Haas F1 Team’s Title Sponsor Rich Energy have lost a court battle regarding their logo, which bicycle brand Whyte Bikes claimed they owned the copyright to.
Rich Energy, the British energy drink company who now are the title sponsor of the Haas team, went to court against Whyte Bikes, who claim their Stag’s Head logo formed the basis of Rich Energy’s strikingly similar design.
On Tuesday, the court findings from the March hearings were announced, with Rich Energy found in breach of copyright law.
A statement from the claimant (Whyte Bikes) read as follows:
“The Judgment from March’s court case between ATB Sales Ltd (the owner of Whyte Bikes) and William Storey (the CEO of Rich Energy), StaxoWeb Ltd (the originator of the infringing logo), and Rich Energy Ltd has today been handed down by Judge Melissa Clarke.
Her Honour found that both Kelly and Storey, representing Defendants Staxoweb and Rich Energy had lied and deliberately misled the court, and that they directly and knowingly copied Whyte Bikes’ logo.
“Whilst the Rich Energy drink has proved almost impossible to find or purchase the visibility of the Rich Energy brand has recently increased, coming to the attention of F1 viewers as a result of their sponsorship of the Rich Energy Haas F1 Team, whose cars both feature multiple applications of the copied Whyte Bikes logo.” Whyte Bikes
Judge Clarke said “I am satisfied that some of Mr Storey’s evidence was incorrect or misleading and that he was involved in the manufacture of documents during the course of litigation to provide additional support for the Defendants’ case.”
“I do not accept either Mr Storey or Mr Kelly as credible or reliable witnesses and I treat all of their evidence with a high degree of caution.”
“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that both Mr Kelly and Mr Storey have lied about not being familiar with C’s Device (Whyte’s logo). I find it more likely than not that they were familiar with it, and that they directly and knowingly copied C’s Device in designing D1’s Device (Rich Energy’s logo).”
The result is that Rich Energy’s logo has been held to infringe the copyright in the Whyte logo, entitling ATB to an injunction and damages or an account of Rich Energy’s profits.
A statement from Rich Energy said: “Today the judgement was released in the claim brought by Whyte Bikes against us in respect of our stag logo. We are disappointed with the judgement & findings of the judge. We are presently considering all of our options with our legal team including appeal.”