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Lasers - Applying a Blow Torch


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Note: I think the boats brought in and recently determined to be sold illegally but built by a builder where that builder held rights to use the logo and name are in no way unwelcome in ILCA races .

I think

 

I see no problem with that. There are plenty of AUS built Lasers bought there and brought to Europe by sailors who prefer the built quality of AUS boats, but that's another topic..

 

So: If NCD decides to manufacture toys that are exactly like Lasers. The ILCA will have to decide whether to once again modify its rules and to accept ANY racing toy that is built according to the Builder's Manual.

I doubt it. Nautisch Centerum Delfzijl is part of the BK's "Torch" network that appears to be established in order to oppose Laser.

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When are they going to make a decision? I need to know whether I should be training in my RS Aero or my Laser for Paris 2024.     

@WCB  i seriously doubt there is a soul contributing to this thread who honestly disagrees with my perceptions or the reasoning behind my effort to establish an AERO fleet in Texas and at my home

That is one version of the story but there are other views. Today, many years later, who seems intent on controlling what happens to money that does not belong to them and attacking those elected by

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So: If NCD decides to manufacture toys that are exactly like Lasers. The ILCA will have to decide whether to once again modify its rules and to accept ANY racing toy that is built according to the Builder's Manual.

I doubt it. Nautisch Centerum Delfzijl is part of the BK's "Torch" network that appears to be established in order to oppose Laser.

 

and the daughter of the owner of NCD is ranked in the top 25 in the ISAF Female Laser Radial ranking, sailing a class legal Laser built by LP.

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Hmmm ... I didn't know Dory Ventures, LLC owned Laser ...

 

http://lookwestlondon.com/2013/10/07/fulham-town-hall-plan-progress/

 

Look, yet another controversy with Rastegar ...

 

http://sarasparyarticleurl.blogspot.com

 

Who is this sailor named Nick Bottrill? Do 100's of sailors actually lose bits and pieces of their fingers each year? I had no idea.

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Hmmm ... I didn't know Dory Ventures, LLC owned Laser ...

 

http://lookwestlondon.com/2013/10/07/fulham-town-hall-plan-progress/

 

Look, yet another controversy with Rastegar ...

 

http://sarasparyarticleurl.blogspot.com

 

Who is this sailor named Nick Bottrill? Do 100's of sailors actually lose bits and pieces of their fingers each year? I had no idea.

 

Great find. Wonder if Fulham Council is fully apprised of the litigious penchant of the chosen buyer!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's another little gem:

 

 

The sailing school based at the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue will be closing its doors by the end of the year unless a new provider can be found.

LaserPerformance, the operator of SailLaser Centres, has made the decision to close its Weymouth office, based at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).

The SailLaser Centre in Weymouth will cease operations on 1 December 2013.

A WPNSA spokesman said: 'The WPNSA has received expressions of interest from both the private and education sectors and are in preliminary discussions with several potential operators.

'It is intended for a new operator to be in place and commencing activity as soon as possible in 2014.'

Restructuring

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's global businesses, which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

LaserPerformance has opened new SailLaser Centres on Lake Garda in Italy and in Berlin, Germany and aims to open new franchise centres globally on an on-going basis.

SailLaser Weymouth centre manager Warren Surtees said four or five other companies are currently in talks with the WPNSA about taking over as the on-site sailing school.

SailLaser Weymouth has been an on-site partner with WPNSA at Osprey Quay, Portland for the past seven years and has led the hugely successful Sail for £5 legacy scheme, which has introduced thousands of school children to sailing.

Warren said: ‘We're due to be off the site by 31 December, my personal goal is to make sure we leave with all our customers happy, to exit the site with all the relationships in the sailing industry intact and to help the academy in anyway that I can with the transition to a new provider.


Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535428/saillaser-weymouth-is-closing-down#QUh6rbZ3vR30Fdt5.99

 

I hope that they find a new provider...

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Who is this sailor named Nick Bottrill? Do 100's of sailors actually lose bits and pieces of their fingers each year? I had no idea.

 

He is Conservative leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which is a (mostly) upmarket area of London. I can't find any sailing references to him, however there are a number of sailing clubs on the Thames in the area.

 

Local councils in the UK are under intense financial pressure at present and it would be very hard for a council to turn down the offer with most £££ attached.

 

I remember Fulham Town Hall as a rather splendid Victorian building. Sorry to hear it's boarded up at present.

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Here's another little gem:

 

 

The sailing school based at the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue will be closing its doors by the end of the year unless a new provider can be found.

LaserPerformance, the operator of SailLaser Centres, has made the decision to close its Weymouth office, based at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).

The SailLaser Centre in Weymouth will cease operations on 1 December 2013.

A WPNSA spokesman said: 'The WPNSA has received expressions of interest from both the private and education sectors and are in preliminary discussions with several potential operators.

'It is intended for a new operator to be in place and commencing activity as soon as possible in 2014.'

Restructuring

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's global businesses, which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

LaserPerformance has opened new SailLaser Centres on Lake Garda in Italy and in Berlin, Germany and aims to open new franchise centres globally on an on-going basis.

SailLaser Weymouth centre manager Warren Surtees said four or five other companies are currently in talks with the WPNSA about taking over as the on-site sailing school.

SailLaser Weymouth has been an on-site partner with WPNSA at Osprey Quay, Portland for the past seven years and has led the hugely successful Sail for £5 legacy scheme, which has introduced thousands of school children to sailing.

Warren said: ‘We're due to be off the site by 31 December, my personal goal is to make sure we leave with all our customers happy, to exit the site with all the relationships in the sailing industry intact and to help the academy in anyway that I can with the transition to a new provider.

Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535428/saillaser-weymouth-is-closing-down#QUh6rbZ3vR30Fdt5.99

 

I hope that they find a new provider...

You do realize that LP is the owner of SailLaser Centers... IOW they are selling to themselves.

 

Note that from the article there is this little tidbid

 

 

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's [b}global businesses[/b], which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's global businesses, which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535428/saillaser-weymouth-is-closing-down#iyYQUgBXDxDU6Ibv.99

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's global businesses, which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535428/saillaser-weymouth-is-closing-down#LGSMFRH9REuEW2K0.99

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's global businesses, which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535428/saillaser-weymouth-is-closing-down#LGSMFRH9REuEW2K0.99

 

Notice the logic behind this. SailLaser is HQed in the UK and hence within the sales region of Laser Performance (Rastegar) but it "aims to open new franchise centers globally on an ongoing basis".

 

Now a franchise agreement typically has various quality minimum requirements AND ALSO can include "product sourcing" requirements. So a "Sail Laser Franchise" opening say in Sydney Harbour, could be required by Sail Laser HQ to buy its boats from Sail Laser UK.

 

Which of course is a backdoor way for Rastegar to sell into markets he supposedly isn't allowed to. Furthermore by selling used boats from the SL Centers (sailing centers often sell off used boats to fund getting new ones) he directly attacks the market of his competitors.

 

 

And just because Sail Laser is a franchise, doesn't mean that Rastegar himself cannot "co-own" the franchise.

 

 

this is truly slimy business tactics

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Note that from the article there is this little tidbid

 

 

 

 

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's [b}global businesses[/b], which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

 

Notice the logic behind this. SailLaser is HQed in the UK and hence within the sales region of Laser Performance (Rastegar) but it "aims to open new franchise centers globally on an ongoing basis".

 

Now a franchise agreement typically has various quality minimum requirements AND ALSO can include "product sourcing" requirements. So a "Sail Laser Franchise" opening say in Sydney Harbour, could be required by Sail Laser HQ to buy its boats from Sail Laser UK.

 

Which of course is a backdoor way for Rastegar to sell into markets he supposedly isn't allowed to. Furthermore by selling used boats from the SL Centers (sailing centers often sell off used boats to fund getting new ones) he directly attacks the market of his competitors.

 

 

And just because Sail Laser is a franchise, doesn't mean that Rastegar himself cannot "co-own" the franchise.

 

 

this is truly slimy business tactics

 

What an insightful post and a truly brilliant leap of logic.

 

From a mere announcement that SailLaser is relinquishing the site at Weymouth, Baltic has been able to deduce the worst order of "slimy business tactics" and breach of trademark.

 

Thus it was something of an anticlimax, (when checking the SailLaser website) to discover that all of sailLaser's sites are within LP's territory (global with the exception of Australia, NZ and Japan). Shucks.

To further add to Baltic's disappointment, there is little to support the notion that Rastegar was involved with the Bay of Pigs or with the conspiracy to assassinate JFK.

 

Back to the drawing board. I think there are enough real facts (chopped fingers on strollers) without inventing them.

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Note that from the article there is this little tidbid

 

 

 

 

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's [b}global businesses[/b], which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

 

Notice the logic behind this. SailLaser is HQed in the UK and hence within the sales region of Laser Performance (Rastegar) but it "aims to open new franchise centers globally on an ongoing basis".

 

Now a franchise agreement typically has various quality minimum requirements AND ALSO can include "product sourcing" requirements. So a "Sail Laser Franchise" opening say in Sydney Harbour, could be required by Sail Laser HQ to buy its boats from Sail Laser UK.

 

Which of course is a backdoor way for Rastegar to sell into markets he supposedly isn't allowed to. Furthermore by selling used boats from the SL Centers (sailing centers often sell off used boats to fund getting new ones) he directly attacks the market of his competitors.

 

 

And just because Sail Laser is a franchise, doesn't mean that Rastegar himself cannot "co-own" the franchise.

 

 

this is truly slimy business tactics

 

What an insightful post and a truly brilliant leap of logic.

 

From a mere announcement that SailLaser is relinquishing the site at Weymouth, Baltic has been able to deduce the worst order of "slimy business tactics" and breach of trademark.

 

Thus it was something of an anticlimax, (when checking the SailLaser website) to discover that all of sailLaser's sites are within LP's territory (global with the exception of Australia, NZ and Japan). Shucks.

To further add to Baltic's disappointment, there is little to support the notion that Rastegar was involved with the Bay of Pigs or with the conspiracy to assassinate JFK.

 

Back to the drawing board. I think there are enough real facts (chopped fingers on strollers) without inventing them.

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Agree with you BalticBandit, in that I picked up on the global statements too. (Either the the globe somehow doesn't count the region I'm in, or here are some clear global aspirations of Rastegar's 'empire'.) They would have difficulty opening a Sail Laser Centre in Sydney, at least without the permission of the Laser trademark owner there - which is Performance Sailcraft Australia.

I wondered if this will be raised in any way in the court case as a rebuttal to Rastegar's conspiracy theories about Performance Sailcraft Australia, that is if they ever see the inside of the court room. Probably not.

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Note that from the article there is this little tidbid

 

 

 

 

The closure is part of a restructuring of SailLaser's [b}global businesses[/b], which has seen the company move to a franchise model.

 

Notice the logic behind this. SailLaser is HQed in the UK and hence within the sales region of Laser Performance (Rastegar) but it "aims to open new franchise centers globally on an ongoing basis".

 

Now a franchise agreement typically has various quality minimum requirements AND ALSO can include "product sourcing" requirements. So a "Sail Laser Franchise" opening say in Sydney Harbour, could be required by Sail Laser HQ to buy its boats from Sail Laser UK.

 

Which of course is a backdoor way for Rastegar to sell into markets he supposedly isn't allowed to. Furthermore by selling used boats from the SL Centers (sailing centers often sell off used boats to fund getting new ones) he directly attacks the market of his competitors.

 

 

And just because Sail Laser is a franchise, doesn't mean that Rastegar himself cannot "co-own" the franchise.

 

 

this is truly slimy business tactics

 

What an insightful post and a truly brilliant leap of logic.

 

From a mere announcement that SailLaser is relinquishing the site at Weymouth, Baltic has been able to deduce the worst order of "slimy business tactics" and breach of trademark.

 

Thus it was something of an anticlimax, (when checking the SailLaser website) to discover that all of sailLaser's sites are within LP's territory (global with the exception of Australia, NZ and Japan). Shucks.

To further add to Baltic's disappointment, there is little to support the notion that Rastegar was involved with the Bay of Pigs or with the conspiracy to assassinate JFK.

 

Back to the drawing board. I think there are enough real facts (chopped fingers on strollers) without inventing them.

What "leap of logic"?

 

LP owns SailLaser.

Rastegar owns LP

 

Rastegar is pissed at what he perceives are the NZ team moving in on "his terrritory" -

 

His response is to move in on theirs. but to do so in a way that at the surface is not obvious to anyone.. How? By making a shell company "Sail Laser" - and then turning that into a "franchise" operation that can have "world wide presence" (ie in the markets that LP is not supposed to sell into)

 

And by going with a "Franchise" structure, and basing the HQ inside of his region, he can essentially make it look on paper as though LP is "clean hands" and "only selling in the UK" ....EVEN THOUGH "Sail Laser" as a franchisee, is bringing EU region hulls into other regions.

 

where is my "leap of logic"?

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what "leap of logic"?

 

 

And by going with a "Franchise" structure, and basing the HQ inside of his region, he can essentially make it look on paper as though LP is "clean hands" and "only selling in the UK" ....EVEN THOUGH "Sail Laser" as a franchisee, is bringing EU region hulls into other regions.

 

where is my "leap of logic"?

 

I stand corrected. You are right. There is no logic in your leap.

 

post-98269-0-05770800-1383753155_thumb.jpg

 

If logic were involved you might have observed that LP does not claim to be "only selling in the UK" and LP's region extends well beyond the EU.

LP's territory includes the US, Canada, South America, UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia (ex Japan and Australasia). Pray tell where are these "other regions" where you suggest "Sail Laser is bringing hulls into other regions" outside of LP's territory. A quick glance at SL's websites shows that there are precisely zero SL centers outside of the LP territory.

 

I'm not condoning Rastegar (hence my comment on "chopped fingers") but Gantt and Baltic's conspiracy theories are silly.

 

Its the loony bin supporters of GS/BK that make the Class Association seem so sensible.

 

Simon (who has some good points) must be head in hands.

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I'm not condoning Rastegar (hence my comment on "chopped fingers") but Gantt and Baltic's conspiracy theories are silly.

 

IPLore, for once we are in complete agreement. The conspiracy theories are completely silly!

 

However, just to be clear, exactly what are my conspiracy theories? Forgive me for asking, it's just that I didn't think I had any. I must have some, because you have said I do. And of course, as someone who does not believe in 'leaps of logic', and as a competent legal professional, you must have some facts found in post number 1515 on which to base this claim which I missed when I wrote it. It's great to see you demonstrating the level at which you play.

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Hi IPL,

 

Seeing as you are here, do you care to comment on post 1500? It is (I think) away from the loony fringe.

 

I'll try.

 

When you cut through the legal intricacies and boil it down to practical reality, here is what I think may have happened.

 

Two of the Class builders were embroiled in a commercial dispute. We don't have to understand the dispute (because we still don't....). The Class's appropriate response was to ask both sides to try and reconcile their issues amicably, and if they cant reconcile it amicably, the correct path was to take it to court. The Class, rightly IMO, should not be asked to judge the merits of their contractual claims.

 

One of the disputing parties perceived they might have an advantage outside of the courts. They asked the Class Association to suspend issuing plaques to their competitor. In effect, they asked the Class Association to shut down the production of class legal boats by the builder in 80% of the world so that they could enforce their will without going to court. The Class Association said "No, we are not going to do that. Please resolve your dispute amicably or take it to court". The party demanded of the Class Association that they had the right to demand the suspension of the other builder due to an arcane clause in the class rules.

 

The Class Association's response was that the class rules were never intended to be used in this way. Class rules should not be used to enforce your commercial contracts. Our only role is to safeguard the interest of our members. It is not in the interest of our members to shut down the production of class legal boats. It is not our role to enforce your dispute, no matter whether you are right or wrong. The answer is still no.....and if you continue to insist...we will simply change the rule, which is our right. Settle it amicably or take it to court.

 

The Class was right to take this path.

 

By maintaining the status quo, we have what we have now. Boats are still being produced and the contractual dispute is being resolved in court.

If the Australian builder/BK win the case.....they will be awarded the royalty fees that they believe they are owed including all the back fees. They may even end up owning the other builder.

If the US/European builder wins the case....then the current situation will continue.

 

I've tried to avoid saying this before because we haven't seen discovery, but IMHO, BK's claim of tortious interference vs the Class Association is incredibly weak. In this country, TI has to meet some very high pleading standards. Where does the plea meet those standards? If the Aussies win, and they get their royalties, what is their claim vs the Class? Even if they win and LP is bust, it was never the role of the class to collect the royalty fees from the builders. The claim that the Class Association is somehow hindering the launch of the Torch is so speculative (IMHO) that it is almost funny. Which factory? Where? Never mind the lack of trade mark as an intervening cause. I seriously will not be losing any sleep over the liability of the Class Association. IMHO, the claim is almost verging on frivolous.

 

Then we consider the alternative, if the Class had acceded to the demands of the Aussie builder and ceased issuing plaques to the USA/European builder.

Firstly, it would have caused an enormous upheaval to the Class. We have no idea if another builder would have been able to step forward. Any new builder would not have been able to call the boat, the Laser. They would almost certainly would have been enjoined in the law suit, something none of the quality builders would have wanted. We would then have been relying on the Vaporware Torch builders with who knows what as a business plan. LP would probably have carried on building without plaques, so then the class would be faced with the problem of how to treat the legitimate owners of illegal boats. Maybe there would be a builder. Maybe there would not. But undeniably it would be more upheaval than what we have now. Really, as far as the supply of boats is concerned, there has been very little upheaval.

 

If the class had acceded to the Aussie builder and it went to court and LP won the case, then IMO the legal position of the class would be much more precarious than it is now. LP's claim would not merely be royalties, it would be lost profits over several years and their claim would not solely be directed at BK and the Aussie builder. Who told them to stop building? The Class Association. Did the Class Association conduct the appropriate due diligence before suspending the issuance of plaques?......clearly not if LP wins the case. The class rules will not be a strong defense because Class Rules are not the law of the land. I can pass a Class rule that we can dump our sewer in the sea, but it wont help me much in court.

 

I continue to think that the Class Association took the right path, and it was the less bad of two difficult choices.

 

This in NO WAY should be taken to suggest that I favor either BK/GS or LP. I do not favor either side. Their argument shall be decided by wiser heads than ours.........unless they get real and settle the dispute out of court.

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IPLore, for once we are in complete agreement.

 

That is the most worrying statement I have read on SA for some time!

 

 

 

Gantt and Baltic,

 

I am a product of the adversarial system. I trust that my biting wit is taken in the good humor in which it is intended. I do relish a good debate. If you both sail, which you do, and care about the sport, which clearly you do, then you are more than okay in my book.

 

With respect

 

IPL

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Reader beware.
In the above post #1518 by IPLore, he claims to have no bias. For example, IPLore judges a class rule to be arcane, and overlooks the consequences of the ILCA changing the rule, the manner in which it was changed, and the mess the change created. He used the phrase "Vaporware Torch builder", which show clear bias. If the above cannot be taken as an unbiased representation of the facts, or indeed a complete representation of the facts.


IPLore makes mistakes in his post above. For example, he says "If the Aussies win, and they get their royalties, what is their claim vs the Class?". The action is by Canadian born Bruce Kirby, a US resident. It is not likely that any Australians will be paid by Laser Performance. Kirby has an action against the ILCA, which has been covered elsewhere. There are other mistakes, judgments and further examples of bias.

IPLore claims to have some legal expertise. The above would appear to indicate that if he does have some legal expertise, then it may be of low competence.

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IPLore, for once we are in complete agreement.

 

That is the most worrying statement I have read on SA for some time!

 

 

 

Gantt and Baltic,

 

I am a product of the adversarial system. I trust that my biting wit is taken in the good humor in which it is intended. I do relish a good debate. If you both sail, which you do, and care about the sport, which clearly you do, then you are more than okay in my book.

 

With respect

 

IPL

 

Not only do I care about my sport, IPLore, yet again I have called you (I do not have a conspiracy theory as you claimed), and yet again you have failed to respond in a meaningful way.

 

While you may have intended your statement to be in good faith, it would be nice for you to admit that you had it wrong yet again. That's what good sports do.

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Redstar, you yourself just explained how the rule change was intended to be of 'benefit' to LP - it was because (or at least this is what they were saying) the rule change allowed them to continuing building Lasers.

 

This is supported by LP pushing the ILCA to make the rule change.

 

That being said, it would appear that the rule change made no difference to LP, as they continued building Lasers before the rule change was made in April 2013.

 

I agree that the rule change has had no impact - there is plenty of evidence to support that. Rastegar considered his contract with Kirby void -

Sorry, but this misses a key point. Before the rule change, the ILCA had ceased to supply LP with builders plaques, on instruction from ISAF. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't buy a boat claiming to be a Laser that didn't have a builders plaque. So, without the rule change, LP wouldn't have been able to sell class approved boats.

 

If the class had been serious about sorting out this mess, they would have left the rules alone. That would have forced LP to act, either to agree with BK or gain an injunction that allowed them to keep getting builders plaques. In that way, the court would have decided if LP was entitled to build class legal Lasers. Instead, the class changed the rules. The remedies were there for LP, if they were in the right. The class didn't need to do anything.

 

If it made no difference to LP and they didn't gain out of it, why did they excerpt so much pressure on both the ILCA and ISAF to change the rule? Why did they hold a gun to both parties to get the change? If it made no difference and wasn't important, LP would have behaved differently. Instead, it is clear that Rastegar has committed a fair amount of money from his corporate empire to ensure he stays sweet with the ILCA and ISAF. Anybody who thinks he did that out of the goodness of his heart, love of the class etc needs to stop posting on here and look for the Disney Channel, or start reading fairy tales and taking them as fact as well.

Its getting to be time to go back to full time Laser sailing so its alway fun to check back in here to see what is being said. Simon's post aligns a bit with sosoomii's but I don't understand how what is proposed would be a viable strategy for the class to take.

 

Simon - To use the old 60's slang it sounds like MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) which would not benefit the sailors in the class. If ILCA and ISAF stop issuing plaques to LPE then ILCA can gets no boats from LPE as you note. They also get sued by LPE so the class is screwed in that regard either way. But it gets way worse on this path, no? With LPE having no plaques, the class has no boats in NA and EU. That sucks for sailors. No worries you say, a new builder - maybe even BK and his minions can build boats. But, wait what can they call those boats? LPE still owns the trademark to LASER, right? So BK can't call the boats that. So now we have a Torch in NA and EU and a LASER (or Torch) in Asia and the case would still not have been heard on its merits. How does this play out for sailors? It sucks, no? How about for the Olymipcs? It sucks, no? What just happened to the value of the trademark that LPE still owns called LASER? It would seem to be that it has been damaged beyond recovery, no? And thatLASER trademark is worth many many more than anything at play in the current litigation, no? You would have the class face triple damages aginst that loss? My point here is that the potential damages associated with the path you describe, to the sport, to the sailors, and to the class financially would be many many orders of magnitude more than the damages associated with what we now know to be a single digit royalty at play in the courts. ILCA was going to get sued either way and the way they went seems better aligned with the interest of the sport, the sailors in the class, and lower damages if BK should prevail.

 

By taking the path the class did, while they still get sued, it 1.) takes the mess out of the hands of the class and into the courts where it belongs, 2.) the financial damages at risk seem to be much lower, and 3.) makes the risks to the sailors they represent far less. That last part has clearly played out, right? The sailors (the people ILCA represents) can still buy, sell, and race LASERS! And the fruitcakes fight in court.

 

In the scenario you describe Simon, without an injunction from the court, the sailors are going to lose because nobody can build, buy or sell a LASER in NA or EU while the case drags on, no? So for the sailors its the exact opposite of what we have now. Simon, can you agree its (the class action; rule change) done nothing to change the merits of BK's or LPE's case? I agree if BK wins its back to the shitter described above because he can stop LPE from making boats for the class and LPE can stop BK from calling the boats BK makes a LASER so the sailors will be stuck in the middle/screwed... but only after the case is decided on the merits (which have not changed) and not before.

 

The bottom line is that its pretty clear that on the path the class took, the sailors are not getting screwed (this is a fact as of today) while the case is decided on the merits and the damages are around a single digit royalty if the class loses to BK. On the other path it seems the sailors would have been highly screwed before the case was decided on the merits and the damages vastly higher and linked to the value of the trademark if the class lost (in that instance, to LPE).

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Wess, what you say makes a lot of sense, though it might be applying some logic that didn't exist until after the fact. The facts demonstrate that the ILCA was in a little turmoil, the few statements that the ILCA did make reflected that the change 'had to take place urgently', and the survival of the class was at stake! That the contracts were obsolete. Yes, there were definite mistakes made by the ILCA. That being said - it was wiser for the ILCA to get sued by Kirby than by Rastegar/LP. The ILCA was prepared to break the agreement of plaque supply with Kirby - the not only broke the agreement - they advised Kirby that they had supplied plaques after the builder agreement had been terminated by Kirby (Citing that there was no longer a current builder's agreement).

 

Also, I suspect that Bruce Kirby waited until after the Olympics to take action, as he did not want to upset that event. (Many things here have been said about Kirby, however nothing can take away the fact that he's a huge fan of the Olympics and one design sailing.) Kirby has admitted to making mistakes concerning the sale of rights to GS (if the sale actually was legally and properly completed)

 

If the existence of paying royalties means I get screwed like have since the 1980s, then I wanna get screwed. (Honestly - sailing the funny little boat that Kirby designed is the best!) The reality is that the royalties make up a very small part of issues that Lasers had with respect to pricing.

So far as boats being built, there is a way forward and that is without the Laser trademark.

Either way, and because of builder contracts for the 2016 Olympics just a couple of years away, I don't see a resolution until then (They end 21 August 2016).

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He used the phrase "Vaporware Torch builder", which show clear bias.

 

Can I buy a Torch in Britain? Can anyone buy one anywhere? I've spent a few minutes looking and it appears the answer is no. If that is so, "vapourware" seems a fair description at this moment.

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There are some key points I believe need to be made

When you cut through the legal intricacies and boil it down to practical reality, here is what I think may have happened.

 

Two of the Class builders were embroiled in a commercial dispute. This is incorrect . The dispute was between a party that claimed to hold of certain rights under the builders agreements and a builder. It is irrelevant that the party also owned one of the legal class builders because they weren't acting as the builder but as the rights holder. We don't have to understand the dispute (because we still don't....). The Class's appropriate response was to ask both sides to try and reconcile their issues amicably, and if they cant reconcile it amicably, the correct path was to take it to court. The Class, rightly IMO, should not be asked to judge the merits of their contractual claims. The class was not asked to judge the merits of the claim but simply to administer the class rules that were set up exactly for this sort of situation

 

One of the disputing parties perceived they might have an advantage outside of the courts. They asked the Class Association to suspend issuing plaques to their competitor No, this is incorrect. They asked the class to administer the class rules in accordance with agreements. ISAF, on the basis of legal advice, also instructed the class to stop issuing plaques, because the builder concerned was in breach of the rules. In effect, they asked the Class Association to shut down the production of class legal boats by the builder in 80% of the world so that they could enforce their will without going to court. No, they asked them to administer the class rules The Class Association said "No, we are not going to do that. Please resolve your dispute amicably or take it to court". The party demanded of the Class Association that they had the right to demand the suspension of the other builder due to an arcane clause in the class rules. It was not an arcane clause in the rules. It was part of a series of mechanisms set in place to protect the interests of 4 parties, the designer, the class, ISAF and the builders. In exchange for this set of rules, BK gave away certain rights he had and left the class association in a good position. He could easily have kept a lot more control, including the issuing of builders plaques himself.

 

The Class Association's response was that the class rules were never intended to be used in this way. That is the worst comment of the lot. This is exactly what the rule was designed to prevent. It was part of a series of measures designed to maintain the status quo Class rules should not be used to enforce your commercial contracts. Our only role is to safeguard the interest of our members. It is not in the interest of our members to shut down the production of class legal boats. It is not our role to enforce your dispute, no matter whether you are right or wrong. The answer is still no.....and if you continue to insist...we will simply change the rule, which is our right. Settle it amicably or take it to court. Life doesn't work that way. BK vested in the association many benefits in exchange for a framework designed to be fair and protect his and the other parties interests. The class association decided that while the agreement benefitted them, they would support it but as soon as there was a problem, they would wash their hands of the whole thing. Great attitude - take all the benefits and run when things change..

 

The Class was right to take this path. The class was totally wrong to take this action, certainly on a moral basis, but I believe there is a good chance they were wrong on a legal basis as well.

 

By maintaining the status quo, we have what we have now. Boats are still being produced and the contractual dispute is being resolved in court.

If the Australian builder/BK win the case.....they will be awarded the royalty fees that they believe they are owed including all the back fees. They may even end up owning the other builder.

If the US/European builder wins the case....then the current situation will continue. What you fail to mention and dismiss below is the fact that if BK wins, the chances are that the ILCA will cease to exist, not just because of the risk that they will lose their part of the case. I think there is little chance that BK will end up owning the other builder because they now want the other builder closed down. The only way forward if BK wins is a new name and new association. Even if the ILCA don't get burnt by the suit against them, do you really think BK will do business with the current board or even the ILCA after what they have done?

 

I've tried to avoid saying this before because we haven't seen discovery, but IMHO, BK's claim of tortious interference vs the Class Association is incredibly weak. In this country, TI has to meet some very high pleading standards. Where does the plea meet those standards? I believe it does meet the highest standards. Without the rule change, LP would not have been able to sell class legal boats and this would have seriously hurt their sales or maybe even killed them. The only reason why they have been able to continue is because the ILCA (and ISAF) have sided with them. If the Aussies win, and they get their royalties There you go again. The Aussies aren't involved. It's BK. what is their claim vs the Class? Even if they win and LP is bust, it was never the role of the class to collect the royalty fees from the builders. It was the class's job to ensure the royalty was paid. That was the whole point of the rule which said that a builder must have a valid builders agreement, which the association knew was only valid if fees were paid. There was no other purpose in having that rule. That was the whole point of the clause The claim that the Class Association is somehow hindering the launch of the Torch is so speculative (IMHO) that it is almost funny. Which factory? Where? Never mind the lack of trade mark as an intervening cause. I seriously will not be losing any sleep over the liability of the Class Association. IMHO, the claim is almost verging on frivolous.

 

Then we consider the alternative, if the Class had acceded to the demands of the Aussie builder and ceased issuing plaques to the USA/European builder. Again, it was not the demands of the Aussie builder. You seem to want to perpetuate that falsehood. To start with, the company that bought the rights from BK is a NZ company. Secondly, the class did stop issuing plaques, on the advice of ISAF, following legal advice. What the ILCA did was to change its rules so that the builder didn't need a builders agreement any more.

Firstly, it would have caused an enormous upheaval to the Class. We have no idea if another builder would have been able to step forward. Any new builder would not have been able to call the boat, the Laser. They would almost certainly would have been enjoined in the law suit, something none of the quality builders would have wanted. We would then have been relying on the Vaporware Torch builders with who knows what as a business plan. Are you sure that you aren't involved with LP. To call the parties who were going to build the Torch "vapourware" is pretty pathetic as they are both respected members of the marine industry who could easily step into the gap. A little research would do you a lot of good, unless deliberate misinformation is your intent. LP would probably have carried on building without plaques, so then the class would be faced with the problem of how to treat the legitimate owners of illegal boats. Maybe there would be a builder. Maybe there would not. But undeniably it would be more upheaval than what we have now. Really, as far as the supply of boats is concerned, there has been very little upheaval. Again, this fair weather attitude doesn't stack up. What you are saying is that as long as the class benefits from agreements, they should keep them going but as soon as they no longer benefit, they should tear them up.

 

If the class had acceded to the Aussie builder Tiresome, but it is not the Aussie builder......... and it went to court and LP won the case, then IMO the legal position of the class would be much more precarious than it is now. LP's claim would not merely be royalties, it would be lost profits over several years and their claim would not solely be directed at BK and the Aussie builder. Who told them to stop building? The Class Association. Did the Class Association conduct the appropriate due diligence before suspending the issuance of plaques?......clearly not if LP wins the case. The class rules will not be a strong defense because Class Rules are not the law of the land. I can pass a Class rule that we can dump our sewer in the sea, but it wont help me much in court. This is the biggest distortion of the lot! The class could not have been faulted for enforcing a class rule. Even if LP won the case against BK, it still wouldn't have put ILCA in a bad position because the ILCA has the right to set whatever conditions it wants for people to comply with in order to play its game. There was no contract between LP and ILCA. However, in exchange for the ILCA protecting his position through the rules, BK bestowed a lot of independence and ability to work without which the ILCA would have been hamstrung. As such, there was, I believe, a de facto agreement between BK and the class association. And just to be clear, there is nothing the class could have one to stop LP building a boat called Laser and selling it. All they could do is stop those boats from racing in their races.

 

This in NO WAY should be taken to suggest that I favor either BK/GS or LP. I do not favor either side. Their argument shall be decided by wiser heads than ours.........unless they get real and settle the dispute out of court. If you don't want to be seen as favouring one side, you need to stop misrepresenting facts and smearing certain parties involved with BK

You also present the story from a single viewpoint, that of LP. For instance, you keep saying that it is not the job of the class association to get involved with the dispute. Rather than try to involve the association, BK should just have taken the matter to court. Surely exactly the same can be said from the other way around. Why should LP demand changes from the association when they should have sorted their issues out in court. It is particularly noteworthy that LP make certain claims but no attempt to enforce their rights through the courts. By siding with LP, it allowed them to get even more hard arsed and we know for a fact that is what happened as they broke off all attempts to negotiate a settlement, including cancelling meetings at the last moment. In addition, it now means that it is beneficial to LP to drag this on as long as possible. I believe that if the rule had remained in place, we would have a settlement now. Instead, despite what you say about supply, we have uncertainty. If BK wins there are just so many questions. To start with, every Laser built by LP after they stopped supplying BK plaques will not be class legal. Secondly, BK, who in winning would be reaffirmed as the rights holder, will have lost all good faith wrt ILCA. I don't see any way back in that relationship. It is my belief that ILCA bet the bank on this in exchange for some relatively short term peace.

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By maintaining the status quo

 

But the class didn't maintain the status quo. That's precisely the issue many have with the ILCA. It agreed to change class rules to favour one party in a commercial dispute.

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He used the phrase "Vaporware Torch builder", which show clear bias.

 

Can I buy a Torch in Britain? Can anyone buy one anywhere? I've spent a few minutes looking and it appears the answer is no. If that is so, "vapourware" seems a fair description at this moment.

 

I think the correct answer is "not yet". The use of term 'vapourware' implies that it will never be. My point is that the tern is not neutral, it has some bias.

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If IPLore had said that the Torch was vapourware, I might have said that was possible. The problem is that he says the builders are vapourware, which they most certainly aren't. If anybody thinks that BK couldn't get a network of builders up and running to build the "Kirby Dinghy", then they don't know much about what's going on. I think that BK would have a long line of reputable people wanting in on that and the names he mentioned are certainly reputable.

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The class association exists to build and promote the sport of Laser sailing. It is an association comprised of thousands of paid members who sail and race Lasers, and is run by representatives elected by those members. The class association has a constitution and bylaws designed by its members to achieve these objectives.

 

The class does not exist to protect the interests of any builders, designers, rights holders, or copyright owners. It exists to deliver the objectives above on behalf of its members.

 

The class association has acted in this way as expected. The sport of laser racing has continued despite this dispute, in line with the class member's wishes. Members can still buy boats, these boats are class legal, regattas sailing these class legal boats are atill happening.

 

Anyone who tries to reduce this whole affair to a 'for Kirby or against him' contest has either bought a little too much into his marketing, or has something to sell. Anyone who cares about the class wants an outcome that continues to deliver great racing, and the boats in which we race. That seems to be what the class has delivered thus far.

 

I can assure you that across the Asia Pacific region the overwhelming majority of class members support the actions the class has taken to date.

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Can I buy a Torch in Britain? Can anyone buy one anywhere? I've spent a few minutes looking and it appears the answer is no. If that is so, "vapourware" seems a fair description at this moment.

 

I'm more interested in when the Torch class will begin scheduling regattas and world championships. After all, we were warned to steer clear of any counterfeit boats that would not be welcomed at such events.

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Can I buy a Torch in Britain? Can anyone buy one anywhere? I've spent a few minutes looking and it appears the answer is no. If that is so, "vapourware" seems a fair description at this moment.

 

I'm more interested in when the Torch class will begin scheduling regattas and world championships. After all, we were warned to steer clear of any counterfeit boats that would not be welcomed at such events.

 

I think Bruce Kirby himself gave a hint to that when he did a presentation to the Webb Institute at the end of April this year. Near the end, after explaining that he owns the boat design and the builder owns the Laser name he said that he was advanced with plans for the Torch and said: "we're going to leave it up to the courts to tell us who's one the right side of the law". http://vimeo.com/66337925 (49:00)

 

I'm not so confident that actual Torch production will be effected until after the court case, and it's my best guess (as above) that we'll be sailing at Torch regattas (in Lasers and new Torches) from 2016 onwards, if Rastegar still owns the Laser name.

 

That being said, the news about Japanese builder situation is interesting. So maybe it will be earlier than that.

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Can I buy a Torch in Britain? Can anyone buy one anywhere? I've spent a few minutes looking and it appears the answer is no. If that is so, "vapourware" seems a fair description at this moment.

 

I'm more interested in when the Torch class will begin scheduling regattas and world championships. After all, we were warned to steer clear of any counterfeit boats that would not be welcomed at such events.

 

I think Bruce Kirby himself gave a hint to that when he did a presentation to the Webb Institute at the end of April this year. Near the end, after explaining that he owns the boat design and the builder owns the Laser name he said that he was advanced with plans for the Torch and said: "we're going to leave it up to the courts to tell us who's one the right side of the law". http://vimeo.com/66337925 (49:00)

 

I'm not so confident that actual Torch production will be effected until after the court case, and it's my best guess (as above) that we'll be sailing at Torch regattas (in Lasers and new Torches) from 2016 onwards, if Rastegar still owns the Laser name.

 

That being said, the news about Japanese builder situation is interesting. So maybe it will be earlier than that.

For the record I am not into parsing words and think most rational people know what IPLore intended in writing of Torch and vapourware but if you like parsing words you might start with BK's in the video and your own post. He does not "own the design." He could own patents, or trademarks, or copyrights. He could have contract rights (should contract be valid in the form of consideration and many other factors) relating to the design, but no, he does not "own the design." LPE and anyone else can make and sell a boat today that is an exact copy of the design and BK can not do about it because he does not own the design.

 

I don't make this point to argue. Frankly its not even relevant to the situation at hand. My point is its a waste of time to parse words. We all know what IPLore and BK intended and they both are correct in their intended meaning.

 

The strangest thing in all of this is that should BK win and there is no negotiated agreement, an outcome was described to me that I think (?) is possible and maybe even likely. It was described as a post BK contract litiiation win situation where LPE alone could and would still make and sell LASERs in the territories where they hold the LASER trademark, with the only difference being the lack of an ILCA builders plaque on those boats, and BK (or his designated parties) making and selling Torches in the same terriroties that have a Torch class plaque assuming there is enough interest that such a class develops and get recognized by ISAF and entered into Olympics, etc... I am not arguing for this but it went on that there isn't actually anything that would/could stop the sailors... owners of existing (and the future as speculated above) LASERS (or Torches, or anything else that measures in) with and without plaques of forming or joining a new class association for anything that looked like (measured and met certain specifications) the original LASER design, and maybe even still call it the LASER (so some slight variation) class so long as the respective trademark holders in each territory agreed which in theory LPE would but GSA would not. Thus any class(es) would be splintered or so the story went. An interesting yarn from a friend in the biz... credibility unknown.

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I thought it might be useful to talk a little bit about "Tortious Interference"

 

It makes a delicious topic for a Friday evening at the Tapas bar.

 

Tortious Interference occurs when a third party interferes with the business relations between two other parties. You cannot stand outside my store and threaten to shoot anyone who comes inside. More commonly, you cannot intentionally and fraudulently persuade someone to break their contract with me.

 

The US legal system generally sets very high pleading requirements for a claim of tortious interference because we are the land of free enterprise and competition. When there is a thin line between competing for someone else's customers and tortious interference, our courts like to favor competition. As a result, a claim of TI is intensely factual and has to meet several high hurdles that have got higher in recent years. There is some variation between state jurisdictions (and I am no expert on CT law) but the thrust of the requirements is consistent and two notable Supreme Court decisions have further heightened the requirements.

 

For a claim of tortious interference with a contract, the plaintiff (BKI in this case) must demonstrate :

(A) The defendants knowledge of the contract B. The defendants intentional inducement of the other party to break their contract and C) There are actual damages to the plaintiff.

 

To establish any tortious interference claim:

A) The plaintiff must establish that the defendants conduct was "tortious" or wrongful. From a Connecticut case, Blake v. Levy (A.2d 52 Conn 1983), Tortious Conduct requires proof that "the defendant was guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, intimidation or molestation or that the defendant acted maliciously". From another Conn Appeals Court decision Golembski v.Metichewan Grange (A 2d 1157 Conn. App. Ct.1990) The plaintiff "must plead and prove at least some improper motive or improper means".

 

B. Courts have generally required that the plaintiff show that the defendant wrongfully interfered for the sole purpose of harming the plaintiff.

 

C) Finally the courts require that the action and the damages must be "intentional". Negligence does not suffice.

 

Turning then BKI/GS's possible claims of tortious interference with regard to the Class Association (based on a subjective opinion without access to the facts that will emerge during discovery):-

It is hard to see how BKI/GS will claim that the ILCA induced LP to breach their contract with BKI. Surely the proposal to amend the class rules occurred after LP is alleged to have broken their contract with BKI

 

As to any other claims of tortious interference. All of these conditions must be met and all of them face problems.

A) I would be surprised if BKI/GS discovers fraud, improper motive, improper means or malice. There is one argument that the Class is an association and the matter was put to a vote, so the plaintiff might potentially have to show that the class members acted maliciously. Nevertheless it is going to be extremely difficult for the plaintiff to show that even the class officers acted maliciously.

B. Furthermore I think it will be very difficult to show that the sole intent of the ILCA was to interfere or harm BKI/GP. The record as we currently know seems to demonstrate that the Class tried hard to encourage the two parties to reconcile their differences and took the steps that it did in order to avoid an upheaval on behalf its members. If the rationale that the ILCA publicly described (preserving the status quo of the supply of boats for members) is only one substantial reason among others for their actions, then a claim of tortious interference is going to struggle.

C) What are the damages that the ILCA intended to inflict? If BKI/GS win their case, and receive their outstanding royalties, what are the damages?

 

Again....I am not commenting on the case between LP and BKI/GS but it seems to this casual observer that the claim vs the Class Association is weak .

 

I truly bear BK no ill will. I like what he stands for and I hope the man does well in court. But I think that the Class Association did the right thing.

 

 

 

 

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Anyone want to speculate on the Japan builder termination situation?

I know that is a bit of an ask in this thread...

 

Is the old Laser Japan builder and/or Laser Japan TM holder BK-friendly?

A Rastegar co?

Anything other than the Torch website news blurb give a clue about it?

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With Performance Sailcraft Japan, I seem to recall a Sail World article saying that the Japanese were expected to go the same way as PSA. After a quick look, I could not locate the article, perhaps someone else can. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of Takao Otani, who (from memory) has attended many of the ILCA World Council meetings.

 

Here's a new Laser Performance website: http://dev.laserperformance.com.php53-5.dfw1-2.websitetestlink.com/

 

It looks like it is still under development, with missing pages.

 

Here's something new (at least new to me - I may have missed it previously) from the FAQ section:

Why did LaserPerformance cease paying royalties to GLobal Sailing Ltd., Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby Inc.?
LaserPerformance never ceased paying royalties in North America. Because of confusion in 2011 as to the correct ownership of Kirby rights, royalties were put into escrow pending ownership resolution with the full understanding of Bruce Kirby and Global Sailing.
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The statements from LP are very strange. On one hand, they say they stopped paying in Europe because GS terminated their builders agreement and on the other, they kept money in an escrow account wrt North America. Are they saying that GS only terminated the builders agreement that covered Europe? That makes zero sense, particularly as GS/BK claim the termination was due to non performance by LP. This whole thing about "confusion" as to who owned the rights doesn't pass the smell test. We knowm that BK was in direct contact with Rastegar over this period. We have also seen claims from BK that it was LP who broke off talks and IMO, the naivety of BK's comments and approach (direct, without lawyers) certainly had more credibility than the corporate spin we see from LP.

 

But may favourite from that website is when clicking in the link "Laser Performance Offer" and "Letter Laser Mediation JP" - it says "not found - This is somewhat embarrassing, isn't it?" How true......

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I saw a couple of "communications" as well and was struck by how naïve and trusting BK seemed to be. I am sure his lawyer would have been pretty unhappy by his attempts at "moving forward". I was also taken by one note from Rastegar which seemed to me to be a total "fuck you" about face breaking off all talks. Of course, I accept that this was a small part of what went on and I cannot know if it is at all representative of the rest of things.

 

However, IIRC, Rastegar also broke off talks that involved the ILCA, BK and ISAF. Again, we don't know the background to that, but it has certainly been positioned by others as LP killing off talks.

 

I am sure the full story will come out in due course. At the moment, I treat both sides with unequal scepticism. I am sceptical of BK's position because I suspect that he might have been too trusting and is now basing some of his position on a moral case rather than just a legal one, while I am even more sceptical of LP because of Rastegar's past record with companies and the way they have treated the Laser buying public at large and the ILCA in general. I side with BK because while I know that LP don't care less about the Laser community other than as a cash cow, I believe that underneath it all, BK comes from a position of wanting to do the right thing by the community even if at times it gets lost in the haze of war

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I'm not a lawyer, and I won't argue with IPL about whats happening with the courts or ILCA, the previous 16 pages does that enough. As a designer I would tend to side with BKs design rights, although he may have stuffed that up by allowing the trademark to be separated from the design.

 

However, I do think he is wrong about the "leap of logic" conspiracy. This is a fairly standard business model employed by global companies such as Adobe, Google, Ikea, Apple, Costco etc as part of tax minimization. It is usually attached to the so called Double Dutch Irish Sandwich, somtimes with a dash of Caribean (Cayman Islands) Rum on the side. While usually a tax minimization, Costco are using it here in Australia to get around Australian distrubutors of certain brands, selling from their US warehouse to the Australian operations.

 

Given Rastegear's, shall we say, interesting business history I wouldn't put it past him do to this.

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I get a kick out of how many people that post here are not members of the class or don't even race or sail a LASER but are happy to tell those of us who do what we should do.

 

I look forward to racing again (LASER is my winter program) with my LASER friends. I am reminded over and over again its not the boat, its the pople in the fleet and the volunteers in the club that make this class so great. My hat is off to you all.

 

But the boat. Damn, after almost a year racing others classes I did the necessary repairs to the old gal and decided to go test sail the boat and shake off some of the many layers of dust on me. And damn, I do love this boat. Thanks Bruce. Not a fan of the legal actions but I do love the boat!

 

On Saturday I was taking new crew out on our F27 trimaran and buzzed around with G&Ts in hand doing 15 knots. That's about when you really need to start paying attention on an F27. Great boat. Thanks Ian. No way a LASER can do that, right?

 

Hah, threw the Go Pro on the LASER for the cobwebs/repairs shakedown cruise to see what I could see. Out into Annapolis harbor I went using the mnooring balls up by Spa Creek bridge for a WW/LW course. Nothing broke, and I managed some (rough) roundings and headed further out into the harbor to find some more breeze. What I found was a large HS regatta so got past them and a found a bit more breeze and went back to work on manuvers and roundings. Downwind speed seemed really slow and I felt out of sort so out into and across the Bay (W breeze) I sailed planning to turn around at the Eastern shore. Got there, and instead headed off on a screaming reach down the Bay to Thomas Point. Was seeing regular 12-15s plus of boat speed on the Go Pro when I could see it past all the spray. Never saw less than 10 knots and the wave pattern was such that the boat just seem to glide over it all. Mile after mile a big grin on my face. Gybe at Thomas Point and back into the harbor. Almost got me thinking of distance racing a Laser... nah! Still what a fun sail for this old fart. My legs hurt, my arms hurt, hell everything hurts and I have rope burns from the holes in the gloves but what a hoot and joy to sail that boat is. Thanks Bruce.

 

Great fleets, fantastic class, and a fun boat. LASER!!! Still love it.

 

Have fun in court. You can find me on the water.

 

Wess

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The statements from LP are very strange. On one hand, they say they stopped paying in Europe because GS terminated their builders agreement and on the other, they kept money in an escrow account wrt North America. Are they saying that GS only terminated the builders agreement that covered Europe? That makes zero sense, particularly as GS/BK claim the termination was due to non performance by LP. This whole thing about "confusion" as to who owned the rights doesn't pass the smell test.

 

I've been wondering how deliberate these seemingly confusing things are. If LP lose the court action (The right for BK to cancel his contract) is upheld, then LP is advantaged by delays - and I wonder if LP is attempting to slow the process down. Perhaps from LP's perspective, confusion equals delays.

 

Their position right now is good, they get to build Kirby's boat with the agreement of the ILCA and the ISAF.

 

Now I understand why Kirby (from his perspective) had to do the legal action against the ILCA and the ISAF. If LP loses, as he needs to be able to stop the ILCA / ISAF 'authorising' LP's production of the boat he designed.

 

If the ILCA/ISAF had not 'authorised' LP's boat production, I wonder if we would have a new builder by now, or if LP (with so much to lose) would have changed it's tune and it would be sorted! Let's say Kirby's boat is rebranded as the Torch. This act would devalue the Laser brand considerably - though the brand will still exist with about 5 other classes.

 

Also, at the moment, if I go to Laser Performance's main website, click on North American region, press buy now, I can order a Laser and have it shipped anywhere in the world, including NZ and Australia. (Ooops!)

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Also, at the moment, if I go to Laser Performance's main website, click on North American region, press buy now, I can order a Laser and have it shipped anywhere in the world, including NZ and Australia. (Ooops!)

 

Sigh. Epic Fail!

 

Try it and get the message:

 

Unfortunately one or more of the items in you cart can't be shipped to your location. Please choose a different delivery address

 

+ this is totally irrelevant. Neither party has claimed that LP is selling Lasers in Australia and the Class Association certainly hasn't endorsed that.

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The statements from LP are very strange. On one hand, they say they stopped paying in Europe because GS terminated their builders agreement and on the other, they kept money in an escrow account wrt North America. Are they saying that GS only terminated the builders agreement that covered Europe? That makes zero sense, particularly as GS/BK claim the termination was due to non performance by LP. This whole thing about "confusion" as to who owned the rights doesn't pass the smell test. We knowm that BK was in direct contact with Rastegar over this period. We have also seen claims from BK that it was LP who broke off talks and IMO, the naivety of BK's comments and approach (direct, without lawyers) certainly had more credibility than the corporate spin we see from LP.

 

But may favourite from that website is when clicking in the link "Laser Performance Offer" and "Letter Laser Mediation JP" - it says "not found - This is somewhat embarrassing, isn't it?" How true......

 

I certainly wouldn't endorse the moral motive here but I think one could guess at the legal motive.

 

In its counter claim, LP claimed that GS terminated the BKI builders agreement for Europe (which includes Asia, where LP claims GS was trying to extend its territory) but GS did not terminate the BKI builders agreement for the US.

 

LP might thus want to be seen to keep paying the royalty for the US but avoid it reaching GS until the issues are resolved.

 

If LP simply refuses to pay GS/BKI, they would be in breach of the US contract and if the royalties are subsequently recovered they would be liable for statutory interest on those royalties. In some jurisdictions, this can be as high as 12% per annum. By making the payments into an escrow account this might help (but certainly doesn't guarantee) that LP avoids these issues. "Look, we wanted to abide by the contract, we were happy to pay the royalty. We haven't been keeping the money. Its sitting right there in an account waiting for its rightful owner. Aren't we nice people?" But they need a viable reason in the eyes of the court to pay the money to escrow. The simple one to come up with is that they don't know who really owns the rights anymore. This might be why they also spend some time in their counter claim challenging whether the rights have really been transferred back to BK.

 

It might have been credible to pay the royalties into escrow once BKI filed the case and /or notified by BK that he had recovered the rights, but one is less convinced of this argument for the royalties due before BKI filed? LP will need an attorney with a silver tongue to convince the court that they don't owe statutory interest on the amount in escrow before the filing. But there are lots of other factors that would effect this.

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I confess that I am nonplussed at the decision by BKI to terminate the Japanese BKI builders agreement. I'm obviously missing something because I can't understand that one.

 

- It doesn't stop the Japanese builder from building Lasers. Anyone can build a Laser. He owns the trademark, so he can call it a Laser. The Class and ISAF recognize him as a compliant builder so he can get plaques and sell them as legal boats.

- By all reports, he is very popular with his customers and well liked by the Laser community.

- He was paying a royalty to BKI (at least that's what we were led to believe)

- All that happens with the termination of the agreement is that (I) The Japanese builder stops paying the royalty that he was previously paying and (2) It suggests that BKI believes this is a contract that can be "terminated at will" and I'm not sure why this is helpful.

 

So I'm clearly missing something. Why would BKI terminate this agreement?

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Ha. I was wrong - I could complete the form with a NZ data, and yes, you do get the message when pressing the button "Ship to this address" which I didn't do. IPLore, it would have been relevant were it possible to order.

 

You get the same message if you want your purchase shipped to Mexico.

 

Note, that I admitted that I was wrong, and did not ignore the above comments. I did not accuse IPLore of hair splitting. Nor did I post a long post of "Tortious Interference" in the vain hope that my mistakes would be buried.

 

Now, about the mistakes that you have made IPLore? Are you going to continue to ignore the issues SimonN raised? So far you have.

How about you SimonN? Or do you still think that the statement "Yet again, I believe you are wrong. GS owns PSA." is correct enough?? (And to state otherwise is "pedantic and its pointless")

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I confess that I am nonplussed at the decision by BKI to terminate the Japanese BKI builders agreement. I'm obviously missing something because I can't understand that one.

 

- It doesn't stop the Japanese builder from building Lasers. Anyone can build a Laser. He owns the trademark, so he can call it a Laser. The Class and ISAF recognize him as a compliant builder so he can get plaques and sell them as legal boats.

- By all reports, he is very popular with his customers and well liked by the Laser community.

- He was paying a royalty to BKI (at least that's what we were led to believe)

- All that happens with the termination of the agreement is that (I) The Japanese builder stops paying the royalty that he was previously paying and (2) It suggests that BKI believes this is a contract that can be "terminated at will" and I'm not sure why this is helpful.

 

So I'm clearly missing something. Why would BKI terminate this agreement?

 

Exactly as stated on the Torch website - to clear the way. The builder's agreement grants the exclusive right to build the Kirby Sailboat in the territories stipulated in the agreement.

 

On a separate note, what kind of legal qualifications do you have IPLore?

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Is the "old" laser japan builder (PSJ, right?) unrelated to the other regional builders?

Any chance they are going to be the Torch builder now?

...and the termination was just part of that process?

 

With no public conflict in that market (that we are seeing) it seems odd.

Of course 16 pages in to this thread I have forgotten a lot of stuff.

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Is the "old" laser japan builder (PSJ, right?) unrelated to the other regional builders?

Any chance they are going to be the Torch builder now?

...and the termination was just part of that process?

 

With no public conflict in that market (that we are seeing) it seems odd.

Of course 16 pages in to this thread I have forgotten a lot of stuff.

 

Yes, Performance Sailcraft Japan are independent of the other builders. I think the intention is that they will become the new builders based in Japan. With the Laser, the territory was Japan and South Korea. (I wonder if that will be expanded under the Torch?) The termination was clearing the way.

 

The conflict was with the builder's agreement that had exclusivity for the building of the Kirby sailboat (aka the Laser).

 

These are people who believe that the contracts hold weight, that to work in a ethical and legal way, that the terms of the contract/s must be honoured.

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I get the impression the Japanese builder is begrudgingly going along with whatever BK wants, even if it means he can't sell boats for awhile.

Why do you think there is anything begrudgingly about it? I don't know if Takao Otani still owns/runs PSJ, but he is one of the most honourable and decent guys I have met in sailing and if it is him, he will be doing what he believes is morally right.

 

And I know what I am about to say is a moral argument, but I can't help but observe that one side we have people who, up until this dispute, were considered the good guys of the Laser commercial world aligned against the one bad egg, a bad egg that the customers have been moaning about for years (assuming that PSJ have sided with BK, which is what I had been led to believe some time ago). Yet the ILCA has chosen to side with the builder who has given them and their members the worst service and caused them most problems.

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Good grief, there was nothing moral or immoral about it.

 

Are you in the class, do you even sail the boat? For most of those that care about the people in the class that are sailing the boat this is really not that hard. This is why other than a few crackpots here and there on the internet, there is no groundswell opposition from those that sail the boat against the actions of ILCA or ISAF. They protected those of us that sail. Hurray!! The class did not create this mess. That is obvious to anyone. Its been reported over and over that the class was going to be sued either way. The path picked allowed a continued supply of boats that otherwise would not have been and thus allowed the sailors to keep sailing all while exposing the class to lower risk than the alternative.

 

As somebody that actually sails the boat and cares about those that do, I have no love for LPE. In fact nothing would make me smile more than to see all of them - LPE, BK, and PSA - kicked out and and have to earn an honest wage, leaving the class with the tools to protect itself and manage its business. Small chance of it happening, but it could!

 

Hats off to ILCA and ISAF.

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Why do you think there is anything begrudgingly about it? I don't know if Takao Otani still owns/runs PSJ, but he is one of the most honourable and decent guys I have met in sailing and if it is him, he will be doing what he believes is morally right.

 

And I know what I am about to say is a moral argument, but I can't help but observe that one side we have people who, up until this dispute, were considered the good guys of the Laser commercial world aligned against the one bad egg, a bad egg that the customers have been moaning about for years (assuming that PSJ have sided with BK, which is what I had been led to believe some time ago). Yet the ILCA has chosen to side with the builder who has given them and their members the worst service and caused them most problems.

 

You misunderstand. He is being used as a pawn, just like the rest of us.

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Why do you think there is anything begrudgingly about it? I don't know if Takao Otani still owns/runs PSJ, but he is one of the most honourable and decent guys I have met in sailing and if it is him, he will be doing what he believes is morally right.

 

So does anyone know if Takao and PSJ has been terminated to :-

 

A. Clear the way for PSJ to be reappointed as builder for the Torch or

B. Clear the way for PSA to enter the Japanese and Korean market with the Torch.

 

If A, then why didn't the announcement simply say that PSJ was being appointed as builder of Torch?. Why did the announcement say he had been terminated as licensed builder of Kirby sailboat? I thought the Torch was the Kirby sailboat.

 

Its not a very clear announcement

 

I thought PSJ and B Kirby were friends + PSJ had stayed onside with ISAF and it looked like it was the one market that had managed to stay clear of the fracas.

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Well I will be blowing horns, flying flags, and taking numbers up here for my Laser friends next Sunday at 1PM EST. Want to set a new PR and get 9 races off so be on time. You could bring that Torch you love so much. :wacko:

 

Everyone is welcome. Even whiners.

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Well I will be blowing horns, flying flags, and taking numbers up here for my Laser friends next Sunday at 1PM EST. Want to set a new PR and get 9 races off so be on time. You could bring that Torch you love so much. :wacko:

 

Everyone is welcome. Even whiners.

.

 

Note: It might not have been a real good idea to post libelous materials about a fellow and then mention owning an F-27 and being the RC guy at Annapolis this weekend.

Defense attorneys can cost a fortune.

So you have experience with that?

 

I don't hide Gov. Most everyone here knows who I am.

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Don't know what you are on about but again I am easy to find if you have an issue.

 

There is an expression that come to mind about a pot and a kettle but I don't know why and its only an opinion of course. Who was talking to you anyway?

 

This site is usually all about "don't you know who I am?" This seems like a "who r u" monent. ***********? Really?? That's kinda funny.

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Check your inbox. I will decline to respond further. And, no I dont want to research or know who you are. I don't do stalker; I do sailing. All in my opinion of course.

 

Now, to find that ignore button...

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Anyone want to speculate on the Japan builder termination situation?

I know that is a bit of an ask in this thread...

 

Is the old Laser Japan builder and/or Laser Japan TM holder BK-friendly?

A Rastegar co?

Anything other than the Torch website news blurb give a clue about it?

 

I referred to an article I recalled in Sailworld: here it is:

"Current manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat under the Laser brand, Performance Sailcraft in Australia are in the process of converting over to manufacture the Kirby sailboat under the Kirby Torch brand. It’s expected that Performance Sailcraft Japan will follow the same path (but this is unconfirmed at this time). " Source = http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=108308 11 April 2013.

 

The article is by Rob Kothe, but no sources or references are given. The above doesn't add much at all.

 

I guess any progress is happening behind the scenes - and there must be some, otherwise Kirby would not have made the release about the PSJ termination.

 

If there is huge support for the actions of the ILCA, I can't tell. Most people are not making a commitment for Kirby's position or the ILCA actions. Most Laser sailors that I have asked are just members of the local club. There are only two boats that have the NZLA stickers on the back of their boat. Most sailors are more concerned with the race at hand, or what they will be sailing next season.

 

Sailed my Laser called "Torch" yesterday - we had three races... first two were a bit of a procession - but the last saw a three way battle for first - and ended up with the sailor that was third overtaking the other two on the last windward beat to win, while the boat that was winning (me) had to settle for third... One of the best races in a long time, in spite of the result. It was warm, sunny 10 to 15 knots... really nice.

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I referred to an article I recalled in Sailworld: here it is:

 

 

 

"Current manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat under the Laser brand, Performance Sailcraft in Australia are in the process of converting over to manufacture the Kirby sailboat under the Kirby Torch brand. It’s expected that Performance Sailcraft Japan will follow the same path (but this is unconfirmed at this time). " Source = http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=108308 11 April 2013.

 

The article is by Rob Kothe, but no sources or references are given. The above doesn't add much at all.

 

It must be a long process to convert to building the Torch - it's taken them seven months and counting. Meanwhile they're still happily building and selling Lasers. Silly me - I thought all they would have to do is print up some Torch stickers and put them on the new hulls - it's obviously a lot more complicated than that.

 

Or just maybe they've got not intention of building Torches and the whole Torch concept is just a marketing ploy? Surely they wouldn't be playing all of us for fools would they? We'd have to be pretty naive to fall for that, wouldn't we Gantt?

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I referred to an article I recalled in Sailworld: here it is:

 

 

 

"Current manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat under the Laser brand, Performance Sailcraft in Australia are in the process of converting over to manufacture the Kirby sailboat under the Kirby Torch brand. It’s expected that Performance Sailcraft Japan will follow the same path (but this is unconfirmed at this time). " Source = http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=108308 11 April 2013.

 

The article is by Rob Kothe, but no sources or references are given. The above doesn't add much at all.

 

It must be a long process to convert to building the Torch - it's taken them seven months and counting. Meanwhile they're still happily building and selling Lasers. Silly me - I thought all they would have to do is print up some Torch stickers and put them on the new hulls - it's obviously a lot more complicated than that.

 

Or just maybe they've got not intention of building Torches and the whole Torch concept is just a marketing ploy? Surely they wouldn't be playing all of us for fools would they? We'd have to be pretty naive to fall for that, wouldn't we Gantt?

 

I don't think the Torch is a "marketing ploy" at all. I think it's real, has sound logic behind it: being the Laser Trademark owned in some areas by Rastegar creates a bind, where clearly Farad Rastegar and Bruce Kirby are unwilling or unable to work together. The torch is a way to break that bind.

 

Redstar, exactly how are "they" playing "us" for fools? And what is the "that" which "we" would be naive to fall for??

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It must be a long process to convert to building the Torch - it's taken them seven months and counting. Meanwhile they're still happily building and selling Lasers. Silly me - I thought all they would have to do is print up some Torch stickers and put them on the new hulls - it's obviously a lot more complicated than that.

Well, you said it. Silly you. It is a hell of a lot more complex than you believe. Forgetting hulls, just for a moment, let's consider every other proprietary part on a Laser that needs to go on a Torch. You can bet your bottom dollar that every Laser supplier agreement has a clause preventing the parts being sold to anybody other than a licenced Laser builder. That means the Torch guys have to tool up for everything from scratch, even if all they are doing is making an exact replica of the tooling that is currently being used. That means new dies for the spars, commissioning sailcloth to be made to the right spec, tooling needs to be made for certain fittings. I would imagine the lst is reasonably long.

 

As for hulls, I don't know the basis of all the agreements but it wouldn't surprise me if they decide that in order not to risk legal action, they need to make new moulds as well.

 

Bottom line for me is that anybody who was expecting to see new Torches available quickly was being very naïve (or, in your words, silly :P ).

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Gantt, anyone who believes that PSA would willingly throw away the Laser trademark and the 40+ years that has gone into building that brand, and risk the success of their business by rebadging their (probably) most profitable line, is indeed naive. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain by doing so. It's not as if their customer base has shown any real sign of being interested in a change - quite the opposite in fact.

 

The Kirby Torch was never any more than a threat to the various parties that BK would go down his own path. ISAF and ILCA basically called the bluff by passing the rule change. If BK loses the court case he may then proceed with the Torch as by then he would have nothing to lose by doing so. But that's years away, if it ever happens, and is only likely to happen in collaboration with the class otherwise no-one will win. Everyone will lose and the Laser, under any name, will cease to exist.

 

Simon - it didn't seem to take the Laser replica retailers too long to find suppliers for various parts. I'm sure you know as well as I do that with PSAs contacts around the boat building world they could easily have Torches rolling out the door within a few weeks if they wanted to.

 

Even if the Laser supplier agreements you mention did exist, these agreements would be between the supplier and PSA - do you really think Harken, or North, or Hyde, would refuse to sell parts or sails to PSA to use on Torches? The supplier agreements stop North (for example) from selling their sails to anyone in AUS other than PSA, but they don't impose conditions on what PSA do with the sails once they've bought them. Even if the agreements did impose such strange conditions, who would challenge PSA and on what grounds?

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Gantt, anyone who believes that PSA would willingly throw away the Laser trademark and the 40+ years that has gone into building that brand, and risk the success of their business by rebadging their (probably) most profitable line, is indeed naive. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain by doing so. It's not as if their customer base has shown any real sign of being interested in a change - quite the opposite in fact.

 

The Kirby Torch was never any more than a threat to the various parties that BK would go down his own path. ISAF and ILCA basically called the bluff by passing the rule change. If BK loses the court case he may then proceed with the Torch as by then he would have nothing to lose by doing so. But that's years away, if it ever happens, and is only likely to happen in collaboration with the class otherwise no-one will win. Everyone will lose and the Laser, under any name, will cease to exist.

 

Simon - it didn't seem to take the Laser replica retailers too long to find suppliers for various parts. I'm sure you know as well as I do that with PSAs contacts around the boat building world they could easily have Torches rolling out the door within a few weeks if they wanted to.

 

Even if the Laser supplier agreements you mention did exist, these agreements would be between the supplier and PSA - do you really think Harken, or North, or Hyde, would refuse to sell parts or sails to PSA to use on Torches? The supplier agreements stop North (for example) from selling their sails to anyone in AUS other than PSA, but they don't impose conditions on what PSA do with the sails once they've bought them. Even if the agreements did impose such strange conditions, who would challenge PSA and on what grounds?

 

Thanks Redstar for your perspectives. Classes have changed their name before. Heck, even car manufacturers have changed their name. (Eg Datsun became Nissan) So changing branding is hardly without precedent.

 

As for PSA "would willingly throw away the Laser trademark and the 40+ years that has gone into building that brand" doesn't really get the issues here - it misses the mark. PSA value their integrity highly, and consider the contract they have with Kirby as legal and binding - and are willing participants in that contract. They have already said that they would change the branding on the Kirby's Sailboat to ensure that they can continue manufacturing the boat - and I believe them. What are you basing the stuff you are saying about PSA on?

 

How come you think Kirby is bluffing? I don't think he is (or was) at all. One of the outcomes sees Kirby being acknowledged that it's his right to terminate the builder contract with LP - and also acknowledge that the Laser Brand is owned by LP in Europe and North America. If that occurs, then I can see the Torch name becoming a reality. There are contracts in place for LP another three years - up until the Olympics.

 

I've sailed quite a few other classes though have had the best experiences sailing the strict one design boat that Kirby designed. Whether it is called the Laser, the Torch or anything else, I don't think it would detract from the experience I have had. The Laser name, while it's good, is not what makes the boat or for that matter the class. It's my impression that for the majority of current Laser sailors the brand isn't a priority - for example, locally, one larger guy sails with a larger sail (non standard).

 

With parts, just so you know, the self bailer (a genuine part - I only buy genuine) I bought for about NZ $120 here in late 2011 and the card that came with it said that it was made in Brazil. I wondered if the cost of it reflects the hands it passed through my guess is that it was: Brasil --> USA --> Australia --> NZ.

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Come on guys. More semantics?

 

If Kirby wins the case there is little doubt the Torch will be real unless LPE will sell Kirby the Laser trademark back and that seems unlikely. The only path Kirby could go down in US and EU is Torch and if it was successful it would be logical for PSA and other regions to follow. I am not a Kirby fan but have no doubt the Torch will be very real just as fast as he can make it real if Kirby wins.

 

On the other side, as for now, its obviously just a ploy or threat used for leverage in any negotiation aimed at finding a settlement and we are the pawns. For any variety of reasons - the pasted on labels of the Torch boats being the least but the funniest - I doubt they are at all serious about making or selling them now. Clearly you can't buy a Torch right now and if he really wanted to I gotta believe Kirby could have made it happen.

 

The interesting question is if Torch is launched if Kirby does not win. If offered at a steep discount to the LPE Laser I bet it would sell and I bet at the club level ways would be found to allow its use alongside LPE Lasers just as we use generic sails these days. I was actualy stunned at the increasing numbers of sailors using generic sails at all levels of our local fleet (front , back and middle). Usage is now very wide spread. No reason same could not happen with Torch if discounted at similar levels as the generic sail is. Heck, Kirby could win in the market place even if he loses in court.

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Come on guys. More semantics?

 

If Kirby wins the case there is little doubt the Torch will be real unless LPE will sell Kirby the Laser trademark back and that seems unlikely. The only path Kirby could go down in US and EU is Torch and if it was successful it would be logical for PSA and other regions to follow. I am not a Kirby fan but have no doubt the Torch will be very real just as fast as he can make it real if Kirby wins.

 

On the other side, as for now, its obviously just a ploy or threat used for leverage in any negotiation aimed at finding a settlement and we are the pawns. For any variety of reasons - the pasted on labels of the Torch boats being the least but the funniest - I doubt they are at all serious about making or selling them now. Clearly you can't buy a Torch right now and if he really wanted to I gotta believe Kirby could have made it happen.

 

The interesting question is if Torch is launched if Kirby does not win. If offered at a steep discount to the LPE Laser I bet it would sell and I bet at the club level ways would be found to allow its use alongside LPE Lasers just as we use generic sails these days. I was actualy stunned at the increasing numbers of sailors using generic sails at all levels of our local fleet (front , back and middle). Usage is now very wide spread. No reason same could not happen with Torch if discounted at similar levels as the generic sail is. Heck, Kirby could win in the market place even if he loses in court.

 

Mostly agree with you Wess but one thing stands out.

 

I don't think that Kirby (or the Laser/Torch fleet) is about to support the generic products - he's very strongly in favour of a single manufacturer - the true one design concept. That being said - there is the possibility of making some products cheaper and having better distribution - but the key will be to make it viable for the builders - so I can't see that there will be any hugely discounted Lasers. If they go down that track, then it's possible that we'll see the builders go bust! I hope that the prices are much the same, and that efforts are made to improve distribution plus improvements marketing - with more schemes that help grow the sport of sailing the Kirby Sailboat...

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Wess, agreed re the likelihood of seeing a Torch before the court case is resolved. But after that, I think you have it backwards. If Kirby wins in court he will have no need to launch the Torch as the court would have vindicated his royalty claim. By launching the Torch in competition with the Laser he would effectively be competing against himself.

 

If he loses in court he has nothing to lose by launching the Torch, but there would also be nothing stopping any boatbuilder in the world from creating their own branded version of the Laser and entering the marketplace. What will matter then is the cooperation of class association. We would either have a different association for each brand (which would end in disaster for all) or one class association that approves which builders can build boats to race in their class (which is basically the Opti model). The latter would be in everyone's interest, but would everyone be able to agree?

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Simon - it didn't seem to take the Laser replica retailers too long to find suppliers for various parts. I'm sure you know as well as I do that with PSAs contacts around the boat building world they could easily have Torches rolling out the door within a few weeks if they wanted to.

I think there is a lot of difference between replica parts and genuine Laser parts. Take the spars, for example. In the case of replica spars, so long as they are the right diameter and bend in a similar manner, then they are fine to sell as replica. When buying a replica part, who cares if the anodising isn't the same or if the extrusion is made from a non conforming die, so long as the part does the job. However, if the Torch is to succeed, then they need to be able to show the parts are EXACTLY the same as those used on all Lasers. This means using dies that are identical to the ones being used at the moment, using the same grade of aluminium and anodised to the same spec. Anything less and the whole "one design" concept is bust. The same applies to sails. Contrary to what replica sail makers say, their sail is not exactly the same as a Laser sail, for a number of reasons. now, in reality, those differences might not make any difference, but in the world of ma strict one design, you cannot have any differences or else the whole system is bankrupt.

 

Even if the Laser supplier agreements you mention did exist, these agreements would be between the supplier and PSA - do you really think Harken, or North, or Hyde, would refuse to sell parts or sails to PSA to use on Torches? The supplier agreements stop North (for example) from selling their sails to anyone in AUS other than PSA, but they don't impose conditions on what PSA do with the sails once they've bought them. Even if the agreements did impose such strange conditions, who would challenge PSA and on what grounds?

First, I do not believe that the supplier agreements would be just between PSA and a supplier. An approved supplier of Laser parts would have a global agreement to supply all Laser approved manufacturers and that is where there is a problem. I would be seriously surprised if there wasn't a clause in a supplier contract that prevented a supplier selling to anybody but an approved Laser builder because without such a clause, they could sell to anybody (or even direct) and cut out the whole Laser network. For that reason, I am as certain as I can be that both North and Hyde are prevented from selling sails to PSA for use on Torches, as are the manufacturers of any Laser specific part. Anything else makes zero sense as it would allow a supplier to cut out the whole Laser network. therefore, I don't see it as a "strange" clause but simply as one that only a fool would leave out, and these guys aren't fools.

 

The only way I can see it working is for new supplier agreements being entered into, specific for the Torch, and for the supplier to be given and/or all new tooling, templates, assembly instructions etc. Consider, for a moment, the problem with the sailcloth. Although I was always very sceptical about the claim, I do now believe that the exact sailcloth used for a Laser sail is only supplied for that specific purpose (who else would want such shitty cloth ;) ) and that the cloth cannot be supplied to anybody else or used for any other purpose. I don't know how BK and his guys are tackling that, but my take is that they need to commission a sailcloth manufacturer to make sailcloth to their spec and that it cannot be the existing manufacturer. My guess is that lead times for that would be many months, because I doubt anybody is so quiet they can just fit it in to their production at a moments notice.

 

Even small bits like the bailer, which is proprietary, needs to be made from scratch with new dies/moulds. Anything less, and I believe that authorised Laser manufacturers would have a very good case against all parties involved. As North and Hyde don't have any skin in the game, do you think they are going to risk supplying rebranded Laser sails to the Torch guys? They would be mad to. The only way they can cover themselves would be to be able to show that the material came from a different source and that the "patterns" and construction methodology had come from the Torch people, even if it were identical to what they had for the Laser. It's pedantic, but it's the difference between doing it legally and not.

 

And as Gouv says, setting it all up doesn't happen overnight. There are meant to be new builders, including in Europe, and if they get going before those builders are ready and supply from PSA, it will strengthen LP's claim that PSA are just trying to muscle in on their territory. My money says they won't "launch" the sale of new Torches until all manufacturers are up to speed and can supply in their territory, plus all the parts are available as Torch parts.

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Come on guys. More semantics?

 

If Kirby wins the case there is little doubt the Torch will be real unless LPE will sell Kirby the Laser trademark back and that seems unlikely. The only path Kirby could go down in US and EU is Torch and if it was successful it would be logical for PSA and other regions to follow. I am not a Kirby fan but have no doubt the Torch will be very real just as fast as he can make it real if Kirby wins.

 

On the other side, as for now, its obviously just a ploy or threat used for leverage in any negotiation aimed at finding a settlement and we are the pawns. For any variety of reasons - the pasted on labels of the Torch boats being the least but the funniest - I doubt they are at all serious about making or selling them now. Clearly you can't buy a Torch right now and if he really wanted to I gotta believe Kirby could have made it happen.

 

The interesting question is if Torch is launched if Kirby does not win. If offered at a steep discount to the LPE Laser I bet it would sell and I bet at the club level ways would be found to allow its use alongside LPE Lasers just as we use generic sails these days. I was actualy stunned at the increasing numbers of sailors using generic sails at all levels of our local fleet (front , back and middle). Usage is now very wide spread. No reason same could not happen with Torch if discounted at similar levels as the generic sail is. Heck, Kirby could win in the market place even if he loses in court.

Mostly agree with you Wess but one thing stands out.

 

I don't think that Kirby (or the Laser/Torch fleet) is about to support the generic products - he's very strongly in favour of a single manufacturer - the true one design concept. That being said - there is the possibility of making some products cheaper and having better distribution - but the key will be to make it viable for the builders - so I can't see that there will be any hugely discounted Lasers. If they go down that track, then it's possible that we'll see the builders go bust! I hope that the prices are much the same, and that efforts are made to improve distribution plus improvements marketing - with more schemes that help grow the sport of sailing the Kirby Sailboat...

All Kirby can do is make and sell the boat. How people use it is up to people. SMOD may be what you love and even what some in class love but at club level people seem to be voting with their wallets/feet if usage of generic sails are any indication.

Wess, agreed re the likelihood of seeing a Torch before the court case is resolved. But after that, I think you have it backwards. If Kirby wins in court he will have no need to launch the Torch as the court would have vindicated his royalty claim. By launching the Torch in competition with the Laser he would effectively be competing against himself.

 

If he loses in court he has nothing to lose by launching the Torch, but there would also be nothing stopping any boatbuilder in the world from creating their own branded version of the Laser and entering the marketplace. What will matter then is the cooperation of class association. We would either have a different association for each brand (which would end in disaster for all) or one class association that approves which builders can build boats to race in their class (which is basically the Opti model). The latter would be in everyone's interest, but would everyone be able to agree?

Like anyone all I have is an opinion but I do think he likely needs to launch Torch if he wins. Because if he wins he will get damages but I bet LPE keeps making a boat that looks like and is called a Laser (recall they own the trademark), they just don't put an ILCA/ISAF sticker on it so they don't have to pay royalty. Don't think anyone can stop that and that leaves Kirby with the (only) path forward of launching the Torch. If LPE was willing to pay royalty I am guessing we would have a settlement by now. Both sides seem willing to go to the mat which means the fight continues post-litigation as well is my guess.

 

Would love to be wrong but I would not be shocked to see the Torch either way. As scorched earth if he loses and as the only option for him if he wins. And the class still stuck in middle either way.

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Simon - it didn't seem to take the Laser replica retailers too long to find suppliers for various parts. I'm sure you know as well as I do that with PSAs contacts around the boat building world they could easily have Torches rolling out the door within a few weeks if they wanted to.

I think there is a lot of difference between replica parts and genuine Laser parts. Take the spars, for example. In the case of replica spars, so long as they are the right diameter and bend in a similar manner, then they are fine to sell as replica. When buying a replica part, who cares if the anodising isn't the same or if the extrusion is made from a non conforming die, so long as the part does the job. However, if the Torch is to succeed, then they need to be able to show the parts are EXACTLY the same as those used on all Lasers. This means using dies that are identical to the ones being used at the moment, using the same grade of aluminium and anodised to the same spec. Anything less and the whole "one design" concept is bust. The same applies to sails. Contrary to what replica sail makers say, their sail is not exactly the same as a Laser sail, for a number of reasons. now, in reality, those differences might not make any difference, but in the world of ma strict one design, you cannot have any differences or else the whole system is bankrupt.

 

>Even if the Laser supplier agreements you mention did exist, these agreements would be between the supplier and PSA - do you really think Harken, or North, or Hyde, would refuse to sell parts or sails to PSA to use on Torches? The supplier agreements stop North (for example) from selling their sails to anyone in AUS other than PSA, but they don't impose conditions on what PSA do with the sails once they've bought them. Even if the agreements did impose such strange conditions, who would challenge PSA and on what grounds?

First, I do not believe that the supplier agreements would be just between PSA and a supplier. An approved supplier of Laser parts would have a global agreement to supply all Laser approved manufacturers and that is where there is a problem. I would be seriously surprised if there wasn't a clause in a supplier contract that prevented a supplier selling to anybody but an approved Laser builder because without such a clause, they could sell to anybody (or even direct) and cut out the whole Laser network. For that reason, I am as certain as I can be that both North and Hyde are prevented from selling sails to PSA for use on Torches, as are the manufacturers of any Laser specific part. Anything else makes zero sense as it would allow a supplier to cut out the whole Laser network. therefore, I don't see it as a "strange" clause but simply as one that only a fool would leave out, and these guys aren't fools.

 

The only way I can see it working is for new supplier agreements being entered into, specific for the Torch, and for the supplier to be given and/or all new tooling, templates, assembly instructions etc. Consider, for a moment, the problem with the sailcloth. Although I was always very sceptical about the claim, I do now believe that the exact sailcloth used for a Laser sail is only supplied for that specific purpose (who else would want such shitty cloth ;) ) and that the cloth cannot be supplied to anybody else or used for any other purpose. I don't know how BK and his guys are tackling that, but my take is that they need to commission a sailcloth manufacturer to make sailcloth to their spec and that it cannot be the existing manufacturer. My guess is that lead times for that would be many months, because I doubt anybody is so quiet they can just fit it in to their production at a moments notice.

 

Even small bits like the bailer, which is proprietary, needs to be made from scratch with new dies/moulds. Anything less, and I believe that authorised Laser manufacturers would have a very good case against all parties involved. As North and Hyde don't have any skin in the game, do you think they are going to risk supplying rebranded Laser sails to the Torch guys? They would be mad to. The only way they can cover themselves would be to be able to show that the material came from a different source and that the "patterns" and construction methodology had come from the Torch people, even if it were identical to what they had for the Laser. It's pedantic, but it's the difference between doing it legally and not.

 

And as Gouv says, setting it all up doesn't happen overnight. There are meant to be new builders, including in Europe, and if they get going before those builders are ready and supply from PSA, it will strengthen LP's claim that PSA are just trying to muscle in on their territory. My money says they won't "launch" the sale of new Torches until all manufacturers are up to speed and can supply in their territory, plus all the parts are available as Torch parts.

 

 

SimonN, do you know for a fact that the contract to build the parts are supplying the "Laser", and not the "Kirby Sailboat"? I think that might make a difference, otherwise we're just speculating.

Does anyone know if the the contract to supply parts is between the boatbuilder (which one?) and the part manufacturer, and not Kirby and the part manufacturer? What role (if any) does the ILCA play with Laser parts?

These parts have had changes over the years. Metal gudgeons became plastic. The weight of the sailcloth was changed. The batten ends have changed. Wooden grabrails became plastic, while the selfbailer, rudder assembly have stayed the same so far as I can tell. The plastic spar plugs are white in Aus/NZL, and black in North America, so it would seem that they have a different source. I think that the spars have been locally sourced - at least if they aren't now, they used to be - because there were differences there, the UK ones were thought to be slightly softer. There are generic parts as well, saddles for the hiking strap and so forth. There are locally sourced foils, and for a while, there were a lot of UK centreboards being imported to NZ because they were considered better than the local wooden ones. (I had one in the 1980s.) The only custom part is the tiller/tiller extension.

This list of parts is not very long, the parts themselves are not very difficult to make and minor differences with the exception of the sail, mast and foils have little or no impact on the performance of the boat. The cost of tooling has dramatically fallen since 1980, good quality tools for plastics are mostly sourced from China and India nowadays for a fraction of the cost, and low runs (less than 10,000 units) are more viable than ever. It would be nice to see some changes for the better - a better quality sail that costs less would be good (and yes it is possible), maybe a plastic mast (there is prototypes already built and tested) - but I'm not going to hold my breath for any of those changes.

All of the differences between the parts mentioned above that have already changed were minor, and are the sign of a class that has made minor improvements (very minor) over the years, without any dramatic repercussions.

 

I don't think it's too hard to get a Torch on the water, I think the bigger driving force behind there not being a Torch is that Bruce Kirby genuinely cares for the welfare of the class.

I'm not so sure he wants the Laser and the Torch to compete against each other on the market, rather, he wants to prove that the contracts were legitimate, and that he is in the right.

This is why I predict that the Torch won't be sailing before the legal action has run it's course (and Kirby has won).

I know Kirby has done a lot of other stuff including sailing a Finn at the Olympics, has designed other boats - but from my perspective - his life's work, his most significant contribution was not just designing the Kirby Sailboat / Laser / Torch - but designing and implementing what now seems to be an imperfect system - but it worked spectacularly well (and still does), benefitting a huge number of people.

The biggest question I have left is what the intentions of the ILCA and the ISAF are if Kirby wins?

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I am as certain as I can be that the contract with manufacturers has a clause about only selling to official "Laser" builders. I base this on past conversations with both sail maker and sail cloth supplier when I was doing research before writing rules for a one design class (that gained International status) but admit it was a long time ago. Am also fairly certain that the agreements are between suppliers and builders with BK/ILCA/ISAF having no role in the agreements. I have no idea whether there are individual agreements or joint agreements, but am not sure that is relevant. The bottom line is that unless the Torch builders start from scratch, I believe that there is a real risk that we will see more law suits flying. It would be really stupid to risk that in order to save a few months or even as much as a year as the "game" is being played over a far longer timescale.

 

As for changes, that would be the most stupid thing that they could do with the Torch. If the Torch crowd are ever going to win over the sailors, irrespective of a win in court, they need to be able to convince everybody that there is zero difference between a Torch and the Lasers already built. This has to be done correctly down to the smallest possible detail. In a class like the Laser, perception is everything. As soon as anybody begins to think that there is a part that isn't manufactured exactly the same, we begin to get problems.

 

It really shouldn't be hard for the Torch to be built correctly, so that nobody can claim they are more equal than existing Kirby Sailboats. The only issue is the time it takes to set it all up, plus the money involved.

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The only issue is the time it takes to set it all up, plus the money involved.

 

Agree with you SimonN. Perhaps some of the locally sourced parts and their suppliers that PSA have could be used in the start up phase. It would certainly minimize the cost.

 

The people who are behind the Torch have possibly already thought of that.

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Simon, the rules you refer to are there to stop me from going directly to Hyde and buying a batch of sails - Hyde can only sell to PSA who can then sell them to me. But if Hyde sell sails to PSA as the contract permits, whether PSA uses those sails on something branded a 'Laser' or something branded a 'Torch' is immaterial as far as the contract is concerned.

 

And anyway the supply contract is between Hyde and PSA - who is going to complain or try enforce the contract even if it does limit things as you say? LP? They're not party to the contract, it had no effect on their business and they would have no claim.

 

If the contract between Hyde and PSA did have a 'for official Laser purposes only' clause, there would be nothing stopping them agreeing to change it - there are no other parties to the contract. It would be in both Hyde's and PSA's interests to do so.

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Simon, the rules you refer to are there to stop me from going directly to Hyde and buying a batch of sails - Hyde can only sell to PSA who can then sell them to me. But if Hyde sell sails to PSA as the contract permits, whether PSA uses those sails on something branded a 'Laser' or something branded a 'Torch' is immaterial as far as the contract is concerned.

 

And anyway the supply contract is between Hyde and PSA - who is going to complain or try enforce the contract even if it does limit things as you say? LP? They're not party to the contract, it had no effect on their business and they would have no claim.

 

If the contract between Hyde and PSA did have a 'for official Laser purposes only' clause, there would be nothing stopping them agreeing to change it - there are no other parties to the contract. It would be in both Hyde's and PSA's interests to do so.

I have said this before, but I believe that you are wrong, so we are going to have to agree to disagree. My view is based on speaking to suppliers who had agreements with Laser builders. Sure, it was 15 years ago and things may have changed. What is your view based on?

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You can buy (or could last year, when I last looked) a replica sail from Hyde even though they are also the official Laser supplier.

 

But anyway, I have changed my mind. I hope Rasteger wins his case and that his greed kills the golden goose. RS even have a replacement in the pipeline.

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Not a clone, but the same type of thing, beach boat come racer. But hull weight of about 30kg apparently. Ugly though.

 

 

 

But surely, like the optimist and the topper it's not the fact that they're actualy any good or not, it's that anywhere in the world theres 20+ of the things out on the nearest puddle racing a Sunday. There's probably already plenty of ~14ft ~7sqm planing singlehanders that can be rigged in 10 minutes and car topped. But they're not a Laser / Kirby Weekender / Torch , so they're not popular.

 

Which is why this bit's important, the Torch can't be different in any way, otherwise there'll still be Lasers and something slightly better called a Torch which would die on it's ass as there's already 200,000 sailors who like them because there's 199,999 others to race against! Although maybe once the whole things cleared up we could get a nicer sail, just not right away!

As for changes, that would be the most stupid thing that they could do with the Torch. If the Torch crowd are ever going to win over the sailors, irrespective of a win in court, they need to be able to convince everybody that there is zero difference between a Torch and the Lasers already built. This has to be done correctly down to the smallest possible detail. In a class like the Laser, perception is everything. As soon as anybody begins to think that there is a part that isn't manufactured exactly the same, we begin to get problems.

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  • 1 month later...

Don't know the status of Kirby v Rastegar but this was certainly enlightening about what goes on behind the doors of Maclaren:

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Maclaren-Reviews-E331141

 

Sounds like all things things Rastegar are quite unstable. ILCA and ISAF might have put their money on the wrong horse. Seems like even if Rastegar wins, anyone relying on him loses. Kirby and PSA might only need to sit back, watch the show and pick up the pieces as they fall.

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  • 2 months later...