Haas’ title sponsor, Rich Energy, have lost a legal battle with regards to their logo after it was judged they copied the design from British bicycle manufaturer, Whyte Bikes, with both logos sharing a very similar visual of a stag.
Rich Energy had aspirations in 2018 of taking over the then-failing Force India team, which eventually became racing point. When they takeover fell through, they became title sponsors of Haas for the 2019 Formula 1 campaign.
The main perpatrators of the infringement, according to High Court judge Melissa Clarke, were Rich Energy owener William Storey and StaxoWeb Ltd founder Sean Kelly, with the latter organisation being the company who designed the copied logo.
“I am satisfied that some of Mr Storey’s evidence was incorrect or misleading and that he was involved in the manufacture of documents during the course of litigation to provide additional support for the Defendants’ case,” said Clarke in her report.
“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.
“Also, 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). 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’s logo).”
White Bikes are an award-winning British-based bicycle company, and will now be due compensation and the removal of all stag logos from Haas’ property.