ILCA Documents Confirm PSA Built Illegal Laser Boats for Years

LAST UPDATED

27 April 2019

The ILCA letters to Performance Sailcraft Australia (copied below) reprimand PSA for building 2,280 illegal Lasers from 2006 to 2015 – a period of nine years. It only stopped when LaserPerformance analyzed the Australian boats and reported the results to ILCA requiring them to investigate. Putting aside the question what exactly ILCA was inspecting when they visited PSA’s factory, one needs to ask why PSA was not removed as a builder? Instead, the Laser Construction Manual was revised to make the changes class legal much to the detriment of Laser class sailors and racing. No notification of the breach in protocol was reported to World Sailing or to the Laser community at large.

Background

In 2014 LaserPerformance received complaints that PSA-built Laser boats sold to sailors and used at the 2014 Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships were built differently than the Laser Construction Manual (LCM) and thus sailed faster. LaserPerformance acquired PSA Laser boats, measured and weighed them and cut them open for inspection. The examination by LP revealed that PSA was knowingly building boats that did not conform to the LCM. This was reported to ILCA which sent their Technical Officer to inspect PSA boats.

ILCA’s Technical and Measurement Committee reviewed LaserPerformance findings and reported the following:

“The meeting reviewed CH spread sheet on LCM option differences adopted by the 3 builders, the results from sample plaques received from the builders and an LP teardown report comparing a PSA to an LP boat.

The major differences in construction were agreed as a. An extra layer of CSM in the bow area of the PSA boats, b. The use of foam blocks that are glued in with expanding foam on PSA boats (alternate to Cubitainers), c. Use of Plywood ilo grommets to fasten the grab rails. d. Some oversize CSM patches on PSA boats.“

PSA compromised the sport and infringed on the fundamental rules of the Class and One Design, yet PSA was not decertified. Instead, PSA was handed a gift of $10 million in sales of illegal boats and a revision of the LCM so that PSA did not have to recall the 2,280 boats. The same parties who have damaged the class and sport have partnered to control ILCA thus giving them the opportunity to permanently hide these facts.

Enough mismanagement and incompetence. LaserPeformance calls for:

A. International Laser Class Association move back to Europe where the majority of Laser sailors live and sail.

B. International Laser Class Association appoint a professional executive team to run the class operations paid for by increased plaque fees charged to the builders.

Document 1 ILCA Defect Notice to PSA

Document 2 ILCA Defect Notice to PSA

PSA-owned Global Sailing aim is to create Laser Monopoly and Kill Competition

LAST UPDATED

26 April 2019

ILCA has issued a document that “requires that each builder and sublicensed builder must also have a current license agreement with Designer,” and adds that “the Laser Construction Manual Agreement (LCMA) to include Global Sailing as a party in place of Bruce Kirby.”

Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) have common ownership, hence PSA, which was quoted in ILCA’s 25 April 2019 announcement, that it was “gearing up to maximize production of the newly-branded ILCA Dinghy”, maintains that it also controls the design rights of the Laser. If this is not the definition of monopoly then what is? Indeed, giving licenses to other entities where the license governs the terms of engagement does not withstand FRAND or monopoly tests either.

ILCA’s management has obviously acceded to this non-competitive strategy and the illegal initiative to change ILCA’s name. Coupled with the ILCA/PSA/PSJ secret alliance to replace the Radial and 4.7 Laser boats with C series rigs, it becomes clear why ILCA refused to meet with LaserPerformance to negotiate a new license agreement in its territories (the world except Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea).

It is doubtful that Global Sailing even owns any rights. In June 2008 Bruce Kirby sold his “expired” design rights to Global Sailing. In 2009 Global Sailing informed LaserPerformance that it was the owner of the rights to the Builders Agreements, but subsequently World Sailing informed Global Sailing that the sale was invalid because it did not receive WS approval. Indeed, in litigation in the USA initiated by Bruce Kirby and Global Sailing, they represented to the US courts that Global Sailing had no such ownership interest.


This is the context in which LaserPerformance is proposing:

A. ILCA move back to Europe where the majority of Laser sailors live and sail.

B. ILCA appoint a professional executive team to run the class operations paid for by increased plaque fees charged to the builders.





LASERPERFORMANCE RESPONSE TO ILCA STATEMENT OF

27 MARCH 2019

LAST UPDATED

2 April 2019

LASERPERFORMANCE (“LP”) finds the recent events deplorable as well as potentially catastrophic for the Laser sailors and the class organization as configured today. It is important to know the background to the current dispute.

The falsehoods and misrepresentations contained in the official ILCA announcement are disturbing since they reflect on the class organization and bear on the credibility of governance of the class.

LP makes the following statements and responds to ILCA’s misleading statements:

■     LP has granted ILCA certain rights to use the Laser Trademark for its activities pursuant to an intellectual property license dated February 1998 (the “1998 Agreement”).


■     LP has been seeking a renewal of the 1998 Agreement which expires after multiple extensions on 31 August 2019.


■     ILCA has steadfastly refused to enter into a renewal agreement of like substance and has refused to have any meetings with LP on the matter.


■     LP refused to have ILCA undertake an inspection of LP’s facilities five months before expiry of 1998 Agreement and after three years of ILCA refusing to renew its license under the 1998 Agreement.


■     LP does not and has not refused inspection of its manufacturing facility or its products by other legitimate regulatory bodies. Indeed, LP has formally requested World Sailing to inspect LP’s facility given that they are the ultimate authority for compliance and the issuance of the boats’ plaques.


■     ILCA has not shared any of this with the sailors nor have they proposed how it would operate without a valid license from LP after August 2019.


■     ILCA is not legally able to seek new manufacturers for Laser products in LP territory without LP’s consent. LP territory covers the world excluding Australia, New Zealand (PSA) and Japan, Korea (PSJ). This is a simple matter of ownership of intellectual property and LP will enforce against any party who attempts to violate LP’s intellectual property rights.


■     ILCA can indeed appoint new builders in Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) and Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ) limited territory; however, neither of them can supply boats into LP territory without LP’s consent.


■     PSA has tried in the past to import illegally into LP territory by a variety of schemes. LP has successfully enforced its property rights against PSA and will continue to enforce its rights against PSA and any collaborating dealers or persons. The last of such legal action was in Belgium and it was adjudicated in favor of LP with the dealer involved filing for bankruptcy to avoid payment of award pursuant to the court judgment.


■     PSA is unable to supply LP’s output even if they could legally sell into LP territories. Indeed, the last time PSA agreed to support a class event – also a World event – was the Youth Worlds 2016 in New Zealand with 105 boats which ended up in PSA withdrawing its support three months before the event.


■     PSA’s withdrawal meant cancellation of the event except for WS reaching out to LP to step in both to save the event and to prevent the adverse effects a major cancellation impacting the Olympics standing of Laser.


■     The 2024 Olympic is in Paris, France – an LP territory and LP can be the only authorized supplier of Laser boats at such event.


■     ILCA decertifying the most established and the original manufacturer of Laser sailboats will not end the supply of LP Lasers to our markets. However, it will signal to the Olympic authorities that the most popular Olympic sailing event has poor governance and leadership, leading to unpredictable supply.


■     LP, in partnership with its outstanding dealership network, has consistently shown that it is the only supplier that can consistently provide support to events and sailors at a global level.


LP proposes the following to prevent the implosion of the Laser class organization:

          A. ILCA sign the renewal agreement to the 1998 Agreement in order to continue to use the granted trademark rights.

          B. ILCA move back to Europe where 75% of Laser sailors live and sail.

          C. ILCA appoint a professional executive team to run the class operations paid for by increased plaque fees charged to the builders.

LASERPERFORMANCE
2 April 2019

Julian Bethwaite Spills the Beans on ILCA/PSA/JSA

Project to Replace Laser Radial & 4.7

LAST UPDATED

9 April 2019

On March 6, 2017 the following was posted by Australia-based boat designer Julian Bethwaite available here http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/206410-laser-c5-rig/

LASERPERFORMANCE
9 April 2019

ILCA Turns Blind Eye While PSA Builds Illegal Laser Boats

LAST UPDATED

9 April 2019

In 2014 LaserPerformance received complaints that PSA-built Laser boats sold to sailors and used at the 2014 Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships were built differently than the Laser Construction Manual (LCM) and thus sailed faster. LaserPerformance acquired PSA Laser boats, measured and weighed them and cut them open for inspection. The examination by LP revealed that PSA was knowingly building boats that did not conform to the Laser Construction Manual. This was reported to ILCA which sent their Technical Officer to inspect PSA boats. In a written report to ILCA, LaserPerformance found:

A PSA hull is lighter and can be purchased below minimum weight by specifying the weight/lowest weight possible they are seeking at the time of order. Weights of 56.2Kgs were reported by the sailors.

B PSA advertised that hull mast rakes can be pre-ordered to sailor’s preference, with much more rake than LCM target.

C PSA hull is stiffer in front section.

D Upper mast is much heavier and stiffer that LPE supplied upper mast.

ILCA’s Technical and Measurement Committee reviewed LaserPerformance findings and reported the following:

“The meeting reviewed CH spread sheet on LCM option differences adopted by the 3 builders, the results from sample plaques received from the builders and an LP teardown report comparing a PSA to an LP boat.

The major differences in construction were agreed as a. An extra layer of CSM in the bow area of the PSA boats, b. The use of foam blocks that are glued in with expanding foam on PSA boats (alternate to Cubitainers), c. Use of Plywood ilo grommets to fasten the grab rails. d. Some oversize CSM patches on PSA boats. “

ILCA did not admonish or decertify PSA for breaking the LCM Agreement. Instead, ILCA agreed that the other builders follow the PSA laminate schedule, thus making all previous Lasers technically obsolete. No notification of the breach in protocol was reported to ISAF/WS or the Laser community at large.

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning ILCA’s Actions

LAST UPDATED

10 April 2019

1. Why is LP proposing that ILCA be moved back to Europe and a full-time executive team be hired?

According to EurILCA, over 70% of the class members are in the European region. As discussed at the 1998 ILCA World Council meeting the management of ILCA, it was felt by representatives of this region that their needs and priorities were being neglected. LP proposes that ILCA be moved back and a full-time professional management team lead ILCA paid by builders through increased plaque fees.

2. What is the 27 February 1998 Agreement?

This is a licence agreement between Performance Sailcraft Europe Limited (since renamed as LaserPerformance Europe Limited) and ILCA, giving certain limited rights to ILCA to use the Laser intellectual property according to ILCA’s constitution. A copy of the 1998 Agreement can be found here (LINK to: 1988_02_27 Trademark Agreement between ILCA and PSE ).

3. Why is LaserPerformance requiring a new license agreement?

• In 2010 ILCA moved to the USA under a new entity incorporated in the State of Texas.

• In 2016 LaserPerformance group was re-organized globally. Consequently, LPEU ceased to operate effective 31 December 2016 and will cease to exist from 31 August 2019.

• The 1998 Agreement does not have any provisions for succession rights and as such, as of 31 August 2019 the contract will extinguish on its own terms. Therefore, a new replacement and like agreement is needed in order for ILCA to continue to operate as before under the 1998 Agreement.

• ILCA have known about this and have been given multiple extensions under the 1998 Agreement for the past three years but they have refused to enter a new and like agreement.

• Without a new like license, ILCA will not be able to hold events or use the Laser mark in connection with its authorized activities from 31 August 2019.

4. What is ILCA’s view about the 1998 Agreement?

ILCA refuses to acknowledge that the Agreement will expire and a new agreement is required with the successor parties, whilst in private meetings they acknowledge LP’s rights to its intellectual property.

5. What has LP’s response been to ILCA’s actions?

LP has consistently asked to meet with all parties to resolve this issue as well as other pending issues. The last such attempt for an “All Parties Meeting” at the November 2018 ILCA World Council where LP requested that such a meeting be organized at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January 2019. ILCA refused to respond even after several subsequent reminders of the importance of such a meeting. LP is still prepared to meet with ILCA and WS.

6. Why has LP not allowed inspection of Laser manufacturing facilities

• It should be noted that ILCA has not inspected LP manufacturing since June 2015.

• LP has refused access to ILCA for inspection in March 2019 given the expiry of the ILCA license from 31 August 2019.

• LP has offered and World Sailing has agreed to participate in inspection of LP manufacturing by ILCA.

• The issue is not about non-compliance by LP, it is about ILCA’s lack of a proper inspection regime.

• It is an absolute responsibility of the class to inspect its builders. ILCA have not done so for the past four years whilst issuing plaques to LP. This attests to the strong compliance culture and commitment of LP to One Design.

7. Is LP cooperating with World Sailing?

LP has met with World Sailing and has fully briefed and discussed its position. They have indicated that they would be willing to participate in a meeting with ILCA. WS has also confirmed that it stands ready to participate in an inspection of LP manufacturing.

8. What is LP’s position about competition and FRAND?

LP has prepared a note on its position on this subject (LINK to: Laser Antitrust Doc Final ). This has been discussed with WS who indicated that in general LP position is in line with their requirements.

9. What has been the reactions been to ILCA’s recent actions?

A selection of class response can be found here (LINK to: Comments about ILCA Action Against LaserPerformance )

ILCA’s Illegal Change of Laser Name to “ILCA Dinghy”

LAST UPDATED

26 April 2019

Today ILCA announced that it has changed the Laser boat name to “ILCA Dinghy”. These actions are illegal but more importantly they totally disrespect the members. ILCA is neither builder-led nor US-led. It is a member-led organization for its members of whom over 70% are in Europe.

LP reiterates its call to membership:

A ILCA move back to Europe where the majority of Laser sailors live and sail.


B. ILCA appoint a professional executive team to run the class operations paid for by increased plaque fees charged to the builders.