After the revocation of the license, which was caused by the refusal to let representatives of the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) into production halls and the violation of construction requirements, the largest manufacturer of dinghies Laser Performance published on its website a statement accusing the association of spreading misinformation «and distorted information. In the statement, LP made public all the rubbish from the hut - all the thorny issues that rip the class leadership apart.
...and a man with a piece of paper...
In August 2019, the licensing agreement between LP and the ILCA, signed in February 1998, which gives the Association the right to use the Laser trademark as part of its activities, expires. The agreement has been extended repeatedly for 20 years, but now it is no longer possible. According to a statement on Laser Performance's Web site, ILCA is rejecting a new such agreement on the grounds that it is unnecessary.
«The last attempt to negotiate this issue was made in November 2018 at the ILCA World Council. The LP proposed a meeting during the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January 2019. The ILCA refused to respond despite several reminders about the importance of such a meeting»," LP said in a statement.
In the opinion of LP, the grounds for a new agreement are more than sufficient. In 2010, ILCA moved its headquarters from Europe to the United States, creating a new division in Texas. In turn, the Laser Performance Group was radically reorganized in 2016 and will officially cease to exist in its old form just from September 1, 2019.
«The 1998 agreement does not provide for the inheritance of rights to the extent that the contract would have done so on its own terms as of 31 August 2019. The ILCA refuses to acknowledge that the agreement will no longer be valid and that a new agreement»must be concluded for the heirs of the parties," the LP insists.
LP representatives have reproached the ILCA for withholding these details of the conflict from the yachtsmen and making no suggestion about how it plans to operate without a valid LP license to use the Laser trademark after August 2019.
Irreplaceable... is .
However, LP's explanation did not end there. The company recalled that under current regulations, the «ILCA may not seek a new company to manufacture Laser equipment on LP's premises without LP»'s permission. However, LP territory includes the whole world except Australia and New Zealand (Performance Sailcraft Australia; PSA) as well as Japan and Korea (Performance Sailcraft Japan; PSJ).
«The ILCA may agree on the activities of a new shipbuilder in the PSA or PSJ, but none of them may deliver the boats to the LP territory without the permission of the LP»," explained the company.
LP has also literally threatened the ILCA with litigation if its intellectual rights are violated.
«Even if the PSA could legally sell boats on the LP territory, it cannot provide the same volume of production. The last class event (including a world-class event) where the PSA agreed to support the regatta took place in 2016. It was the Youth World Cup in New Zealand, with 105 boats participating. It ended up with the PSA refusing to sponsor the regatta»three months before the event," the LP reminded.
Then, to save the championship and to avoid adverse consequences for the Olympic status of the class Laser World Sailing has asked LP to replace the PSA. At the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris, according to the established scheme, only LP should be the supplier of boats.
All are equal, but there's more equal.
In 2014, design differences not covered by the technical guidelines that ensure the uniformity of Laser boats around the world were found on boats manufactured in Australia, LP said in a statement. The PSA changed the weight of the hull and tilt and mast design, making Australian boats faster. The ILCA inspection confirmed the difference between the PSA boats and the standard, but it did not remove the Australian manufacturer's license, but improved the PSA to the new standard.
To resolve the dispute, LP proposes to return the ILCA headquarters to Europe (the association moved to the U.S. in 2010) and sign an updated agreement regarding the ILCA's rights to use the Laser brand. In addition, LP advocates the creation of a professional association that will deal with class-related transactions. LP's vision is for the commission to be paid through an increase in the fees paid by shipbuilders for certification.