World Sailing has issued a statement . . . to make clear its position on the current issues surrounding the Equipment for the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy Events at Tokyo 2020 (sic).
World Sailing will be aware that the row between International Laser Class Association (ILCA) and Laser Performance (LP) following the termination of LP’s Laser dinghy build contract is only just beginning and could to heading to the courts.
As Laser Performance held the rights to the Laser Trademark, their termination meant that ILCA seemed to have ‘cut off its nose to spite its face’ and thus had to announce the rebranding of the Laser as the ‘ILCA Dinghy’.
Also a statement by Eric Faust, Executive Secretary of ILCA, at that time appeared to indicate World Sailing knowledge and agreement of the ILCA actions.
Eric Faust said that, “After recent discussions with World Sailing leadership, we’re assured that we have their full support with this changeover, especially since we now have the opportunity to comply fully with World Sailing’s fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing requirements for Olympic equipment.”
Apparently World Sailing is concerned that these recent public statements overstate conversations with World Sailing officials.
World Sailing’s statement issued Saturday (27 Apr) states:
‘World Sailing is aware of the current dispute between the international class association (ILCA) and its main manufacturer (Laser Performance).
Both parties have kept World Sailing informed of their position and the information will be considered as part of the ongoing Equipment Selection Process for the Paris 2024 Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy.
World Sailing is committed to following its published procedures for this process and it will be for the World Sailing Council to make a decision on the Equipment for the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy Events having received the recommendation and report of the Equipment Committee.
However, World Sailing is concerned that recent public statements overstate conversations with World Sailing officials.
World Sailing has not endorsed or pre-approved the proposed name change of the Laser to the ILCA Dinghy. World Sailing’s Board of Directors and Senior Management Team have continuously maintained a position that World Sailing will deal with any applications for class rule changes when they are made by ILCA to World Sailing.
To date, World Sailing has received no class rule change requests related to the name of the boat and, if formally made, World Sailing will process any applications in accordance with the relevant World Sailing Regulations.
Concerning the issue of World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy, World Sailing has not approved any individual class or manufacturers’ position concerning production and intellectual property rights.
What World Sailing has done, and continues to do, is to listen carefully and note our stakeholders’ positions in this area.’
The added complication for World Sailing is that they are in the middle of trials for the possible replacement of the Laser as the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy Events at Paris 2024.
An announcement on the recent selection trials is expected at theWorld Sailing meeting in London in May.
And a critical part of that procedure is a ‘fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory’ (FRAND) policy, which requires the equipment to have several competing builders in the same region.
That does not seem to be the position that the ILCA finds itself in.