You can now join Bruce Kirby's new Torch class association:
He isn't asking for money. Membership just involves providing your name, email address, sail number, rig type and district and takes less than 30 seconds to sign up. This will allow Bruce to reach out to the Torch/Laser sailors and keep them up to date on what is happening.
So far, of the players in this ILCA/LP/Kirby triangle, every statement Bruce has made has proven to be true and everything he said he would do, he eventually did. The same cannot be said for the other two players. Although I support and believe in several officers of the ILCA, I do not see their wisdom or integrity in the actions of the ILCA. I fear that the efforts of those I trust have somehow been suppressed by something odd going on within the ILCA.
If you support Bruce in his efforts to support the needs of the sailors, communicate with them and ultimately, keep his design sailing, please send an email of support to email@example.com. He cares what you think!
At ImproperCourse, we support Bruce Kirby and wish him success. We also encourage the ILCA to grow a pair and get off the fence. The ISAF has already concluded that LP is no longer licensed to build the boat. The ISAF is the ILCA's governing authority! There is no need to wait for the outcome in court.
Let's hope that the officers at ILCA are working hard to resolve this by negotiation behind the scenes.ReplyDelete
The negotiations have obviously failed since a lawsuit was filed. We're now looking at settlement discussions. Yes, I do hope that they are working hard to resolve this but, unfortunately, they are spending member's money to defend a lawsuit because their negotiations failed. Bruce has left the door open for them and yet they refuse to walk through it which is just costing the members more money, more delays and more instability. The ISAF has taken a proactive step to get themselves into a settlement position so that they can be dismissed from the lawsuit. The ILCA should follow suit.Delete
ILCA got it wrong once with the infamous Fundamental Rule change, thereby tacitly supporting LaserPerfomance. Let's hope they face reality this time.ReplyDelete
Wake up, ILCA!
Not only did the ILCA get it wrong, they set themselves up for a defamation suit. They encouraged the class to boot Kirby and they did it by making misleading statements (at best) and flat out lies (at worst). Their "fundamental rule change" proposal and the various sailing forums are all the evidence Kirby needs to support a claim that his reputation has been harmed by their actions, not to mention his income. So far, he has been quite patient and tolerant of the ILCA's misinformation campaign but I would predict there is a point at which he say enough.Delete
The way things have turned out it makes me feel that I was right to vote against the Fundamental Rule change, even though I was very much in the minority at the time.ReplyDelete
You did better than me. I didn't even vote and was the typical uninformed, apathetic sailor who just assumed others knew better than me. My how times have changed.Delete
I still don't see what option ILCA had other than suggesting the fundamental rule change. They were trying to maintain supply of boats in Europe and NA.ReplyDelete
At the time the only way to avoid this would have been to change the class name, logo etc, as Kirby is suggesting now. ILCA said then that their opinion was that maintaining the Laser name was important. I agree with them - giving up a class name that is globally recognised, even by non-sailors, is a desperate move which should be the absolute last resort.
As ILCA said at the time, changing the fundamental rule would also not invalidate the builder's agreement between Kirby and PSE. They would still owe him royalties so the change isn't necessarily anti-Kirby. It was an attempt to be pro-ILCA and look after sailors in those regions. They couldn't sit on their hands and do nothing - imagine the criticism they would have copped then. What else could they have done? Not given PSE and LP plaques (when they still had valid agreements with Kirby at the time)? Where would that have left the boat supply?
There has been a fair bit of change at the World Council level since all of that happened - not just Tracy replacing Heini, but a few other changes as well. Also Eric taking over as GM, ok course Jeff is a constant. Although I'd like to see a lot more info coming out of the ILCA office I do have faith that Tracy and co are doing their best to navigate a very difficult situation to deliver the best outcome for the class sailors.
I don't think ILCA should be pushed too quickly into changing the class name and I don't believe that's what Kirby really wants to do. Creating a website is all Kirby has done - building a global association with people volunteering to run the class in every district is a huge undertaking that would take years and possible never really work - it could very easily kill the class. Renaming ILCA to ITCA and using the existing structure sounds so simple but it's still a huge amount of messing around and cost, to say nothing of the loss of brand recognition and so on. Even just on a basic level, changing the name of my local district association would cost the local members money that should be used to provide regattas, coaching, etc.
I see your points and would only say that decisions of the ILCA made some sense but the execution was flawed in many, many ways. While I have some faith in some of the individuals at the ILCA, I have yet to see their presence in the actions of the ILCA. Tracy went in a communicator and has been deadly silent ever since. I appreciate the need for confidentiality but it is still possible to communicate and reassure the sailors in the class without breaching confidentiality.Delete
A couple of questions for you to ponder...ReplyDelete
Why has Kirby lodged a trademark application in the US for the Laser name and logo?
Why hasn't he (or PSA) lodged a Torch trademark application in Australia and other territories where he (or builders he is friendly with) own the Laser trademark?
My guess is that he is trying to engineer an outcome where the Laser stays the Laser and his team owns the trademarks. It makes the most business sense for him (he makes a lot of money out of the Laser name at present even if he doesn't own it) and works best for ILCA (the sailors) as well. I suspect he has no real intention of following through with the Torch class but the more sailor support he gets the better negotiating position he has.
In the meantime, behind closed doors the ILCA are probably much more aware than we are of all the nuances of the situation, and are doing their best to look after the long term interests of all the sailors. Hopefully these interests align with Kirby's, because from a legal perspective he looks to have a pretty strong hand.
I'm about 95% certain I know exactly why Kirby filed for the Laser trademark in the US. I pulled my blog post on this subject late last year and not re-posting it has seemed like the better option so far.Delete
I haven't any idea why the mark hasn't been applied for in other territories except maybe there isn't a rush. The mark has to be used in connection with the product. Meaning if I wanted to snatch up the Kirby Torch trademark in the class of goods that covers sailboats, I have to be in the business of producing a sailboat with that name, otherwise, the trademark will not be granted. But, I'm only partially knowledgeable about trademark law so I might be talking out my backside.
I do, however, believe Kirby fully intends to move forward with the Torch. I believe I read that the new builder agreements were signed recently. Surely, PSA will be making some sort of announcement soon about making the switch.
Kirby does indeed appear to have a strong legal hand. I don't see the harm in the ILCA tentatively agreeing to support the new ITCA. Hedging one's bets and remaining flexible makes alot more sense that refusing to budge. Putting out an announcement that they are disappointed in Bruce Kirby's action does not seem like a wise thing to do.
Thanks for your reply, Pam. I do remember your post from last year - I can remember my head spinning, but by the time I came back to re-read and take it all in the post was gone!Delete
Not so sure anymore about the strength of Kirby's hand. I think there is a lot more to come out and have decided to (try to!) stop the futile speculation until the full story is known.
I do have sympathy for his cause and feel that we as sailors have a moral obligation to him regardless of the outcome of the legal process. For me the best outcome is one that gives the sailors (i.e. the association) the control of the class and the boat while continuing to acknowledge and reward (both financially and otherwise) his immense contribution to the class.
However, I definitely do not like the recent attempts to drive a wedge between the class members and the executive. These are good guys (the ones I know personally at least) who I am sure are doing their absolute best, undoubtedly at great cost to themselves, to deliver the best outcome for all Laser sailors around the world. The sailors owe them (and everyone else involved in running the class at all levels) at least as big a debt as they do Kirby. So does he.
Hmmm. And that was posted on the Kirby Torch website only a few hours after redstar posted his questions bout Kirby trademark applications. Does someone at Bruce Kirby Inc. Galactic Headquarters read this blog?Delete
Don't know but ain't it cool ... ask and ye shall receive ... that's the responsiveness I like to see.Delete
I wonder if the Kirby Torch will soon announce when Torches will be available in North America and how much they will cost?Delete
And just posted this morning ... Kirby is now asking Laser Class District Secretaries to work with him on setting up the Torch Class in their districts because he says ILCA won't speak with him. Expect a response from ILCA in the next day or so.ReplyDelete
Ever considered a career as a boxing announcer?Delete
And from the other corner...ReplyDelete
ISAF have now approved the Fundamental Rule change so that ISAF and ILCA can now approve builders of the Laser who have the right to use the Laser trademark even if Bruce Kirby does not approve them.
I don't think ISAF is on the fence any more:ReplyDelete
ISAF Statement On International Laser Class
On 22 March the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) published a statement concerning the Laser Class dispute and proceedings filed by attorneys acting for Bruce Kirby.
Since then, Bruce Kirby Inc. published information regarding the launch of the "Kirby Torch" boat. The legal situation is on-going but ISAF can confirm that:
ISAF has been named a co-defendant in the legal proceedings filed in the US District Court by attorneys acting for Bruce Kirby.
ISAF strongly denies the allegations made against it in the proceedings.
The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) is recognized by ISAF as responsible for the organization and administration of Laser dinghy activities worldwide.
The Laser dinghy has been selected by ISAF as the equipment for the Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy events at the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition (with corresponding contractual arrangements in place).
ISAF regards the recent announcement of the Kirby Torch dinghy as a fundamental breach of contractual arrangements between the parties concerned with the Laser class. ISAF has therefore exercised its right to end those arrangements and will negotiate new arrangements directly with the ILCA.
On 23 April 2013 ISAF approved a proposed amendment to the Laser Class Rules which was approved by ILCA members in 2012. The amended rule permits ISAF and ILCA to approve builders of the Laser who have the right to use the Laser trademark.
The requirements for new classes to obtain designation as an ISAF Class are defined in ISAF Regulation 10. ISAF Regulation 23 defines how an ISAF Class can be selected as equipment for the Olympic Sailing Competition.
ISAF remains committed to working with all the parties to the dispute in order to negotiate a settlement. Our primary concern is for the sailors around the world and we will continue to work towards a resolution.
If Kirby is wrong and loses the law suit. We continue more or less with the state of affairs of the past few years. Same supply problems, but the same good old class.ReplyDelete
If Kirby is wins the law suit, and ISAF/ILCA have appointed new builders and have been manufacturing Lasers without the Kirby approval and in violation of the contracts .... then the liability is going to go way up. I hope ILCA and ISAF have good bank account balances.
I also hope that ISAF and ILCA really have a good answer for the ongoing supply and quality issues.
It will be interesting tos ee which way the Australian builder jumps. My guess is that ILCA/ISAF will be quite happy to approve them to continue to build Lasers. And Kirby wants them to build Torches. Will they choose one, or both?ReplyDelete
Funny you should ask, Tillerman. The Australian builder posted a rant about this on their Facebook page - how it was dumping them after 30+ years of faithful service to the Laser world (true), how they were disappointed that the two Australian reps on the World Council must have voted for it, etc. But the post has since been deleted... maybe they belatedly realised that as the Laser trademark owner here in Aus, this makes no difference to them and it's business as usual?ReplyDelete