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ILCA drop LPE as a builder

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bustinben View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bustinben Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 6:41am
Originally posted by JimC

This has been posted on SA. I haven't been able to find it on any Laser Performance web site, and so I have no idea whether its genuine or an elaborate spoof.

LASERPERFORMANCE RESPONSE TO ILCA
STATEMENT OF 27 MARCH 2019 2 April 2019

LASERPERFORMANCE (“LP”) finds the recent events deplorable as well as potentially catastrophic for the Laser sailors and the class organization as configured today. It is important to know the background to the current dispute.

The falsehoods and misrepresentations contained in the official ILCA announcement are disturbing since they reflect on the class organization and bear on the credibility of governance of the class.

LP makes the following statements and responds to ILCA’s misleading statements:

LP has granted ILCA certain rights to use the Laser Trademark for its activities pursuant to an intellectual property license dated February 1998 (the “1998 Agreement”).

LP has been seeking a renewal of the 1998 Agreement which expires after multiple extensions on 31 August 2019.

ILCA has steadfastly refused to enter into a renewal agreement of like substance and has refused to have any meetings with LP on the matter.

LP refused to have ILCA undertake an inspection of LP’s facilities five months before expiry of 1998 Agreement and after three years of ILCA refusing to renew its license under the 1998 Agreement.

LP does not and has not refused inspection of its manufacturing facility or its products by other legitimate regulatory bodies. Indeed, LP has formally requested World Sailing to inspect LP’s facility given that they are the ultimate authority for compliance and the issuance of the boats’ plaques.

ILCA has not shared any of this with the sailors nor have they proposed how it would operate without a valid license from LP after August 2019.

ILCA is not legally able to seek new manufacturers for Laser products in LP territory without LP’s consent. LP territory covers the world excluding Australia, New Zealand (PSA) and Japan, Korea (PSJ). This is a simple matter of ownership of intellectual property and LP will enforce against any party who attempts to violate LP’s intellectual property rights.

ILCA can indeed appoint new builders in Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ) limited territory; however, neither of them can supply boats into LP territory without LP’s consent.

PSA has tried in the past to import illegally into LP territory by a variety of schemes. LP has successfully enforced its property rights against PSA and will continue to enforce its rights against PSA and any collaborating dealers or persons. The last of such legal action was in Belgium and it was adjudicated in favor of LP with the dealer involved filing for bankruptcy to avoid payment of award pursuant to the court judgment.

PSA is unable to supply LP’s output even if they could legally sell into LP territories. Indeed, the last time PSA agreed to support a class event – also a World event – was the Youth Worlds 2016 in New Zealand with 105 boats which ended up in PSA withdrawing its support three months before the event.

PSA’s withdrawal meant cancellation of the event except for WS reaching out to LP to step in both to save the event and to prevent the adverse effects a major cancellation impacting the Olympics standing of Laser.

The 2024 Olympic is in Paris, France – an LP territory and LP can be the only authorized supplier of Laser boats at such event.

ILCA decertifying the most established and the original manufacturer of Laser sailboats will not end the supply of LP Lasers to our markets. However, it will signal to the Olympic authorities that the most popular Olympic sailing event has poor governance and leadership, leading to unpredictable supply.

LP, in partnership with its outstanding dealership network, has consistently shown that it is the only supplier that can consistently provide support to events and sailors at a global level.

LP proposes the following to prevent the implosion of the Laser class organization:

A. ILCA sign the renewal agreement to the 1998 Agreement in order to continue to use the granted trademark rights.
B. ILCA move back to Europe where 75% of Laser sailors live and sail.
C. ILCA appoint a professional executive team to run the class operations paid for by increased plaque fees charged to the builders.

LASERPERFORMANCE
2 April 2019

They posted it on their facebook page.  In my experience people with really really strong positions always use words like "deplorable", "catastrophic" and "disturbing" when communicating the facts of a situation  LOL

Reading between the lines here...

LP wanted to rinse ILCA when renewing the trademark agreement which lets them use the name "laser" for the class association.  ILCA told them to swivel, so LP then refused to allow them to carry out the inspections they want.  LP now does not consider them to be a "legitimate" regulatory body and handbags are flying.

The rest of it is just fluff.  Out of one side of their mouth they say that only they are allowed to supply lasers for the Olympics in Paris, and out of the other they point out that they supplied the lasers for the Youth Worlds in New Zealand (a PSA territory).  Which is it?  (The answer is obvious, World Sailing can purchase/rent the boats from whoever they like and import them for their own use to wherever they want them).

There's nothing stopping any of the other manufacturers exporting their product to the LP territories other than the trademark protection.   If LP cast their mind back a little.... to the Bruce Kirby dispute, where they refused to renew the agreement to use the Bruce Kirby trademark which allowed them to put the measurement plaque which bore it on their boats.  How was that solved?  In their favour and to ensure continued supply of equipment, the class rules where changed to remove the requirement for the Bruce Kirby trademark from the plaque. Well, now it's your turn LP  Clap

The class association appears to be taking control at last.  It's well overdue.




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CT249 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CT249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 10:15am
The Olympic Class Plaque (Plague?) Terms and Conditions clause 3.1 appears to prevent any builder from preventing any sailor or organisation from purchasing from any other builder, anywhere in the world. So the trademark protection seems to be unavailable to the Babymaulers. If they use the trademark, they violate the OPCTCs and therefore lose their own right to make class-legal boats. That leaves them with no class to offer sailors.

Looking at the OPCTCs, which also allow WS to inspect factories at any reasonable hour and to delegate those inspections to the class association, it appears that Digit Removers Inc may be in deep doo doo. And wouldn't that be nice to see! 




Edited by CT249 - 03 Apr 19 at 10:19am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CT249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 10:16am
Originally posted by bustinben

 
There's nothing stopping any of the other manufacturers exporting their product to the LP territories other than the trademark protection.   If LP cast their mind back a little.... to the Bruce Kirby dispute, where they refused to renew the agreement to use the Bruce Kirby trademark which allowed them to put the measurement plaque which bore it on their boats.  How was that solved?  In their favour and to ensure continued supply of equipment, the class rules where changed to remove the requirement for the Bruce Kirby trademark from the plaque. Well, now it's your turn LP  Clap

The class association appears to be taking control at last.  It's well overdue.





Well spotted!
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 12:09pm
The reason this is going to go on for years and cost hundreds of thousands is the detail of the contracts. I looked up what was available in public and court documents at the time of the Kirby case, and all the contracts have termination clauses which cover what builders are and aren't allowed to do when the contracts end. At least some of those were to do with Kirby/LPE contracts though, and that's still going through the courts.

I forget the detail, but as I recall the termination clauses prohibit the former builder from building anything that uses the Laser construction manual. However for that to work the contract needs to stand up in court, and if it involves US courts we can be sure nothing will happen for years.

There's also the possibility that the termination clauses can be evaded by some shenanigans with Rastregar's maze of companies. Sell of all LPEs assets to another company cheap, dissolve LPE, and some *completely unrelated* company starts building boats using Velum's trademarks... I have no idea how this stuff works though, so who knows...

Edited by JimC - 03 Apr 19 at 12:27pm
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Peter Barton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peter Barton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 4:31pm
Originally posted by CT249

Originally posted by 423zero

5 Aeros a week !

Compared to 31 Lasers a week. Great going, but although Laser sales have dropped.....

It's also interesting to wonder how sales of new classes will hold up long term...
I'm not taking potshots at Aeros, merely wondering how long initial sales hold up in new sailing classes...... I'm not at all sure that my class will keep on selling at the same rate, although it may maintain or increase it.  The same surely applies to the Aero.

The RS Aero is set to hit 2000 boats built in time for their 5th Anniversary Parties, late June this year. There are about 1900 now. That is more like 8 RS Aero per week on average, which I think is awesome.

I wouldn't compare any new Class with the Laser build numbers. They benefit from a nearly 50 year old established market with all those repeat sales from corporate and private customers. The addition of the Olympic aspirant purchases and all those within that pathway add that many more again.

New niche boats will expand quickly to fulfil that niche and then tail off with a trickle of replacement purchases. New classes' expansion may be limited geographically to locations where they have achieved critical mass, thwarting growth after the initial bubble. 

The RS Aero provides a modern alternative that is both rewarding and affordable in a large market sector to a very wide cross section of sailors. Having rapidly achieved critical mass for good racing and World Sailing Class status enabling popular World Championships I don't anticipate any drop off in RS Aero builds anytime soon!


Edited by Peter Barton - 03 Apr 19 at 4:33pm
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Old Timer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Old Timer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 5:29pm
Well whilst Laser squabble it creates opportunities for others.

Would I buy a new laser presently? Indeed can I buy one? 
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423zero View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 6:26pm
'Kirby Torch' going to reappear ?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 7:05pm
Originally posted by Peter Barton

That is more like 8 RS Aero per week on average, which I think is awesome.

I'm sure RS are pleased, but if I read the published numbers right the Laser builders combined were doing 20 times that back in the 70s...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Old Timer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 7:32pm
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by Peter Barton

That is more like 8 RS Aero per week on average, which I think is awesome.

I'm sure RS are pleased, but if I read the published numbers right the Laser builders combined were doing 20 times that back in the 70s...

Yeah, but in the 70s they had an unopposed market position. 
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CT249 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CT249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 19 at 11:10pm
Originally posted by Old Timer

Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by Peter Barton

That is more like 8 RS Aero per week on average, which I think is awesome.

I'm sure RS are pleased, but if I read the published numbers right the Laser builders combined were doing 20 times that back in the 70s...

Yeah, but in the 70s they had an unopposed market position. 

Hell no they didn't! In fact the reason the Laser is the boat we know is that it was opposed by competitors that made RS look like minnows. This was a time when vast conglomerates were buying into the leisure market and selling huge numbers of sailboats. In the US market alone, the Laser was up against the following;

The Sunfish and Force 5, owned by AMF - a conglomerate that made nuclear reactors, inter continental ballistic missiles and owned Harley Davidson, among other bits 'n pieces.

The Copperhead and Sidewinder, owned by the huge plastics manufacturer AMG. Just ONE of their powerboat ranges for ONE customer sold over 250,000 boats.

The Jetwind, a Sunfish type sold by Sears, the largest retailer in the USA at the time with about 350,000 employees. This was when Sears was so huge that the HQ it built around the time the Laser came out is still the USA's second-tallest building.

Chrysler Man O' War. Designed by McAlpine Downey and supported by Chrysler Sailboats, part of the USA's third biggest car maker. The Chrysler sailboat range was supported by semi-trailers, 75 salesman, four sailing simulators, a huge dealer network, and massive advertising.

In Japan, the Laser faced direct competition from the massive multinational Yamaha and the Laser clone "Seahoppher". In France, the Laser faced direct competition from the X4er, a Laser type designed by Christian Maury (of 420 fame) and backed by the might of the FFV. I think the Topper may have had more corporate backing, albeit rather later and in a rather different bracket.

The initial concept for the Weekender was that it be backed by camping manufacturer Coleman, because without such corporate backing there was no way the Kirby/Bruce/Fogh trio could take on the might of AMF, AMC, Chrysler etc for the "beachboat" market. As Ian Bruce told me, the Laser only became aimed at the racing market when the Coleman backing failed to materialise and Kirby, Bruce and Fogh realised that while they could not take on the corporates without Coleman, they could sell to racers.

An interesting exercise is to go to an early '70s Y&Y and count up the advertising pages. In the boat show issue, for example, many of the traditional ODs had far more advertising than the Laser did. There are also SMODs that had more ads that have long since vanished.

Later in the Laser era, there was very strong opposition from the windsurfer market. Mistral sold over 300,000 of their Competition boards alone. There were 400,000 of the original Windsurfers. Hobie-type surfcats were also booming. RS face nothing like that sort of competition for the small sailing craft market.

The Laser succeeded despite being out-spent, not because of marketing clout.


Edited by CT249 - 03 Apr 19 at 11:14pm
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