And the Future Name of the Laser is …

This was a day of speculation over the Internet, following the revelation on a discussion forum that the Website http://gammaclass.org was pointing towards the international Laser class http://laserinternational.org

This redirection was soon removed. Yet, this was enough to feed the speculation that the new name for the boat would be the « Gamma » With a possible new logo looking like a gamma from the greek alphabet (see picture).

A query into the trademark application database from the United States Patent and Trademark Office indicates indeed that an application for « Gamma » was filed on Nov 29 2018 by a Delaware registered corporation named … Weather Helm Inc.!

The application covers a wide range of goods and services, including sailboats, booms, rudders, sails and arranging, conducting and organizing events and competitions in the sport of sailing.

The latest activity on this application is Feb 28 2019. There are several issues regarding this application, and the applicants have 6 months to address those.

But there is another trademark application by the same Weather Helm corporation! That one is for … ILCA!

The application also covers a wide range of elements, including sailboats, booms, rudders and sails. Yet it does not cover the organization of events and competition, as this is already covered by a separate registered trademark to ILCA since August 14 2018.

While ILCA has been known since 1972 as the acronym for the International Laser Class Association, and is still presented as such today on the class Website, the word « Laser » does not appear in the documents related to those ILCA trademarks. There is no information as to what the letters I L C A would stand for.

The latest activity on the new ILCA application is March 19 2019, in the form of a suspension notice relating to an apparently minor question of foreign registration.

Note that this new application indicates that « The applicant has a bona fide intention, and is entitled, to use the mark in commerce on or in connection with the identified goods/services and asserts a claim of priority based on European Union Trademark - EUTM application number 017914890, filed 06/08/2018. »


Nothing is official, but it seems that the two prime contenders are the « Gamma » and the « ILCA » and among those, it seems that the « ILCA » trademark application is more active.

In addition, Tom Ehman from Sailing Illustrated (previously head of US Sailing) indicated on his Facebook page: "I am now reliably informed that it will NOT be the Gamma Class."

Therefore, an educated guess - yes a guess, as nothing is sure before it is formally announced - would suggest that the new Laser name would be … the ILCA ! …

How convenient: the name already appears on the World Sailing plaques that can be found on the Lasers.

On April 6, the Laser class (ILCA) stated that it "expects to announce the new brand name in the next four weeks" and that the "proposed change simply changes the brand name to avoid trade mark complications."

The ILCA name is consistent with the June 2018 youtube video featuring the new C5 rig with the mention "ILCA" and with no Laser logo (see screenshot).

Talking about rigs, with LaserPerformance being discarded as a builder, it is now more likely that the C5, C6 and C8 rigs, developed in Australia will become class legal, not through a membership vote, but through a simple change in the builders’ manual.

And like for the rigs, it does not seem that the membership will be consulted for the change in the boat name.

All these changes seem to be endorsed by most of ILCA's World Council members, except those representing European sailors ... i.e. ... 61% of the membership ... according to ILCA's own numbers...

To conclude, one could possibly declare: « The Laser is Dead - Long Live the ILCA »

but … there is a but … and not a small one …

LaserPerformance has probably not said its last word …

À suivre …

... and indeed, LaserPerformance has not said its last word; this is a statement dated April 9 2019 - with very serious allegations regarding Lasers built in Australia -- https://optimist-openbic-sailing.blogspot.com/2019/04/an-explanation-to-fast-aussie-lasers.html

... read also:  Laser Name Change: What the ILCA Trademark Tells Us-- https://optimist-openbic-sailing.blogspot.com/2019/04/laser-name-change-what-ilca-trademark.html

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