On 27 May 2011 Mr Justice Peter Smith gave judgment in the dispute between (1) Group Lotus and (2) 1Malaysia Racing, Team Lotus Ventures, Tune Group and Tony Fernandes, as to the right to use the name Team Lotus.Peter Smith J held that Team Lotus Ventures owns the goodwill associated with the Team Lotus name and roundel, and that Group Lotus’s claim to the name should be dismissed. The judge ruled that trade marks held by TLV should be revoked, for non-use whilst it was not racing in Formula 1; but that TLV, and not Group Lotus, can have new trade marks in the name and roundel registered. The judge ruled that the defendants’ use of the name Team Lotus does not infringe Group Lotus’s trade marks in the name Lotus.
The judge also ruled that 1Malaysia was not to be restrained, by reason of a licence agreement between it and Group Lotus in 2009, from using the name Team Lotus.The judge held that 1Malaysia had been in breach of the licence agreement in failing to obtain approval for the manufacture and sale of Lotus Racing merchandise in 2010, and that Group Lotus had, in September 2010, validly terminated the licence agreement.
Guy Morpuss QC and Patricia Edwards, instructed by Macfarlanes LLP, acted for the defendants, Team Lotus.