Group Lotus has won its High Court battle with Team Lotus over the use of the Lotus name in Formula One.
Mr Justice Peter Smith delivered his verdict today, some two months after the case was heard. He decided that only Group Lotus, through its sponsorship of the Renault team, had the right to compete in F1 under the Lotus Racing banner and it was to be awarded damages for the breach of this by Team Lotus parent 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT).
Group Lotus also has the right to compete in F1 using the historic black-and-gold livery, Mr Justice Peter Smith ruled.
But, confusingly, he also stated that Team Lotus retained the right to race in Formula One under its existing name.
"Accordingly, Group Lotus is seeking leave to appeal so that the right to use the Lotus brand in Formula 1 is clarified once and for all in the interests of the sport and the fans," Group Lotus said in a statement. "Group Lotus and its shareholder Proton Holding Bhd are confident of success on appeal."
Other judgments today include the cancelling of 1MRT's trademarks for the Team Lotus name as a result of non-use and damages are to be paid to Group Lotus by 1MRT for breaching a licensing agreement for it to use the Lotus Racing name in F1.
Group Lotus also has the right to continue to use the Lotus name on road cars, it was confirmed.
As a result of the ruling that Team Lotus will be allowed to continue to race under its existing name in F1, Group Lotus will be launching an appeal.
“The on-going dispute with Team Lotus and associated companies has been a cause for concern for all at Group Lotus," said Lotus's head of legal, Sarah Price. "Despite the detailed judgment there are issues which still require clarification and we remain committed to obtaining this much-needed clarity for the many fans of the Lotus marque - we are extremely grateful for their continued support. The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly.”
Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes recently acquired Caterham Cars and Autocar understands there will be an F1 tie-up as part of the deal, although whether this will offer Fernandes an exit strategy from Team Lotus is not clear.