Monday, March 11, 2013

Shit Hits the Fan



The shit finally hit the fan...

I have written before (see Three Laser Classes? for example) about the dispute between the designer of the Laser, Bruce Kirby, and the major Laser manufacturer in the world, LaserPerfomance.

The Laser class has been caught in the middle, trying as best it can to help the parties resolve their differences and not to get caught in the crossfire. The dispute has dragged on for a couple of years.

Now it has gone legal...

Bruce Kirby has filed a lawsuit against LaserPerformance (Europe) Limited, its owner Farzad Rastegar, a couple of other companies which, as far as I can gather, are part of Rastegar's empire and...

the International Laser Class and 

the International Sailing Federation.



What should I do?
  1. Hunker down and hope it all gets solved satisfactorily sooner or later?

  2. Buy a new Laser before they run out?

  3. Not buy a new Laser because it might not really be a legal Laser?

  4. Buy as many good quality second-hand Lasers as I can in order to make a killing when the supply of legal Lasers runs out?

  5. Switch to sailing Sunfish?

  6. Emigrate to Australia?

Any IP lawyers out there who can explain this to me in words of less than four syllables?


16 comments:

torrid said...

I wonder if the Construction Manual will become public as a result of this.

The Imperative Voice said...

The short version -- based on open source plus the lawsuit -- is it sounds like the NA and European laser builders think they can build their own Lasers without paying Kirby because some sort of design patent or other rights expired. Kirby alleges they quit paying in 2011 and were deemed in breach of the builder agreements in 2012. He alleges once they were deemed in breach they had no builder rights and shouldn't have been making boats, and have essentially been making counterfeit boats since then. He's saying, in layman's terms, ISAF and ILCA enabled them by putting plaques on the post-breach boats. It sounds like he thinks he controls the boat rights by contract and copyright (by way of the plaques and certain other identifiers).

Kirby elsewhere has talked about selling builder rights to a Kiwi company Global Sailing then reverting them back, which arrangement may be why the Aussie/NZ boats aren't involved in the suit.

O Docker said...


Do you have any Allman Brothers?

Baydog said...

Eat a Peach

Mitch Zeissler said...

Moth sailing is beginning to look rather appealing now.

my2fish said...

keep calm and sail on.

John in PDX said...

Charlie Mike

Tillerman said...

I think my2fish and John in PDX are right. My suggestions 2 to 6 were somewhat tongue in cheek. Even if Bruce Kirby is claiming that Lasers made recently by LP in Portsmouth RI are "counterfeit" It seems inconceivable to me that we will end up with a situation where boats sold with an ISAF plaque saying they are genuine Lasers will not be allowed to race as Lasers.

my2fish said...

Inconceivable? I do not think it means what you think it means.

Dallas Dude said...

Perhaps its a good time for a nap?

Frankie Perussault said...

Emigrate to Ireland and go sailing on a trawler

meech said...

Actually this brings up a good point - How come there can't be a one design specification that anyone can build, similar to NASCAR?

George A said...

To the best of my knowledge Bruce Kirby never designed a Moth Boat. Bruce Farr did, but not Bruce K. So I think Mothists are safe for the moment.

Tillerman said...

Many classes are like that meech, a design specification that any boat builder can make, or in some cases that can even be built at home by the sailor. Some are quite strict specifications so that the boats are as similar as possible; some are more flexible allowing for the builders of the boats to be more creative in thinking up ways to build faster boats.

The Laser, and some other boats, went to an even more strict one design option where only a very limited number of builders were allowed to build the boats and the class and the designer worked very hard to ensure that all the boats, no matter who built them, were as identical as humanly possible.

George A said...

Some strict one-design classes, such as the International Europe Dinghy Class and the Optimist Dinghy, have class sanctioned builders; hulls, spars and other regulated equipment can only be purchased through those vendors. The IEDU does have a provision for home construction but the measurement rules are so tight that almost no one attempts to do so.

Anonymous said...

doubt it

Post a Comment