Formula E to be forced to change name

Agag is going to have to write a large check to "The Green Effort" to get full rights to the Formula E name

A bizarre court case in Europe could force Formula E, the electric-powered auto racing series, to pull the plug on its own name after it came to light that a British rival had registered a trademark to it writes Christian Sylt of Forbes.

The dispute began revving up in 2016 but stayed out of the spotlight as it was being handled internally by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). As there is still gridlock after two years the European Court of Justice has been asked to make a decision on it which led to the filing of legal papers revealed yesterday by British newspaper the Sunday Express.

The FIA’s plans to launch an electric-powered series came to light on its website in August 2011 in a call of interest for an organizer. It is understood that 21 presentations were received by the FIA and FEH was announced as the winner in August 2012 with the first Formula E race taking place on 13 September 2014. Although the championship began then, the origin of the trademark to its name stretches back much further than that.

EUIPO records show that on 17 November 2010 German landscape architect Ronald Kirchner applied for a pan-European trademark to the word ‘Formula E’ for use on clothing, television broadcasts and sports events. It was registered on 13 March 2011 and Kirchner’s roadmap for the name started to become clear three years later.

In 2014 Kirchner and his business partner, a consultant named Michael Rabicano, founded British company The Green Effort and the trademark registration for Formula E was transferred to it in the same year. Kirchner owns 66% of the company with the remainder in Rabicano’s hands.

The Green Effort runs the Formula E championship for high-tech electric-powered go karts and, according to its website this was originally due to be held on Germany’s Nürburgring-Nordschleife in partnership with local company Scuderia Hanseat, which organizes driving experiences on the famous race track.

Reflecting the date of Kirchner’s EUIPO application, the website states that “the idea of staging a Formula E already came into being in 2010. At the time this was to take place on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife together with our partner ‘Scuderia Hanseat’. However, various circumstances such as changing tenancies at the ‘Ring’, different people involved in our partner’s activities and the emergence of a major series of races with the same name delayed these plans. In summer 2015 the Formula E was ready to start. Today the racing series for E-Karts and other vehicles in Europe is already in its 4th season."

The website states that its first kart race took place in Germany on 3 October 2015 and this is also shown on the following page from it which is dated 27 January 2016 and has been retrieved by the Internet Archive. Formula E has held 14 kart races across Europe since 2015 but its first one could hold the keys to its future. More at Forbes

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