Haas title sponsor Rich Energy loses court case over logo

Rich Energy, title sponsor of the Haas F1 Team, has lost a high court battle over its logo, initated by British bicycle brand, Whyte.

Whyte claims that Rich Energy ripped off its logo with a blatant and unauthorised copy and took legal action against the energy drinks company. The court battle concluded with Judge Melissa Clarke ruling in Whyte's favour.

The decision could see Rich Energy forced to change its logo, which features heavily on both Haas F1 cars and sees Whyte entitled to damages or an account of Rich Energy’s profits.

In her ruling, the judge stated that it was her belief that evidence had been "manufactured" by Rich Energy CEO William Storey and graphic design company StaxoWeb Ltd in order to support their defence, and she also accused the pair of lying over their familiarity with Whyte's 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. 

"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). 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)."

In response to the ruling, Rich Energy issued the following statement in which it says it may appeal the decision.

"Rich Energy are considering to appeal a decision to change their existing logo after a United Kingdom court ruling declared its need to change. The now well-known branding of Rich Energy has been under scrutiny since the brand launched itself as a title sponsor within the global platform of Formula One.

"With over a billion people now watching the Rich Energy brand, the potential requirement to change its logo will not change the company's future programs. Whilst the initial judgement is disappointing, and only applies to the United Kingdom, Rich Energy will now focus on its strong sales growth and commitment to delivering its premium product to current and new markets."