Laser Olympic 2024 Agreements
Full approval for the 2024 Games is now contingent on the relevant parties agreeing to the terms of the Olympic Classes Contract by August 1, 2019.
Included in this new Olympic Classes Contract is a requirement that if the boat or equipment is protected by patents, trademarks (as Laser is) or other intellectual property, the owner of the IP rights is required to grant a license to any qualified new manufacturer on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (known as ‘FRAND’).
Only Performance Sailcraft Australia and Performance Sailcraft Japan have so far agreed to the terms of the new World Sailing FRAND policy. Laser Performance Europe and its relevant trademark holder to date have not accepted the specific terms of World Sailing’s FRAND policy. LPE makes around 80% of the Lasers in the World and holds the trade mark name Laser and the Laser star burst logo everywhere in the World except Oceania, Japan and South Korea so its agreement is critical.
World Sailing is leading discussions with ILCA and the builders with the goal of obtaining agreement on the Olympic Classes Contract and implementing a FRAND compliant licensing policy before August 1, 2019.
Obtaining agreement with the current builders, the IP rights holders will allow the class to continue under the Laser brand name.
In case these discussions do not obtain the necessary agreement by the deadline date ILCA is working on Plan B exploring other available options to ensure that we retain Olympic status. These include putting forward a rule change vote to allow class legal equipment to be sold under an alternative brand.
There is a good description HERE by ILCA President Tracy Usher covering the issues and ILCA action on Plan A and what will be needed for Plan B. Either course of action if implemented by August 1, 2019 would see the Laser retained in the Olympics in 2024.
There is more information and background in a post on the ILCA web site HERE.