Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley said he was disappointed by the English Court of Appeal’s decision to reject its appeal against last year’s ruling in its case against Aerolab/FondTech.
Last March, Force India was awarded 25,000 euros in damages from Jean-Pierre Migeot’s company for use of its intellectual property, deemed primarily to have been “an opportunistic shortcut” in work on the Lotus T127 raced by the now-Caterham team in 2010. Aerolab had conducted aerodynamic work for both teams.
Force India, which was ordered to pay 650,000 [$968,000] in costs, had sought greater damages in the Court of Appeal but this was thrown out by the judge.
“We’re very, very disappointed,” Fernley said. “The bottom line is that the appeals court have upheld the compensation claim and there is no difference in terms of the fact that they have been found guilty of copying.”
Migeot, managing director of FondTech, which has incorporated Aerolab since the case started last year, declared himself delighted with the verdict.
“On behalf of everyone at FondTech [which Aerolab has since been incorporated into] I am delighted and relieved by today’s judgment,” said Migeot. “Due to the complex nature of this case there was always an opportunity for facts to be misconstrued, but I have maintained faith that the rightful outcome would be reached.
“While this has been a lengthy process it has also been a necessary one in order to wholly restore FondTech’s reputation as a trustworthy industry-leading supplier. I sincerely believe that today’s verdict does just that.”
Force India could still take the case to the Supreme Court, although this course of action is believed to be unlikely.
“We are keeping our options open and evaluating our position,” said Fernley.
The now-Caterham team was found not guilty of any wrongdoing in the original High Court verdict.