The Marussia Manor lawsuit, and who’s behind it…

Daily news and comment

Marussia is suing Marussia… err… Manor.

This week Autosport reports that Marussia (Motors) and Manor are in a trademark dispute over the 2015 Formula 1 team’s name. It seems that Marussia licensed the trademark to Manor to use as its Formula 1 team name but only until the end of 2014. Which means that Manor used the Marussia name during 2015 without authorisation. This of course was necessary because of the dwarf’s seemingly nonsensical naming rules for F1 teams, whereas by changing name without consent from the commercial rights holder a team would stand to lose the right to receive prize money based on previous seasons.

The only pending question is who is indeed suing Manor? Marussia Motors, the Russian sports car manufacturer, was disbanded in 2014 and no longer exists… So could it be Mr Putin scraping the bottom of the barrel for additional finances, given the continuing Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its Ukrainian indiscretions? I jest of course, but indeed it seems a mystery.

Let the jury discuss…..

autosport.com

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7 responses to “The Marussia Manor lawsuit, and who’s behind it…

  1. Dublin-registered Marussia communications Ireland is behind it.
    Dublin-registered Marussia communication Ireland, which owns the Marussia trademark claims the name was used without permission and could seek damages.
    London high court judge has said that Mr Fitzpatrick and Manor grand prix racing have “no real prospect of prospect of proving that its use of the claimant’s trademark was with claimants consent” he ordered that the defendant must provide security of £1.75m to Marussia if they wish to pursue specific trademark defences central to the case.

  2. I saw a picture of a Manor WEC car. How is it that they have the money to run a WEC team and an F1 team?

    • No idea how they can do that actually, but there must be some kind of trademark agreement. What I can tell you is that the company behind Mr Fitzpatrick (the current owner of Manor Grand Prix Racing Ltd) has applied for a trademark for “Manor Racing” (see https://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/4/EU015271216 ) on the 8th of April 2016, which is at least 2 months after Manor Endurance Racing Ltd announced their entry for the FIA WEC 2016.

  3. What damage did they do to the Marussia name anyway? Surely having an F1 team using your branding for a year is just great free marketing….

  4. Just read the judgment about this case ( http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2016/809.html ). Funny, that the MRT owner (and his council) never even thought about the need to extend the trademark license for 2015 which had run out with the end of 2014.
    I guess this is really going to bite Mr Fitzpatrick in the behind. In a phone call from Marussia Communications Ltd, they asked for 25% of all sponsorship money the team was due from their participation in the Formula 1 championship … wonder how much they’re going to ask for now, that their case is looking quite strong.

    • Essentially this looks like it’ll get settled out of court, probably for a figure in the range of thr 1.75 million securities figure the Judge proposes.

      The Judge, having exploded the defendant’s arguments, also makes the very valid point that the Marussia holding company were basically wildly unreasonable in their opening shot, made little/no effort to reasonably negotiate (standard tactic if you’re going to sue and feel you have a strong case) and that Fitzpatrick had already been willing to pay more to them as secured creditors than utlimately he did.

      Their forcing of the first auction round shot them in the foot as they didn’t recoup anywhere near as much as the speculative 3 million they (Marussia) hoped for.

      I personally disagree with the judge’s assessment that followers of the sport wouldn’t have been aware of the ‘nuances’ of the team’s changing ownership, it was the talk of the paddock and media coverage all year.

      I imagine they’ll probably end up paying Marussia around a million in damages and costs as there’s still the issue of the 500,000 Marussia didn’t bother to pay in 2014.

      This whole thing is a classic example of why the sport is so rotten and is shedding fans every month. Bernie E also has a lot to answer for in this debacle. He’s by and large the cause of all this nonsense by refusing the namechange on the grounds of ‘protecting the Formula 1 brand’.

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