September 22, 2015

ILCA - Legal Mumbo Jumbo

by Pam
I rarely read the Sailing Anarchy forum these days but when I do I always get a quick read on the some of the questions being asked by the class members (and non-members). Things usually begin with a little speculation, then a few people throw in a couple of facts, then the speculation continues on this mixture of speculation and facts. 

It's like reading one of those historic fiction novels where you can't tell where history leaves off and someone's imagination kicks in.  Finally, I get frustrated and head to the Internet to look everything up for myself just to satisfy my curiosity. 

One of the questions recently was about the ILCA.  What kind of entity is the ILCA?  Where is the main office?  I did a little research and couldn't find a definitive answer but it appears the ILCA (or their attorneys) may be misrepresenting the organization in some legal documents.  I always start by following the patents and other legal documents.  Presumably, they'll want to be sure to get this stuff right:


Radial Sail with Reinforced Luff Tube
US 8739721 - (US patent)  filed Dec. 9, 2010 and granted Jun. 3, 2014
WO 2012/076852  (PCT international application) filed Dec. 9, 2011 - will never grant
AU 2011340315 (PCT national application) - not a patent - it's still in examination
GB 2499751 (PCT national application) - not a patent - it's still in examination
US D664493 - (US design patent) filed Feb. 9, 2010 and granted Jul. 31, 2012


In 2011, the US patents were assigned to the ILCA (UK address).  

In 2013, when the UK patent application was filed, the UK database indicated the ILCA is "incorporated in the United Kingdom"

In June 2013, the Texas Comptroller lists the name of the ILCA as "Laser Class Association Inc" and indicates it is a Texas non-profit corporation with offices in Austin, TX.  The formation documents at the Texas Secretary of State list the management as Tracy Usher, Hugh Leicester, and Andy Roy with Eric Faust being the organizer and registered agent for the LCAI.  The Assumed Name (the d/b/a or doing business as) documents list the International Laser Class Association as the d/b/a for the Laser Class Association Inc.

As of Septemper 13, 2015, the UK Land Registry shows Jeff Martin as the current Lessee of 51B Church Street, Falmouth, UK TR11 3DS but the lease also indicates the lease termination date was January 31, 2013.  Companies House has always been the 'go to' place to find information about a UK company and yet the ILCA isn't listed. 

It has been suggested on Sailing Anarchy that the ILCA is an Isle of Man company which doesn't have records that can be looked up to verify anything.  It has also been suggested on Sailing Anarchy that it is a British unincorporated association which isn't required to register anywhere so it can't be verified.  

Why would Jeff Martin have the lease for the UK ILCA office in his own name unless the ILCA really is an unincorporated association, as I believe those types of entities can't hold title to property?  It is my understanding that under British law, the Isle of Man is not part of the UK.  So, given the legal documents in place that have declared the ILCA to be a UK company, I'm leaning toward believing that it is an unincorporated UK association. 

If that assumption is true, then how can the ILCA hold title to the US patents (if a UK unincorporated association has no such right to hold title to personal property which is what a patent is)?  And how could it ever hope to enforce its rights in the US patents (since it would have no right to do so)?  So, why wouldn't the ILCA want the Texas non-profit corporation to hold title to the patents instead of the UK entity? 

So, I'm left with more questions than answers. I'm going to have to stop visiting Sailing Anarchy.  It makes my head hurt.


  1. As Winston Churchill once said of Russia, the ILCA is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

    Have you been able to find out yet what actually happened in the court hearing on the Kirby lawsuits last week?

  2. Oh, I see the answer to my question is already on Sailing Anarchy.

    "All motions for summary judgement (180, 184, 183, 186) and the motion to dismiss (174) are under being taken under advisement."

  3. Better that your head hurts than mine Pam :) Frankly, SA content has very little of anything that makes sense anyway.

  4. True Bruce. Most of the folks on the thread concerned are rabid supporters of one side or the other and invent all sorts of doubtful pseudo-legal arguments to support their case.

    But when someone with access to the online court reports posts a direct quote from them, I tend to assume you can trust that. (Even if it does have an obvious mistake in it!)


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