DeltaWing Group sues Bowlby and Nissan
The Delta Wing consortium, led by Don Panoz, has filed a lawsuit against its former designer Ben Bowlby and former engine-supplier Nissan for “damages and injunctive relief arising out of theft of confidential and proprietary information, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contracts, unjust enrichment, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.”
This comes less than two months after the Bowlby-designed Nissan ZEOD RC made its first demonstration run at Fuji. The lawsuit seeks to prevent Nissan from using any “‘delta' or wing-shaped” vehicles.
A complaint was filed and entered into the system of the superior court of Jackson County, Ga., on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, by Delta Wing, LLC, a business owned by Chip Ganassi, and Delta Wing Project 56, LLC, a business with multiple owners, including Ganassi and general manager Don Panoz.
The complaint names former Delta Wing designer and current Nissan director of motorsport innovation Ben Bowlby, Nissan global motorsports director Darren Cox, Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., Nissan Motorsports International Company, Ltd., Nissan International, S.A., and Nissan North America, Inc., and requests a finding of “temporary and permanent injunctive relief, interlocutory injunction, and damages.”
The complaint by the Delta Wing group (referred to as DW, DWP56, or Plaintiffs) involves the various Nissan groups or individuals listed above (referred to as Bowlby, Cox, Nissan, or Defendants) in relation to the Nissan Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car (ZEOD RC) Le Mans-style racecar that was awarded an entry for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans under the “Garage 56” program created by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. The complaint also includes the Nissan BladeGlider concept vehicle, among other items.
The complaint states: “This is an action for damages and injunctive relief arising out of theft of confidential and proprietary information, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contracts, unjust enrichment, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation. The Defendants have acted individually, as agents for each other, and in conspiracy with each other to commit the aforementioned actions, which have caused Plaintiffs damages and irreparable harm.”
The complaint also states: “Defendants have misappropriated the trade secrets owned by DW and exclusively licensed to DWP56 and used such information and opportunities to compete with DW and DWP56, causing irreparable and ongoing injury to Plaintiffs. Defendants have further breached their contracts with DWP56 and engaged in fraud and negligent misrepresentation directed toward DWP56, which have caused DWP56 significant damages.”
Nissan, through a public relations representative involved with the ZEOD RC project, supplied RACER with the following statement on the topic:
“The Nissan ZEOD RC is a new design. Nissan does not green light any projects which it believes will contravene third parties' intellectual property rights.” More at Racer.com