The intellectual property claim involving Force India and Team Lotus will be heard in the High Court in London from January 16th next year.
The claim is against Lotus under its parent company name, 1 Malaysia Racing Team, and is also against Mike Gascoyne and Aerolab, the Italian wind tunnel and R&D facility.
There are separate criminal proceedings in Italy involving the “wrongful disclosure of confidential information.” That has led to Tony Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and Aerolab boss Jean Claude Migeot being formally charged.
Meanwhile Force India has given some more detailed background information on what the case involves.
“However, Force India’s collaboration with Aerolab Srl. ceased in August 2009 due to Force India’s concerns about a breach of confidentiality by Aerolab Srl.
“Aerolab Srl. subsequently started civil proceedings in Italy and in the UK against Force India F1 Team Ltd. for the illegitimate early termination of the service agreement. In relation to the Italian civil proceeding, Force India F1 Team Ltd. paid one million euros into an escrow account as a security.
“In October 2009 Force India F1 Team Ltd. started criminal proceedings by filing a complaint against unknown persons with the competent Italian authorities for the illegitimate disclosure of confidential information.
“Force India believes that Aerolab Srl. may have, during the course of its contract with the team, disclosed Force India F1 Team Ltd.’s intellectual property to 1 Malaysia Racing Team Ltd. and Mike Gascoyne, with whom Aerolab Srl. was at that time working through a sister company. The intellectual property was used in the development of the Lotus T127.
“Force India F1 Team Ltd. believes that the evidence retrieved during the investigations carried out by the Italian authorities that such a transfer took place.
“Such evidence was therefore submitted to the UK Courts. The civil case with be heard week commencing 16 January 2012 and will now deal with the IP infringement and the services of Aerolab Srl. to Force India F1 Team Ltd.
“Separately, in Italy, where Aerolab Srl. is registered, the authorities are actively pursuing cases against 1 Malaysia Racing Team Ltd., Mike Gascoyne and Aerolab Srl. for consistent infringements of intellectual property rights.”
No doubt a view from the other camp will be released soon.