Haas sponsor Rich Energy has lost a legal battle in London's High Court on Tuesday, the energy drink company being found in infringement of copyright laws.
Bicycle company Whyte Bikes contended that Rich Energy's stag logo was copied from Whyte Bikes' own logo, the bike company seeking in court "the removal of the logo of the First Defendant, Rich Energy Limited, from the Formula 1 race car and website of the Rich Energy Haas Formula 1 motor racing team".
Judge Melissa Clarke was apparently unimpressed with Rich Energy CEO William Storey and graphic designer Sean Kelly's… stories, Clarke affirming that both men were "poor witnesses" and "misled" the court when they claimed they were not aware of Whyte Bikes logo.
"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]," Clarke said in her final report.
"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 logo]."
A quick note from us on today’s judgment... pic.twitter.com/A49p7vUioT
— Whyte Bikes (@WhyteBikes) May 14, 2019
The injunction granted to Whyte's parent company ATB could lead to the complete removal of the Rich Energy logo from Haas' cars, team kit and hospitality unit, not to mention possible damages.
But Rich Energy could also be forced to change the logo on its millions of energy drink cans; or would that be 'hundreds of cans'?
However, Rich Energy is entitled to appeal the ruling, with the case therefore adjourned until June 27.