Haas F1's mysterious title sponsor loses court case over stag logo

Rich Energy loses court case for copyright infringement concerning stag's head logo

16 May 2019 - 09:13 By Reuters
Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen testing at Barcelona.
Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen testing at Barcelona.
Image: Haas F1

The Haas team may have to change its livery after title sponsor Rich Energy lost a court case for copyright infringement concerning the stag's head logo prominent on the Formula One cars.

ATB Sales, owners of cycle maker Whyte Bikes, sought an injunction in the London High Court against Rich Energy, a little-known energy drink brand that became Haas's sponsor this season, to require them to remove the logo.

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Whyte argued that Rich had copied a logo belonging to the cycle brand that was designed by company employees in 2008.

Judge Melissa Clarke said in a written judgment that she found Rich Energy boss William Storey and Sean Kelly, founder of digital marketing company Staxoweb Ltd, to be "poor witnesses".

"He had a tendency to make impressive statements, which on further investigation or consideration were not quite what they seemed," she said of Storey.

The judge cited as an example that when cross-examined about a claim to the media in February that 90 million cans had been produced, Storey explained that Rich "had produced 90 million cans, but had not yet filled and sold them".

Rich Energy said on its Twitter feed that it was disappointed with the judgment.

"We are considering all of our legal options, including appeal," the company added.

Rich Energy tried to buy Force India (now Racing Point), to some scepticism from F1 insiders, when that team went into administration last year. They were also in talks with struggling former champions Williams.

Storey shrugged off those who questioned the company's fundamentals at the Haas team launch in February and said Rich had a presence in 43 countries.

Haas's drivers are Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Denmark's Kevin Magnussen.