commercial Opportunities for Aussie / Chinese Boats 

With the proposed rule change, the class would allow PSA, PSJ and any new approved builder to export those fake Lasers - either generic ones or bearing some alternative name - to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc ... all regions falling under the Laser trademark controlled by LaserPerformance. 

What needs to be remembered is that the Laser class terminated, on March 28 2019, LaserPerformance as a builder. Since then, apart from some exceptions granted with the mediation of World Sailing, dealers located in markets controlled by LaserPerformance, i.e. most markets in the world, cannot legally procure boats for their customers. 

At the mid-year World Sailing meeting, the Laser class came up with a long list of builders that expressed interest. But until there is approval by World Sailing, these will remain expressions of interest, and some interested builders have privately expressed concerns about the complex and costly requirements imposed by the class. 

Until its termination, LaserPerformance was by far the most dominant player. Now, the main builder is Performance Sailcraft Australia - a company that has also been involved in the past few years in developing the new « C » rigs for the boat. The intention, backed by the Laser class president, is to ultimately change the existing rigs (sails, masts, booms) of the boat and to replace them with those new C rigs globally. 

The number of boats typically produced by LaserPerformance is around 2000 per year, versus just about 250 boats for PSA and some 50 boats for PSJ. 

The termination of LaserPerformance means that their 2000 boats, i.e. over 80% of the market for new boats globally, is up for grabs. This is seen as a lucrative opportunity in some quarters, quite evidently. 

In the past days, there has been word of talks between PSA and Chinese boat builders - in order to get boats produced in China at very low cost. There are indeed already several builders in China producing dinghies, such as the Club 420 and the Optimist, to name just two examples. Current Laser builders are located in high labour cost countries, particularly PSA in Australia, where the minimum wage nears AUS$ 20 per hour, i.e. about 10 times higher than in China. 

The scenario one hears about is for PSA to subcontract to a Chinese producer for large amounts of boats annually, and then the boats to be exported globally. We are talking here about thousands of boats annually, hence a huge increase compared to PSA’s current production. 

For this commercial plan to work, in most countries, the boats cannot be Lasers. The fake Lasers would instead be produced and exported, either under an alternate name like “ILCA”, or without a name. 

If very low cost fake Lasers are produced in China and exported globally, it’s obviously unlikely that many new builders, if any, will emerge. 

Maybe there won’t be any candidate, especially as there are indications that new builders would have to pay relatively steep annual fees - figures of US$100,000 and US$200,000 annually have been mentioned by the Laser class in that regard. 

Doubts can even be expressed about the viability of the Japanese builder, which is said to produce just some 50 boats per year. 

Another hurdle for new builders are the design fees on the Laser, to be paid to the New-Zealand corporation Global Sailing, which is closely related to PSA. The company bought those rights to the Laser Construction Manual from Bruce Kirby, apparently in 2009, but it’s unclear if those rights are valid. 

It appears that LaserPerformance, when still producing boats, was not paying royalties for those rights. New builders, to be approved, are however asked to do so by the Laser class. 

European Laser class officials have asked for the reinstatement of LaserPerformance as a builder, something the company is asking through a joint inspection by World Sailing and ILCA. 

No-one contests the conformity of the boats produced by LaserPerformance, and the company actually provided 120 boats for the ongoing World Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland. But there is obvious opposition to the reinstatement of LaserPerformance, which would jeopardize the above described commercial scenario. 

Will LaserPerformance start litigation for trademark infringement? Very likely, if it has not started yet, because of the major financial losses to be incurred if the Laser trademarks become sort of irrelevant. This will be a complex case, with multiple jurisdictions involved. 

Remember that there is still ongoing court proceedings for the previous attempt, that time by Bruce Kirby, to change the name of the Laser to the “Kirby Torch” in 2012. At the time, the Laser class stayed outside the case. This time, ILCA will be at the center of it, with hefty legal fees at stake. Who will pay for ILCA’s hefty legal bills, if not the members? 

LaserPerformance takes litigation seriously. For example, in 2012, it sued the Belgian dealer OptiTeam for importing and selling boats and parts manufactured by PSA. The judge ruled in favor of LaserPerformance. An appeal was denied in 2015 and the 2013 judgement was upheld. Apparently, OptiTeam filed for bankruptcy and LaserPerformance was unable to collect damages. 

If a legal war over intellectual property rights emerges between LaserPerformance, ILCA and PSA, it may take multiple years before things are adjudicated in court. Until then, it’s unclear if dealers will dare distributing fake Lasers as there will be risks of having to pay substantial financial compensations to LaserPerformance. Pretty fast, there will also be shortages of parts, sails, etc. 

The irony is that, except in a few regions such as North America, dealers are not complaining that much about LaserPerformance. Many of them, particularly in Europe, actually have pretty positive business partnerships with the company. Those companies are not interested in distributing fake Lasers and in taking substantial legal risks by doing so. But they may have to if they want to continue to serve the sailors. 

For the fake Lasers to become a reality at the Paris Olympics, several hurdles remain to be cleared. First, World Sailing will need formally approve the class rule allowing for multiple brands and generic boats to be sailed under the umbrella of the Laser class. It’s not clear how World Sailing will react this time. Last April, following the announcement of the name change to “ILCA Dinghy,” World Sailing reacted nearly instantly and clarified its position. 

In its April 27 statement, it can be read: “World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy” ... “World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing” ... “World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations” ... “World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers' position concerning production and intellectual property rights.” 

For the fake Lasers to be Olympic, the International Olympic Committee will also need to ultimately approve the fake Lasers as equipment for the games. 

And of course, the Laser class will need to successfully defend its actions in court. There may also be court cases against dealers, against PSA and new builders. 

The Laser class asserts that voting yes for the rule change “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics.” 

Obviously, this is just a slogan as there is absolutely no guarantee for that. 

Unlike what ILCA claims, there is no guarantee that the fake Lasers will make it at the 2024 Olympics. 

The rule change actually opens a gigantic can of worms that may have much more detrimental effects on the Laser class than losing its Olympic status. 

The reported lack of action by the trademark owners towards resolving their differences may actually be a direct consequence of the proposed rule change and the substantial commercial opportunities if could in theory generate for one of the key parties to the dispute. 

Vote Rigging 4 Fake Lasers 

Well before the rule change vote was announced earlier this month, it was well known that there was substantial opposition, particularly in Europe. 

For example, The European Laser class EurILCA issued on May 30 a circular titled « Laser Standard and Laser Radial Stay as Olympic Boats, and Now? » The circular calls for keeping the Laser name and rejects a name change to ILCA dinghy. 

There was also a petition, that received over 600 signatures, including from famous sailors such as Robert Scheidt, calling for keeping the Laser name and rejecting the changes proposed by ILCA. Actually, the petition was calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership. 

In short, the ILCA leadership knew very well that there was opposition to their plans. 

Yet, not only was the rule change vote launched at the very last minute - on July 1, but some will argue one day too late on July 2 - but it is also presented to sailors in a biased manner skewed in favor of the rule change. 

The ballot itself reads that one must vote yes “to secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements.” 

Voting yes to the class rule “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics” asserts ILCA on the ballot. 

“To secure the future of our class, please ... vote “Yes” 

This sloganism in the ballot implies that a no vote would be the end of the Laser at the Olympics and absence of future for the class - nothing less. 

The ballot is obviously biased and unfair, and should never have been put forward as such to the membership. 

But there is more. 

The vote is conducted on an online survey called SurveyMonkey, which is geared at conducting surveys, not at voting, while there are many online professional voting systems out there that should have been used. 

The SurveyMonkey ILCA ballot does not allow anonymity in the vote, while this would be preferable, especially given the nature of the vote and the divisions it induced within the membership 

And a form must be filled out, but there is no control of the membership status (paid, unpaid) of those voting. 

There is no centralized database of the Laser class members worldwide, so on July 31, the Laser class should get in touch with all the districts / national associations and receive instantly the confirmation of the membership status for each of the votes - which is not possible to be done instantly. 

So, because the class started the vote so late, there is no reasonable way to expect an accurate count by August 1st. 

The Laser class is in fact in gross conflict of interest. In normal democratic elections, there are neutral parties to oversee the voting. Here the vote is conducted by a party to the vote, that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, i.e. a Yes vote. 

And there is more. The SurveyMonkey interface allows for those who run the vote to receive instant notification of the votes. Each time there is a vote, it’s possible to receive an alert, and also to access the voting data and statistics. 

This means that ILCA, which is a party to the vote, can monitor the vote and adapt its already biased and unfair campaign strategy accordingly. 

All these elements concur to one conclusion: the voting process implemented by the Laser class is grossly rigged and undemocratic. 

There was no need for that. And it’s a bit of a disgrace, particularly in light of the fact that for many members who are minors, it will be the first time they vote. 

To win, the yes requires a two third majority. This may look as a tall order, but with all the bias towards the yes, the fact that most members have no clue about what is going on, the low turnout typically taking place for such vote, and the low key attitude of EurILCA, which recommended to vote No, the Yes may well win. 

Whatever the outcome of the vote, it may not change things that much, as without an agreement among the parties, ILCA’s Plan B, with its fake Lasers, is not that realistic after all. 

The only proper action by ILCA to remedy this class rule vote masquerade is to withdraw it. That won’t happen of course. 

Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the vote or trying to further influence it with its recent assault on social media, ILCA may want to redouble its efforts and work much harder, with the help of World Sailing and possibly professional mediators, to reach an agreement among all the parties, including PSA and LaserPerformance. 

Because, ultimately, an agreement may be in the interest of everyone. 

Who actually wants to see fake Lasers at the 2024 Olympics? 

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37 minutes ago, Editor said:

oh fuck off, it is here in article form. 

It would appear you (editor) are solidly in favor of a "no" vote.

I can accept your alternate viewpoint for not wanting the Laser in the 2024 Olympics - if that is you position.

I can accept that you are solidly in support of Laser Performance - though you might have missed the message - nobody wants them to stop building Lasers.

What I do not accept is a continuation of the Laser class 'stuck' in all of LP's territories which are not served properly.

What is your plan if the Laser trademark holders don't reach an agreement?

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22 minutes ago, BruceH-NZ said:

It would appear you (editor) are solidly in favor of a "no" vote.

I can accept your alternate viewpoint for not wanting the Laser in the 2024 Olympics - if that is you position.

I can accept that you are solidly in support of Laser Performance - though you might have missed the message - nobody wants them to stop building Lasers.

What I do not accept is a continuation of the Laser class 'stuck' in all of LP's territories which are not served properly.

What is your plan if the Laser trademark holders don't reach an agreement?

I don't believe the Ed wrote that article.  

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1 minute ago, Raz'r said:

I don't believe the Ed wrote that article.  

perhaps the Ed should have credited his source.

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16 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

perhaps the Ed should have credited his source.

why start now?

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1 hour ago, Editor said:

dude, i just don't have time to read it all!

Some of us don’t have time to read the whole fucking article either, what happened to just posting the opening paragraph and a link?

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Currently I only know of 3 builders that are building boats without plaques, that could be called fake Lasers, but only one of them puts Laser stickers on these boats.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Editor said:

Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

It’s all official. Or at least nearly official. The membership of the Laser sailboat class just needs to vote yes to a change in its internal rules, and we may see fake Laser sailboats at the Paris 2024 Olympics. At least that’s what the Laser class wants us to believe. 

Fake Lasers are not Fake News. This is a scenario that is contemplated not only by the organization governing the Laser class but also by World Sailing - the international governing body of the sport of sailing, that oversees the sport globally and reports to the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the sailing competitions for the 2024 Olympics. 

The story goes like this. The change in the Laser class regulations will allow new companies to build the boat and to sell them with an alternate name and logo of their choosing, or even as generic boats without a name or logo - as a way to circumvent the existing Laser trademarks held by Velum - a sister company to the UK-based LaserPerformance corporation. 

The sailboats would be built according to the specification of the so called « Laser Construction Manual, » and would be controlled by the International Laser Class Association ILCA), but they would not be called Lasers. 

These are therefore « Fake Lasers » that the Laser class intends to propose to World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille. 

This plan has been in the works, in various forms, for a significant amount of time. Last March, the Laser class ILCA announced a name change to the boat, and then confirmed what we previously announced, i.e. that the boat would be called the « ILCA » dinghy. A trademark was applied for the “ILCA” dinghy in June 2018, and was approved on October 23 2018 for the whole European Union. Another trademark that ILCA attempted to register was for the « Gamma » sailboat, but that seems to be abandoned. Those applications were done by a Delaware « Weather Helm » corporation. 

The most recent approach by the Laser class is to allow the various approved manufacturers to name the boat as they see fit, or to sell them as generic boats, without a name. The Laser class - which is the International Laser Class Association - claims it can organize competitions with real Lasers along with these fake Lasers - either bearing no name, or bearing an alternative name. 

As France is located in a region where LaserPerformance controls the Laser trademark, there can’t be any real, genuine Lasers for the Paris Olympics without a direct trademark infringement. Hence what is now proposed by the Laser class, in the absence of negotiated agreement in the next two weeks, is those fake Lasers. World Sailing has indeed set an August 1st 2019 deadline for the parties to come to an agreement. 

The official position of the Laser class is that its priority is to convince the trademark owners to find a negotiated solution. But in its Sailing Illustrated editorial of July 17, the president of the class Tracy Usher states, regarding the question of trademark licensing to new builders, that « ILCA is not aware of any negotiation or discussions taking place between the three trademark owners. » 

The trademark owners are LaserPerformance (via another corporation called Velum), which owns the Laser trademark for the whole world, except two small markets in Oceania and East Asia, where the trademarks are owned by Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ). 

Under the current trademark agreements, neither PSA nor PSJ are allowed to export boats outside their own trademark area. This the system that the Laser class attempts to dismantle, following a request by World Sailing to introduce more free market competition in the sailing dinghy business. 

Commercial Opportunities for Aussie / Chinese Boats 

With the proposed rule change, the class would allow PSA, PSJ and any new approved builder to export those fake Lasers - either generic ones or bearing some alternative name - to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc ... all regions falling under the Laser trademark controlled by LaserPerformance. 

What needs to be remembered is that the Laser class terminated, on March 28 2019, LaserPerformance as a builder. Since then, apart from some exceptions granted with the mediation of World Sailing, dealers located in markets controlled by LaserPerformance, i.e. most markets in the world, cannot legally procure boats for their customers. 

At the mid-year World Sailing meeting, the Laser class came up with a long list of builders that expressed interest. But until there is approval by World Sailing, these will remain expressions of interest, and some interested builders have privately expressed concerns about the complex and costly requirements imposed by the class. 

Until its termination, LaserPerformance was by far the most dominant player. Now, the main builder is Performance Sailcraft Australia - a company that has also been involved in the past few years in developing the new « C » rigs for the boat. The intention, backed by the Laser class president, is to ultimately change the existing rigs (sails, masts, booms) of the boat and to replace them with those new C rigs globally. 

The number of boats typically produced by LaserPerformance is around 2000 per year, versus just about 250 boats for PSA and some 50 boats for PSJ. 

The termination of LaserPerformance means that their 2000 boats, i.e. over 80% of the market for new boats globally, is up for grabs. This is seen as a lucrative opportunity in some quarters, quite evidently. 

In the past days, there has been word of talks between PSA and Chinese boat builders - in order to get boats produced in China at very low cost. There are indeed already several builders in China producing dinghies, such as the Club 420 and the Optimist, to name just two examples. Current Laser builders are located in high labour cost countries, particularly PSA in Australia, where the minimum wage nears AUS$ 20 per hour, i.e. about 10 times higher than in China. 

The scenario one hears about is for PSA to subcontract to a Chinese producer for large amounts of boats annually, and then the boats to be exported globally. We are talking here about thousands of boats annually, hence a huge increase compared to PSA’s current production. 

For this commercial plan to work, in most countries, the boats cannot be Lasers. The fake Lasers would instead be produced and exported, either under an alternate name like “ILCA”, or without a name. 

If very low cost fake Lasers are produced in China and exported globally, it’s obviously unlikely that many new builders, if any, will emerge. 

Maybe there won’t be any candidate, especially as there are indications that new builders would have to pay relatively steep annual fees - figures of US$100,000 and US$200,000 annually have been mentioned by the Laser class in that regard. 

Doubts can even be expressed about the viability of the Japanese builder, which is said to produce just some 50 boats per year. 

Another hurdle for new builders are the design fees on the Laser, to be paid to the New-Zealand corporation Global Sailing, which is closely related to PSA. The company bought those rights to the Laser Construction Manual from Bruce Kirby, apparently in 2009, but it’s unclear if those rights are valid. 

It appears that LaserPerformance, when still producing boats, was not paying royalties for those rights. New builders, to be approved, are however asked to do so by the Laser class. 

European Laser class officials have asked for the reinstatement of LaserPerformance as a builder, something the company is asking through a joint inspection by World Sailing and ILCA. 

No-one contests the conformity of the boats produced by LaserPerformance, and the company actually provided 120 boats for the ongoing World Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland. But there is obvious opposition to the reinstatement of LaserPerformance, which would jeopardize the above described commercial scenario. 

Will LaserPerformance start litigation for trademark infringement? Very likely, if it has not started yet, because of the major financial losses to be incurred if the Laser trademarks become sort of irrelevant. This will be a complex case, with multiple jurisdictions involved. 

Remember that there is still ongoing court proceedings for the previous attempt, that time by Bruce Kirby, to change the name of the Laser to the “Kirby Torch” in 2012. At the time, the Laser class stayed outside the case. This time, ILCA will be at the center of it, with hefty legal fees at stake. Who will pay for ILCA’s hefty legal bills, if not the members? 

LaserPerformance takes litigation seriously. For example, in 2012, it sued the Belgian dealer OptiTeam for importing and selling boats and parts manufactured by PSA. The judge ruled in favor of LaserPerformance. An appeal was denied in 2015 and the 2013 judgement was upheld. Apparently, OptiTeam filed for bankruptcy and LaserPerformance was unable to collect damages. 

If a legal war over intellectual property rights emerges between LaserPerformance, ILCA and PSA, it may take multiple years before things are adjudicated in court. Until then, it’s unclear if dealers will dare distributing fake Lasers as there will be risks of having to pay substantial financial compensations to LaserPerformance. Pretty fast, there will also be shortages of parts, sails, etc. 

The irony is that, except in a few regions such as North America, dealers are not complaining that much about LaserPerformance. Many of them, particularly in Europe, actually have pretty positive business partnerships with the company. Those companies are not interested in distributing fake Lasers and in taking substantial legal risks by doing so. But they may have to if they want to continue to serve the sailors. 

For the fake Lasers to become a reality at the Paris Olympics, several hurdles remain to be cleared. First, World Sailing will need formally approve the class rule allowing for multiple brands and generic boats to be sailed under the umbrella of the Laser class. It’s not clear how World Sailing will react this time. Last April, following the announcement of the name change to “ILCA Dinghy,” World Sailing reacted nearly instantly and clarified its position. 

In its April 27 statement, it can be read: “World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy” ... “World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing” ... “World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations” ... “World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers' position concerning production and intellectual property rights.” 

For the fake Lasers to be Olympic, the International Olympic Committee will also need to ultimately approve the fake Lasers as equipment for the games. 

And of course, the Laser class will need to successfully defend its actions in court. There may also be court cases against dealers, against PSA and new builders. 

The Laser class asserts that voting yes for the rule change “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics.” 

Obviously, this is just a slogan as there is absolutely no guarantee for that. 

Unlike what ILCA claims, there is no guarantee that the fake Lasers will make it at the 2024 Olympics. 

The rule change actually opens a gigantic can of worms that may have much more detrimental effects on the Laser class than losing its Olympic status. 

The reported lack of action by the trademark owners towards resolving their differences may actually be a direct consequence of the proposed rule change and the substantial commercial opportunities if could in theory generate for one of the key parties to the dispute. 

Vote Rigging 4 Fake Lasers 

Well before the rule change vote was announced earlier this month, it was well known that there was substantial opposition, particularly in Europe. 

For example, The European Laser class EurILCA issued on May 30 a circular titled « Laser Standard and Laser Radial Stay as Olympic Boats, and Now? » The circular calls for keeping the Laser name and rejects a name change to ILCA dinghy. 

There was also a petition, that received over 600 signatures, including from famous sailors such as Robert Scheidt, calling for keeping the Laser name and rejecting the changes proposed by ILCA. Actually, the petition was calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership. 

In short, the ILCA leadership knew very well that there was opposition to their plans. 

Yet, not only was the rule change vote launched at the very last minute - on July 1, but some will argue one day too late on July 2 - but it is also presented to sailors in a biased manner skewed in favor of the rule change. 

The ballot itself reads that one must vote yes “to secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements.” 

Voting yes to the class rule “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics” asserts ILCA on the ballot. 

“To secure the future of our class, please ... vote “Yes” 

This sloganism in the ballot implies that a no vote would be the end of the Laser at the Olympics and absence of future for the class - nothing less. 

The ballot is obviously biased and unfair, and should never have been put forward as such to the membership. 

But there is more. 

The vote is conducted on an online survey called SurveyMonkey, which is geared at conducting surveys, not at voting, while there are many online professional voting systems out there that should have been used. 

The SurveyMonkey ILCA ballot does not allow anonymity in the vote, while this would be preferable, especially given the nature of the vote and the divisions it induced within the membership 

And a form must be filled out, but there is no control of the membership status (paid, unpaid) of those voting. 

There is no centralized database of the Laser class members worldwide, so on July 31, the Laser class should get in touch with all the districts / national associations and receive instantly the confirmation of the membership status for each of the votes - which is not possible to be done instantly. 

So, because the class started the vote so late, there is no reasonable way to expect an accurate count by August 1st. 

The Laser class is in fact in gross conflict of interest. In normal democratic elections, there are neutral parties to oversee the voting. Here the vote is conducted by a party to the vote, that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, i.e. a Yes vote. 

And there is more. The SurveyMonkey interface allows for those who run the vote to receive instant notification of the votes. Each time there is a vote, it’s possible to receive an alert, and also to access the voting data and statistics. 

This means that ILCA, which is a party to the vote, can monitor the vote and adapt its already biased and unfair campaign strategy accordingly. 

All these elements concur to one conclusion: the voting process implemented by the Laser class is grossly rigged and undemocratic. 

There was no need for that. And it’s a bit of a disgrace, particularly in light of the fact that for many members who are minors, it will be the first time they vote. 

To win, the yes requires a two third majority. This may look as a tall order, but with all the bias towards the yes, the fact that most members have no clue about what is going on, the low turnout typically taking place for such vote, and the low key attitude of EurILCA, which recommended to vote No, the Yes may well win. 

Whatever the outcome of the vote, it may not change things that much, as without an agreement among the parties, ILCA’s Plan B, with its fake Lasers, is not that realistic after all. 

The only proper action by ILCA to remedy this class rule vote masquerade is to withdraw it. That won’t happen of course. 

Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the vote or trying to further influence it with its recent assault on social media, ILCA may want to redouble its efforts and work much harder, with the help of World Sailing and possibly professional mediators, to reach an agreement among all the parties, including PSA and LaserPerformance. 

Because, ultimately, an agreement may be in the interest of everyone. 

Who actually wants to see fake Lasers at the 2024 Olympics? 

 

3 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

It certainly is annoying when people quote a long post like this one:

 

Fake Laser Sailboats at 2024 Paris Olympics? 

It’s all official. Or at least nearly official. The membership of the Laser sailboat class just needs to vote yes to a change in its internal rules, and we may see fake Laser sailboats at the Paris 2024 Olympics. At least that’s what the Laser class wants us to believe. 

Fake Lasers are not Fake News. This is a scenario that is contemplated not only by the organization governing the Laser class but also by World Sailing - the international governing body of the sport of sailing, that oversees the sport globally and reports to the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the sailing competitions for the 2024 Olympics. 

The story goes like this. The change in the Laser class regulations will allow new companies to build the boat and to sell them with an alternate name and logo of their choosing, or even as generic boats without a name or logo - as a way to circumvent the existing Laser trademarks held by Velum - a sister company to the UK-based LaserPerformance corporation. 

The sailboats would be built according to the specification of the so called « Laser Construction Manual, » and would be controlled by the International Laser Class Association ILCA), but they would not be called Lasers. 

These are therefore « Fake Lasers » that the Laser class intends to propose to World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille. 

This plan has been in the works, in various forms, for a significant amount of time. Last March, the Laser class ILCA announced a name change to the boat, and then confirmed what we previously announced, i.e. that the boat would be called the « ILCA » dinghy. A trademark was applied for the “ILCA” dinghy in June 2018, and was approved on October 23 2018 for the whole European Union. Another trademark that ILCA attempted to register was for the « Gamma » sailboat, but that seems to be abandoned. Those applications were done by a Delaware « Weather Helm » corporation. 

The most recent approach by the Laser class is to allow the various approved manufacturers to name the boat as they see fit, or to sell them as generic boats, without a name. The Laser class - which is the International Laser Class Association - claims it can organize competitions with real Lasers along with these fake Lasers - either bearing no name, or bearing an alternative name. 

As France is located in a region where LaserPerformance controls the Laser trademark, there can’t be any real, genuine Lasers for the Paris Olympics without a direct trademark infringement. Hence what is now proposed by the Laser class, in the absence of negotiated agreement in the next two weeks, is those fake Lasers. World Sailing has indeed set an August 1st 2019 deadline for the parties to come to an agreement. 

The official position of the Laser class is that its priority is to convince the trademark owners to find a negotiated solution. But in its Sailing Illustrated editorial of July 17, the president of the class Tracy Usher states, regarding the question of trademark licensing to new builders, that « ILCA is not aware of any negotiation or discussions taking place between the three trademark owners. » 

The trademark owners are LaserPerformance (via another corporation called Velum), which owns the Laser trademark for the whole world, except two small markets in Oceania and East Asia, where the trademarks are owned by Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ). 

Under the current trademark agreements, neither PSA nor PSJ are allowed to export boats outside their own trademark area. This the system that the Laser class attempts to dismantle, following a request by World Sailing to introduce more free market competition in the sailing dinghy business. 

Commercial Opportunities for Aussie / Chinese Boats 

With the proposed rule change, the class would allow PSA, PSJ and any new approved builder to export those fake Lasers - either generic ones or bearing some alternative name - to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc ... all regions falling under the Laser trademark controlled by LaserPerformance. 

What needs to be remembered is that the Laser class terminated, on March 28 2019, LaserPerformance as a builder. Since then, apart from some exceptions granted with the mediation of World Sailing, dealers located in markets controlled by LaserPerformance, i.e. most markets in the world, cannot legally procure boats for their customers. 

At the mid-year World Sailing meeting, the Laser class came up with a long list of builders that expressed interest. But until there is approval by World Sailing, these will remain expressions of interest, and some interested builders have privately expressed concerns about the complex and costly requirements imposed by the class. 

Until its termination, LaserPerformance was by far the most dominant player. Now, the main builder is Performance Sailcraft Australia - a company that has also been involved in the past few years in developing the new « C » rigs for the boat. The intention, backed by the Laser class president, is to ultimately change the existing rigs (sails, masts, booms) of the boat and to replace them with those new C rigs globally. 

The number of boats typically produced by LaserPerformance is around 2000 per year, versus just about 250 boats for PSA and some 50 boats for PSJ. 

The termination of LaserPerformance means that their 2000 boats, i.e. over 80% of the market for new boats globally, is up for grabs. This is seen as a lucrative opportunity in some quarters, quite evidently. 

In the past days, there has been word of talks between PSA and Chinese boat builders - in order to get boats produced in China at very low cost. There are indeed already several builders in China producing dinghies, such as the Club 420 and the Optimist, to name just two examples. Current Laser builders are located in high labour cost countries, particularly PSA in Australia, where the minimum wage nears AUS$ 20 per hour, i.e. about 10 times higher than in China. 

The scenario one hears about is for PSA to subcontract to a Chinese producer for large amounts of boats annually, and then the boats to be exported globally. We are talking here about thousands of boats annually, hence a huge increase compared to PSA’s current production. 

For this commercial plan to work, in most countries, the boats cannot be Lasers. The fake Lasers would instead be produced and exported, either under an alternate name like “ILCA”, or without a name. 

If very low cost fake Lasers are produced in China and exported globally, it’s obviously unlikely that many new builders, if any, will emerge. 

Maybe there won’t be any candidate, especially as there are indications that new builders would have to pay relatively steep annual fees - figures of US$100,000 and US$200,000 annually have been mentioned by the Laser class in that regard. 

Doubts can even be expressed about the viability of the Japanese builder, which is said to produce just some 50 boats per year. 

Another hurdle for new builders are the design fees on the Laser, to be paid to the New-Zealand corporation Global Sailing, which is closely related to PSA. The company bought those rights to the Laser Construction Manual from Bruce Kirby, apparently in 2009, but it’s unclear if those rights are valid. 

It appears that LaserPerformance, when still producing boats, was not paying royalties for those rights. New builders, to be approved, are however asked to do so by the Laser class. 

European Laser class officials have asked for the reinstatement of LaserPerformance as a builder, something the company is asking through a joint inspection by World Sailing and ILCA. 

No-one contests the conformity of the boats produced by LaserPerformance, and the company actually provided 120 boats for the ongoing World Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland. But there is obvious opposition to the reinstatement of LaserPerformance, which would jeopardize the above described commercial scenario. 

Will LaserPerformance start litigation for trademark infringement? Very likely, if it has not started yet, because of the major financial losses to be incurred if the Laser trademarks become sort of irrelevant. This will be a complex case, with multiple jurisdictions involved. 

Remember that there is still ongoing court proceedings for the previous attempt, that time by Bruce Kirby, to change the name of the Laser to the “Kirby Torch” in 2012. At the time, the Laser class stayed outside the case. This time, ILCA will be at the center of it, with hefty legal fees at stake. Who will pay for ILCA’s hefty legal bills, if not the members? 

LaserPerformance takes litigation seriously. For example, in 2012, it sued the Belgian dealer OptiTeam for importing and selling boats and parts manufactured by PSA. The judge ruled in favor of LaserPerformance. An appeal was denied in 2015 and the 2013 judgement was upheld. Apparently, OptiTeam filed for bankruptcy and LaserPerformance was unable to collect damages. 

If a legal war over intellectual property rights emerges between LaserPerformance, ILCA and PSA, it may take multiple years before things are adjudicated in court. Until then, it’s unclear if dealers will dare distributing fake Lasers as there will be risks of having to pay substantial financial compensations to LaserPerformance. Pretty fast, there will also be shortages of parts, sails, etc. 

The irony is that, except in a few regions such as North America, dealers are not complaining that much about LaserPerformance. Many of them, particularly in Europe, actually have pretty positive business partnerships with the company. Those companies are not interested in distributing fake Lasers and in taking substantial legal risks by doing so. But they may have to if they want to continue to serve the sailors. 

For the fake Lasers to become a reality at the Paris Olympics, several hurdles remain to be cleared. First, World Sailing will need formally approve the class rule allowing for multiple brands and generic boats to be sailed under the umbrella of the Laser class. It’s not clear how World Sailing will react this time. Last April, following the announcement of the name change to “ILCA Dinghy,” World Sailing reacted nearly instantly and clarified its position. 

In its April 27 statement, it can be read: “World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy” ... “World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing” ... “World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations” ... “World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers' position concerning production and intellectual property rights.” 

For the fake Lasers to be Olympic, the International Olympic Committee will also need to ultimately approve the fake Lasers as equipment for the games. 

And of course, the Laser class will need to successfully defend its actions in court. There may also be court cases against dealers, against PSA and new builders. 

The Laser class asserts that voting yes for the rule change “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics.” 

Obviously, this is just a slogan as there is absolutely no guarantee for that. 

Unlike what ILCA claims, there is no guarantee that the fake Lasers will make it at the 2024 Olympics. 

The rule change actually opens a gigantic can of worms that may have much more detrimental effects on the Laser class than losing its Olympic status. 

The reported lack of action by the trademark owners towards resolving their differences may actually be a direct consequence of the proposed rule change and the substantial commercial opportunities if could in theory generate for one of the key parties to the dispute. 

Vote Rigging 4 Fake Lasers 

Well before the rule change vote was announced earlier this month, it was well known that there was substantial opposition, particularly in Europe. 

For example, The European Laser class EurILCA issued on May 30 a circular titled « Laser Standard and Laser Radial Stay as Olympic Boats, and Now? » The circular calls for keeping the Laser name and rejects a name change to ILCA dinghy. 

There was also a petition, that received over 600 signatures, including from famous sailors such as Robert Scheidt, calling for keeping the Laser name and rejecting the changes proposed by ILCA. Actually, the petition was calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership. 

In short, the ILCA leadership knew very well that there was opposition to their plans. 

Yet, not only was the rule change vote launched at the very last minute - on July 1, but some will argue one day too late on July 2 - but it is also presented to sailors in a biased manner skewed in favor of the rule change. 

The ballot itself reads that one must vote yes “to secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements.” 

Voting yes to the class rule “will make sure that our class remains in the Olympics” asserts ILCA on the ballot. 

“To secure the future of our class, please ... vote “Yes” 

This sloganism in the ballot implies that a no vote would be the end of the Laser at the Olympics and absence of future for the class - nothing less. 

The ballot is obviously biased and unfair, and should never have been put forward as such to the membership. 

But there is more. 

The vote is conducted on an online survey called SurveyMonkey, which is geared at conducting surveys, not at voting, while there are many online professional voting systems out there that should have been used. 

The SurveyMonkey ILCA ballot does not allow anonymity in the vote, while this would be preferable, especially given the nature of the vote and the divisions it induced within the membership 

And a form must be filled out, but there is no control of the membership status (paid, unpaid) of those voting. 

There is no centralized database of the Laser class members worldwide, so on July 31, the Laser class should get in touch with all the districts / national associations and receive instantly the confirmation of the membership status for each of the votes - which is not possible to be done instantly. 

So, because the class started the vote so late, there is no reasonable way to expect an accurate count by August 1st. 

The Laser class is in fact in gross conflict of interest. In normal democratic elections, there are neutral parties to oversee the voting. Here the vote is conducted by a party to the vote, that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, i.e. a Yes vote. 

And there is more. The SurveyMonkey interface allows for those who run the vote to receive instant notification of the votes. Each time there is a vote, it’s possible to receive an alert, and also to access the voting data and statistics. 

This means that ILCA, which is a party to the vote, can monitor the vote and adapt its already biased and unfair campaign strategy accordingly. 

All these elements concur to one conclusion: the voting process implemented by the Laser class is grossly rigged and undemocratic. 

There was no need for that. And it’s a bit of a disgrace, particularly in light of the fact that for many members who are minors, it will be the first time they vote. 

To win, the yes requires a two third majority. This may look as a tall order, but with all the bias towards the yes, the fact that most members have no clue about what is going on, the low turnout typically taking place for such vote, and the low key attitude of EurILCA, which recommended to vote No, the Yes may well win. 

Whatever the outcome of the vote, it may not change things that much, as without an agreement among the parties, ILCA’s Plan B, with its fake Lasers, is not that realistic after all. 

The only proper action by ILCA to remedy this class rule vote masquerade is to withdraw it. That won’t happen of course. 

Yet, instead of waiting for the outcome of the vote or trying to further influence it with its recent assault on social media, ILCA may want to redouble its efforts and work much harder, with the help of World Sailing and possibly professional mediators, to reach an agreement among all the parties, including PSA and LaserPerformance. 

Because, ultimately, an agreement may be in the interest of everyone. 

Who actually wants to see fake Lasers at the 2024 Olympics? 

I CANNTT hear you!

Is there an echo in here?

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I'd be interested to know who really wrote that - or provided the material its written from. This reader thinks it reads very much as if its a EuroILCA source.

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It sounds like the editor has not kept up to date with a lot of the chatter on FB, other SA forums etc. Nearly as painful to read as that Belgian-Canadian's LP advertisements.

Nobody has said that LP will not supply the boats for the 2024 Games. If they can start complying with the LCMA and allowing the ILCA Technical Officer to inspect the factory, then it is very likely they'll remain as a builder of the boat regardless of the vote outcome. As it is, they already have a huge competitive advantage over any new European manufacturer in terms of brand name, supply channels, tooling and quality assurance. Speaking of competitive advantage, what about the competitive advantage LP has over PSA? Under the FRAND terms, there would be nothing restricting LP supplying PSA and PSJ's territories. A lot of sailors in AUS are unhappy with the prices of boats in Australia. At today's conversion rates, an LP 'Race' boat is nearly $2000 AUD cheaper than a PSA boat, and exporting to Australia would offer a 10% tax refund due to GST/VAT differences. LP also had the opportunity to subcontract a Chinese builder through Far East Yachts but backed out after everything had been approved. 

In terms of the voting process, even the World Council will tell you it's not supposed to be 100% democratic. The whole purpose is to ensure that the class members would agree with the direction the WC has already voted on, and agreed with. Pushing for class members to vote yes, is simply a way to explain the WC's reasoning for wanting to follow this path. 

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I love the part regarding, "Most of the areas LP serves don't have a lot of complaints.." (or something to that affect).  

But this one is the best, "Areas supplied by LP will see severe stock issues."  No Shit!  Really!  New flash--- Anyone been paying attention to NA and a few other areas over the last 10 YEARS!?!?!?!  Laughable and typical of the posts/information coming from the EURILCA and LP reps.  

The only Fake News I'm seeing is 75% of the "article".

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It all boils down to this. A NO vote puts LP in the driver's seat so they can continue to profit nicely on the European market (which apparently they serve well) and screw the NA market as they have for a long time. It also gives LP inordinate power over the class. A yes vote gives the ILCA the power, and the class, sailed under whatever name, is still in the hands of the sailors. There would be nothing "fake" about the boat.

Most of us who are paying attention will gladly trade the name for keeping the boat as our class. Whereas I might trust RS to act in the best interest of the sailors, the class and the sport I have no faith LP would.

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So kurthoehne

I take it your from North America? Welcome to the rest of the world. Getting screwed by LP? Now you have some idea as to how the rest of the world feels, apart from Europe. Sorry but US and Europe is not the world’ and a yes/no vote will not change anything.

RS is not the answer either.

Im having to stump up $17,500NZD ( $9500Pounds,  $10,500Euro, $11,500USD )for a new Aero, no covers, no trolley, no foil covers NOTHING! Zip, zilch, nada. Unlike other places. RS don’t  give a flying fuck about the customer. And so much for looking after them, global markets bla,bla,bla, 

Nobody gives a rats ass about the end user................. don’t see RS stepping in and saying hey! Let’s do something to get more boats down in New Zealand, I Hear they like to sail down there. And they are not to bad at it. Why are they being ripped off. Nope, they don’t give a toss, like all other greedy shits. MONEY!

So kurthoehne welcome to our’ world.

 

P.S I’m not buying an Aero, they can go fuck themselves with that bullshit pricing.

 

 

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3 hours ago, kurthoehne said:

It all boils down to this. A NO vote puts LP in the driver's seat so they can continue to profit nicely on the European market (which apparently they serve well) and screw the NA market as they have for a long time. It also gives LP inordinate power over the class. A yes vote gives the ILCA the power, and the class, sailed under whatever name, is still in the hands of the sailors. There would be nothing "fake" about the boat.

Most of us who are paying attention will gladly trade the name for keeping the boat as our class. Whereas I might trust RS to act in the best interest of the sailors, the class and the sport I have no faith LP would.

What's the current process for a new Laser builder to be approved?  It needs the existing builders to approve and another vote of some sort right?

Given the current situation, I personally don't see it being an easy path for LP to become an approved builder again under the current rules in a non FRAND world

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31 minutes ago, Pung boy said:

Im having to stump up $17,500NZD ( $9500Pounds,  $10,500Euro, $11,500USD )for a new Aero, no covers, no trolley, no foil covers NOTHING! Zip, zilch, nada. Unlike other places. RS don’t  give a flying fuck about the customer. And so much for looking after them, global markets bla,bla,bla, 

Oops,

brandnew Contender  in germany, sandwich hull,  carbon CB,  frp rudder, carbon mast, carbon boom, 11m2 sail, ready to race = 8020€ excluding vat.

 

 

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1 hour ago, JMP said:

What's the current process for a new Laser builder to be approved?  It needs the existing builders to approve and another vote of some sort right?

Given the current situation, I personally don't see it being an easy path for LP to become an approved builder again under the current rules in a non FRAND world

The current process is close to being finalized, many of the details are now in place.

Potential builders should make an expression of interest to ILCA.

The existing Laser trademark owners are attempting to reach an agreement so that the Laser trademark can be used on new boats. That process began in February 2019.

No matter what the outcome, existing builders still have the right to use the trademark in their territory.

Regarding LP's status as an approved builder, the last two letters of FRAND are pertinent; they are Non Discriminatory. That means it is not relevant to the process of whether or not the builder is liked, rather whether or not they can do the job. My expectation is that is if LP complies with the rules, they should be making boats in no time.

What would assist LP making approved boats earlier rather than later, would be if Farzad Rastegar reached agreement with PSA and PSJ to allow new builders use the Laser trademark. The expectation is that there will be a small fee on each boat made, paid into a pool, then shared: 80% to Rastegar (Velum), 15% to PSA and 5% to PSJ.

What will delay the process, is if proposals are made to use the Laser trademark as leverage to gain more powers. That has been tried. It has failed. (Please just do the right thing Mr Rastegar.)

Regardless of whether or not the Laser brand is used, there will be more builders.

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in the scenario where the no vote gets up and the laser is dropped from the Olympics, there's no need for the FRAND concern and LP is still not an approved builder.  I'm wondering what it will take for them to become approved and able to purchase plaques again.  I'd expect another vote of some sort is required?

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 6:49 PM, dgmckim said:

perhaps the Ed should have credited his source.

I will go one step further and speculate that Mr Kriekens wrote the 'article'.

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16 hours ago, JMP said:

in the scenario where the no vote gets up and the laser is dropped from the Olympics, there's no need for the FRAND concern and LP is still not an approved builder.  I'm wondering what it will take for them to become approved and able to purchase plaques again.  I'd expect another vote of some sort is required?

There would be a flurry of ILCA World Council communications. I expect they have already partly discussed this scenario - however a new plan, submissions, then vote.

If another rule change is proposed, then another ballot would be required. The supply issue would still need to be dealt with - but it would be a smaller problem because demand as a result of not being in the Olympics would be lower.

---

I'm wondering how many plaques if any Laser Performance have left?

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1 hour ago, Wavedancer II said:

I will go one step further and speculate that Mr Kriekens wrote the 'article'.

I don't know. There are some things about the writing style that are different from what I have read from M. Kiekens. 

I suppose it could be a first draft from Kiekens that was heavily modified by an "Editor." 

 

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1
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7
23 hours ago, Pung boy said:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
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6
23 hours ago, Pung boy said:

Im having to stump up $17,500NZD ( $9500Pounds,  $10,500Euro, $11,500USD )for a new Aero, no covers, no trolley, no foil covers NOTHING! Zip, zilch, nada. Unlike other places. RS don’t  give a flying fuck about the customer. And so much for looking after them, global markets bla,bla,bla, 
 

Nobody gives a rats ass about the end user................. don’t see RS stepping in and saying hey! Let’s do something to get more boats down in New Zealand, I Hear they like to sail down there. And they are not to bad at it. Why are they being ripped off. Nope, they don’t give a toss, like all other greedy shits. MONEY!

Solid rant.  You're picking on the good guys, but, still worth a chuckle.

That said, should all boat builders make their boats free for you?
What's the right price for you?  

I'd be curious to hear.

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20 minutes ago, WestCoast said:

That said, should all boat builders make their boats free for you?
What's the right price for you?  

I'd be curious to hear.

There is some truth in what @Pung boy is putting forward. Nobody is asking for free boats.

Comparing the Laser with the Aero here in the NZ market:

  • Aero NZ$17,500 (US$11,835)
  • Laser NZ$13,450 (US$9,096)

All figures current at the time of posting. Price isn't the only factor, but it is one.

There is fleet racing of Lasers in every town with more than 100K people, and in many smaller towns. In Auckland, there are multiple clubs (10+) which hold Lasers races, some clubs are stronger than others. There is a village near where I am right now with a population of about 1000. They had six Lasers turn out for a few races last summer.

The RS Aero has been marketed in New Zealand for a few years now. My understanding is that in the entire country, six Aeros have been sold, with three actively in use. It just hasn't gotten off the ground. Apologies to Hamish, but a better job could be done to promote the Aero class in New Zealand. I suppose these numbers 'just' qualifies NZ for having a dot on the map RS promotes. But a fleet there is not.

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1 hour ago, Bruce Hudson said:

There is some truth in what @Pung boy is putting forward. Nobody is asking for free boats.

Comparing the Laser with the Aero here in the NZ market:

  • Aero NZ$17,500 (US$11,835)
  • Laser NZ$13,450 (US$9,096)

All figures current at the time of posting. Price isn't the only factor, but it is one.

There is fleet racing of Lasers in every town with more than 100K people, and in many smaller towns. In Auckland, there are multiple clubs (10+) which hold Lasers races, some clubs are stronger than others. There is a village near where I am right now with a population of about 1000. They had six Lasers turn out for a few races last summer.

The RS Aero has been marketed in New Zealand for a few years now. My understanding is that in the entire country, six Aeros have been sold, with three actively in use. It just hasn't gotten off the ground. Apologies to Hamish, but a better job could be done to promote the Aero class in New Zealand. I suppose these numbers 'just' qualifies NZ for having a dot on the map RS promotes. But a fleet there is not.

To add salt to @Pung boy's wounds, I believe the NZ Aero distributor doesn't include the trolley, top cover & foil covers in that price where the Australian distributor does, so there's an even bigger price gap to the point it's potentially cheaper to buy a boat in Aus and send it across the pond, although I'm not sure which places are actually pricing them at 17K: https://www.nzwatershed.co.nz/product/rs-aero-57-9/

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1 hour ago, Bruce Hudson said:

There is some truth in what @Pung boy is putting forward. Nobody is asking for free boats.

Comparing the Laser with the Aero here in the NZ market:

  • Aero NZ$17,500 (US$11,835)
  • Laser NZ$13,450 (US$9,096)

All figures current at the time of posting. Price isn't the only factor, but it is one.

There is fleet racing of Lasers in every town with more than 100K people, and in many smaller towns. In Auckland, there are multiple clubs (10+) which hold Lasers races, some clubs are stronger than others. There is a village near where I am right now with a population of about 1000. They had six Lasers turn out for a few races last summer.

The RS Aero has been marketed in New Zealand for a few years now. My understanding is that in the entire country, six Aeros have been sold, with three actively in use. It just hasn't gotten off the ground. Apologies to Hamish, but a better job could be done to promote the Aero class in New Zealand. I suppose these numbers 'just' qualifies NZ for having a dot on the map RS promotes. But a fleet there is not.

I don't know the sales figures in NZL, I guess I could ask, but, that's a different question.

I guess I just wonder why a 40 year newer boat, with all the modern technology packed in, carbon spars, foils, and half the hull weight... should cost less than a Laser?
Our company sells both boats, so I don't think I'm missing something.... but maybe?

Newer cars - chock with more modern tech - don't cost less to buy than an older model.
Not sure why boats are held to the same standard?

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5 minutes ago, WestCoast said:

I don't know the sales figures in NZL, I guess I could ask, but, that's a different question.

I asked Hamish a couple of months back. The number is six.

28 minutes ago, JMP said:

To add salt to @Pung boy's wounds, I believe the NZ Aero distributor doesn't include the trolley, top cover & foil covers in that price where the Australian distributor does, so there's an even bigger price gap to the point it's potentially cheaper to buy a boat in Aus and send it across the pond, although I'm not sure which places are actually pricing them at 17K: https://www.nzwatershed.co.nz/product/rs-aero-57-9/

The importers, NZ Sailcraft, here on Trademe:

image.png.eeb13ff46c6619dc7d3c600eb3304901.png

Surprised to see Dan at the Watershed listing them. $12,712. A far more reasonable price. Didn't know. Last time I was there they had Laser in stock but no Aeros. (Maybe they had sold?)

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15 minutes ago, WestCoast said:

I don't know the sales figures in NZL, I guess I could ask, but, that's a different question.

I guess I just wonder why a 40 year newer boat, with all the modern technology packed in, carbon spars, foils, and half the hull weight... should cost less than a Laser?
Our company sells both boats, so I don't think I'm missing something.... but maybe?

Newer cars - chock with more modern tech - don't cost less to buy than an older model.
Not sure why boats are held to the same standard?

In Australia the RS Aero 7 is $13,395 AUD with Alloy trolley, Top Cover, Foil Cover and overdeck control lines.  To buy a similarly spec'd Laser with Carbon top section, Carbon Tiller, Deck cover, foil bag and alloy trolley you'll be stung $13,330 AUD.  $65 AUD difference for a 40 year newer boat with the modern technology packed in :)

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A lot of money compared to that contender. As far as I know they build ca 15 boats per year. Economies of scale? Ok, a Laser XD is 6100€ plus VAT, so about 2000€ cheaper.

 

 

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Interesting. In a thread titled “fake Lasers” the discussion is about the  RS AERO. 

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11 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

Interesting. In a thread titled “fake Lasers” the discussion is about the  RS AERO. 

And the Contender... Don't forget about the Contender!

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On 7/21/2019 at 12:52 AM, Gouvernail said:

Interesting. In a thread titled “fake Lasers” the discussion is about the  RS AERO. 

Just saw this an got a good laugh.  Well done Gouv.

On a more serious note and wondering if there is a positive at the club level for a yes vote outcome... is what you do think the likelihood is of generic Lasers and generic ILCA's (boats) competing with plaqued Laser and ILCAs at the club level much like we see generic sails and parts now?

Ignore why you might want to vote no, and assume the yes vote passes.  LPE is gone as an ILCA class builder and never coming back.  But they are building club Laser that are as similar to class legal ILCA dinghies as the generic sails (or parts) are to their class legal counterparts  The so-called generics might even be better (longer lasting) compared to class legal as well as being cheaper.  And once ILCA dinghies that look just like Laser trademarked dinghies survive all the court challenges (assume they do) it opens the door for any builder anywhere - even ILCA dinghy builders - to offer a cheaper non plaqued version of the boat into any and every market.  With a yes vote and successful implementation of the ILCA dinghy strategy by the class every single barrier to entry in every market will be eliminated and the contents of the LCM will be widely known (likely is already from the ILCA solicitation of new builders).  The door will be wide open to hopefully very cheap generic boats that look just like Lasers and ILCAs.  If the sails and parts got such good traction at the club level is it reasonable to think that generic boats would too?

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Do you really think ILCA will let anyone see the LCMA without some sort of confidentiality clause?

Do you also think that the ILCA Dinghy builders will not have to sign a non compete clause?

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Yea I I think there is a chance this works out the exact same way generic sails and parts did at the club level.  And if you think how to build a Laser is really secret and not widely and easily known I have a bridge I would like to sell you!  A non compete... that is funny.  Think that one through.  Really just think on that a bit. 

Hey Lemon - I did try to buy some of those fake Laser your friend Kirby promised to sell but his promises are even weaker and delivery even slower than LPE's, LOL. 

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17 minutes ago, Wess said:

Yea I I think there is a chance this works out the exact same way generic sails and parts did at the club level.  And if you think how to build a Laser is really secret and not widely and easily known I have a bridge I would like to sell you!  A non compete... that is funny.  Think that one through.  Really just think on that a bit

I don't think it's an Area 51 level secret, but it's enough of a secret to keep ILCA in existence. I'm sure you're not the first person to have any of the ideas above, and the reasons why it hasn't happened already aren't going to change because of FRAND.

Put another way, do you not think ILCA are smart enough to put protections in place to stop the above happening?

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19 minutes ago, lemonpepper said:

Good one! I'm not a fan of Kirby or the money he was/is trying to extract from the sailors. But good one none the less! 

Well I do have the Torch belts and T-shirts so I have that going for me.  Even a nice letter from his lawyer if you can believe that. Its so long ago I canntt remember but somebody on this forum accused me of being Kirby's lawyer... similar names and all. 

8 minutes ago, greenwhiteblack said:

I don't think it's an Area 51 level secret, but it's enough of a secret to keep ILCA in existence. I'm sure you're not the first person to have any of the ideas above, and the reasons why it hasn't happened already aren't going to change because of FRAND.

Put another way, do you not think ILCA are smart enough to put protections in place to stop the above happening?

I don't even know where to begin with this.  How can you get so much wrong in such a short post.  Good grief you do have me laughing so loud. 

"Enough of a secret to keep ILCA in existence."  O.M.G.  ILCA's existence has zip, zero, zilch, nada, nicht, nothing to do with the LCM.  The LCM could be broadcast on the evening news and your, your friend's, and Trump's twitter tomorrow and ILCA would still exist and take your money and do all the "smart" and dumb things they are doing today.  Nothing would change except for maybe some existing builders suing ILCA for breaching a confidentiality provision and they would have to hire lawyers they are going to need to fight LPE downstream anyway.

And no - seriously if you canntt get this I canntt help you - no matter how smart ILCA is or isn't, as an organization they are powerless to stop it.  Just as with generic sails and just as with generic parts.  And that you don't understand why speaks volumes.  The door is in fact open to this today.  ILCA actions will only open it wider and prove that there is nothing to fear (in terms of IP rights holders) waiting behind that door.

I have neither the time or inclination to explain why this is to you but I will give you a hint or two.  First think and understand what the ILCA strategy is with the ILCA dinghy (hint... its a generic Laser) and why nobody can stop them (other than you voting no).  Next, and back to generic Lasers and ILCA's being used at the club level like generic sails and parts, if you actually sail and race a Laser at the club level today then it is only you who can stop it. You and every other sailor.  By not buying and using what anyone could legally make and sell right now.

My gosh this place is fun and cracks me up. 

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'Somebody' is forgetting that the class is one design, that the plaques are issued by ILCA, and that ILCA represents Laser sailors.

The LCMA might very well exist without ILCA, however without ILCA (and the issuing of plaques) is meaningless.

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2 hours ago, lemonpepper said:

Good one! I'm not a fan of Kirby or the money he was/is trying to extract from the sailors. But good one none the less! 

What a dope. You do realize that ILCA and PSA are bringing Kirby back right? This is like shooting fish in a barrel. 

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Wow, Wess, good to finally see something somewhat resembling a response from you! Something in my answer must have got you riled up enough to take so much of your valuable time to craft such a lengthy response! 

If the contents of the LCM are so widely known,  why would you even need to mention it in your original post? Further, if it's such a good idea for Laser/ILCA builders to start building generic boats, why haven't they already done so? It's price discrimination 101. Make cheaper non legal boats so you're cheaper customers can also buy new boats. 

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Well... that answers who wrote the above:

image.png.a4946bd47631a72d101cb6a7dd177249.png

 

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Is "Tillerman" your real name of a fake name? ;) 

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1 hour ago, Gouvernail said:

Say no to the WS money grab!!! 

Agree. But first we need to vote yes to the rule change! :) 

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Why? The rule change is  all about staying in the Olympics   giving million$ to Whirled Sailing 

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