Rich Energy logo, Haas, 2019

Haas sponsor Rich Energy copied logo from Whyte Bikes, court rules

2019 F1 season

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Haas’s title sponsor Rich Energy may have to change its branding after losing a court case over its logo.

The company, whose branding appeared on the Haas for the first time this season, lost a claim brought by ATB Sales, owners of the Whyte Bike brand. ATB sought an injunction to prevent Rich Energy’s logo appearing on Haas’s Formula 1 car and website, claiming the design was a copy of the graphic they had used since 2008.

The court upheld ATB’s claim, ruling “[the defendent’s] device is an infringing copy of [the claimant’s] device pursuant to section.”

Judge Melissa Clarke found Rich Energy’s Williams Storey “was fully involved in the design process and knowingly copied” the logo. The judge also raised questions about Storey’s reliability as a witness.

“Mr Storey provided different and inconsistent accounts of the development of [the Rich Energy logo],” she wrote in her judgement. “He often did not answer questions directly, preferring to make speeches about his vision for his business or alternatively seeking to evade questions by speaking in generalities or in the third person plural. He only answered several questions when I intervened.”

Whyte Bikes logo
Whyte Bikes logo
She gave an example of Storey “[stating] in an impassioned fashion that he was ‘not in the business of trying to create a world-class business by taking any inspiration from anybody else whatsoever’, but his own written evidence was that his starting point when thinking about developing a logo was to carry out logo research on what other drinks companies were doing, and to carrying out internet searches on stag head logos used by other companies.”

“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,” she added.

In a statement Rich Energy said: “Today the judgment was released in the claim brought by Whyte Bikes against us in respect of our stag logo. We are disappointed with the judgment and the findings of the judge which run counter to our submissions. We are considering all of our legal options including appeal.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Haas sponsor Rich Energy copied logo from Whyte Bikes, court rules”

  1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    14th May 2019, 16:39

    A good decision, its clear as day.
    With the case now adjourned pending a potential appeal, I wonder will we see the logo removed from the livery with immediate effect, or will they keep flogging the dead stag?

    1. IF they are smart, they immediately pull out the OTHER logo they had in their back pockets because they knew all along that this stunt with a stolen logo wouldn’t fly @fullcoursecaution.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        14th May 2019, 16:52

        this stunt with a stolen logo wouldn’t fly

        If trying any flying deer, then Santa will sue then.

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        14th May 2019, 16:53

        @bascb indeed if this was a PR stunt hats off to them!
        It’s going to be a costly job if they have to recall all that stock, hundreds, if not thousands of pence.

        1. Maybe this was why we never got to see any of the cans in shops yet. They were holding them back until they announce the new logo?

          1. Here you go
            Admittedly William Storey gave this to me so I didn’t find it in the shops either. Drank another can to keep me going on the autoroute but I’d incline towards a strong coffee on the whole

          2. Oh wow, an actual can @picasso-19d-ftw. But as you mention, it was part of the promo stock so who knows what the rest of the cans (if there are actually more) look like!

          3. @picasso-19d-ftw – I think what’s more surprising than the existence of a Rich Energy drink can is the fact you drank from it. Madlad.

  2. ColdFly (@)
    14th May 2019, 16:49

    Rich Energy could buy this logo for $175.
    Cheaper than discussing an appeal with their lawyers ;)

    1. Cheaper than discussing an appeal with ONE of their lawyers!!

    2. They soon will be Poor Energy

    3. That looks like logo for clothing brand Allen Soly.

  3. Hard to believe anybody is fighting over such a cheap looking logo. Honestly, Whyte did Rich a favor on this one.

    1. @darryn Took the words right out of my mouth.

      I wish ATB all the best in their endeavours, but I hope their approach to other areas of their business doesn’t mirror that of their logo design.

    2. DAllein (@)
      14th May 2019, 18:04

      Because it was “free”… in the meaning that you don’t need to hire anyone to design it… just open laptop, search logos, find any suitable, add 2 tiny strokes – done! Profit!

    3. @darryn
      It’s not the logo, it’s the brand recognition associated with it, and as crap as the logo is (it was 2008…) it represents a company that could be confused with another quite easily.

      Really pleased with this decision, I’m a Whyte Bikes fan and additionally Storey is as arrogant and dodgy as they come.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        14th May 2019, 22:45

        @jett Storey is as arrogant and dodgy as they come.

        You mean the paid-for interviews with Peter Windsor haven’t convinced you that Storey is a great guy, with a lot of “ethos” and a great product?

        1. @braketurnaccelerate
          Unfortunately not, and I think the rest of the world are with me, except of course Storey and Windsor…

          What I really don’t like about all of this is that the brilliant Scarbs is associated with the latter.

      2. @jett Completely agree – I’m also a Whyte bikes fan. I did my due diligence to flame Storey on Pinkbike, as well. :D

        Rich Energy is shady AF, on the whole.

  4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    14th May 2019, 17:40

    So, does this mean they have to change the logo for their imaginary drinks brand?

    1. DAllein (@)
      14th May 2019, 18:11

      You can’t have an imaginary brand without at least one image)

    2. @rocketpanda, @dallein: You just have to imagine a new imaginary logo to identify the imaginary brand. That’s what building a vision is all about.

  5. Neil (@neilosjames)
    14th May 2019, 17:43

    Just reading the whole judgement now, pretty brutal assessment of Storey. Wonder what he’ll do with the 87 million empty cans he claims to have lying around…

    1. @neilosjames, indeed – whilst the judge may be using diplomatic language, you are right that it is an uncompromising indictment of Storey and his business partner Kelly, to the point where both of them are accused of deliberately, and rather clumsily, trying to fabricate some of the documents they submitted in their defence (basically, that they were created in 2018 and then they attempted to backdate them to 2015).

      There are some real stingers from the judge there, such as when Storey’s legal team tried to draw a comparison with another case and he replied “I distinguish this case from Mitchell v BBC, on the facts. In that case, Birss J found that all of the defendants’ witnesses were credible, honest and reliable. That is not the case here.

      For those wanting to read the judgement itself, it can be found here – it makes for rather interesting reading about how evasive and contradictory Storey was when giving evidence.

      1. Wow, that’s brutal. Especially given the judiciary’s preference to couch harsh observations in florid prose.

  6. Such a ridiculous company. Produces imaginary energy drinks and can’t even draw their own logos. Blatanlty copying someone else’s…

  7. DAllein (@)
    14th May 2019, 18:51

    Beheaded by the court (it took away their “head”)!
    I wonder when this fraud finally unravels…

    Someone is clearly just laundering money with this “brand”… how on Earth Haas performed due diligence checks is beyond me:
    – Company with nearly inexistent assets (by Financial Statement on 30 September 2017 at least), but somehow enough dosh to sponsor an F1 team, though where – is unclear, because they don’t have money… in the 2017 statements – number of employees 3… obviously with CEO pouring Energy directly in cans… Cash at bank: 581 GBP… not millions… just 581 GBP (1 good 3-day ticket to F1 race)… Tangible assets: 17676 GBP… Money owed: 993520 GBP, Money they owe: 1842794 GBP…
    – in 08.2018 they issued astonishing 100 Shares for 100 GBP each!
    – in 09.2018 they divided each share by 100, so got 10000 shares with a value of 0.01 GBP each

    – COM Domain registered on 2005-06-28 (so even not by them, someone else created it…)
    – US Domain registered on 2017-09-20
    – registered on 2018-12-28

    I really hope Haas has some backup plan…

    1. DAllein (@)
      14th May 2019, 18:54

      * Correction – 100 Shares with a total aggregate value of 100 GBP (not “each”).

      1. The issuing of 100 shares is not suspicious or unusual for a private company such as Rich Energy. Issuing 100 shares at a nominal price (normally 1p or £1) is a common a way of assigning a % of the company’s assets and returns to those who started it while limiting the liabilities to the company – hence Rich Energy Limited (Ltd.)
        This is different to those companies whose millions of shares are publicly traded through exchanges and which limit their liabilities through public ownership (Plc).

    2. Laundering money by sponsoring a F1 team?
      Holy cow.
      Once upon a time criminals were more discrete..

    3. I’d imagine haas being smart enough to ask for the money before putting their stickers on the car. That being said there are many ways sponsorship money can be paid. Force india used to have some kind of loan system with one of their sponsors. The haas f1 team is not he only sponsorship deal the haas has going on either. I think they sponsor one football team and one motorbike racing team as well.

  8. Legitimacy of Lord Williams of House Baratheon royal line is under question.

  9. Staggering read about Rich:

    Btw, Jon Whyte, the founder, is an ex-Benetton designer, MS days.

    1. @esteban
      Wow that does make interesting reading! And I never knew that about Jon Whyte…

    2. @esteban – very interesting article, although I feel like taking a shower after seeing some of the info in that article…

  10. You know Haas has found a perfect brand partner in Rich energy… Haas copies every detail of the Ferrari as Rich energy copies antler logos.

    1. At least Haas made an agreement with Ferrari to allow for it. Then again, Haas actually puts together a car and fields it in a competative field, while the Rich guys clearly have a richer story than solid (or rather fluid) substance @todfod!

  11. I wonder how the hell they hoped to go away with this.
    A 4 year old child would give the exact same sentence any copyright and law knowledge.
    Go figure

    1. @liko41, well, the judge did state in his summing up that, in his opinion, Storey “has very little idea of what copyright is and no idea of the difference between copyright and trade marks, even after going through this litigation process”. It is one of those things where it’s hard to tell whether malice or sheer incompetence is the easier explanation…

      1. RP (@slotopen)
        14th May 2019, 23:04

        Why pick one? Malice and incompetence frequently coexist

      2. Agree.
        But, hey.. it didn’t require neither specific competence nor particularly high morals..
        The stag logo is literally carbon copied!

  12. Wow! This what corporatocracy and being an idiot is all about.
    A totally lame original logo and, as it appears, a totally lame copy of it.

    I guess both of these “master minds” behind them are being paid a respectable amount of money per year…

  13. Storey telling stories :)

  14. So the imaginary company with an imaginary drink gets found out over its stolen logo.

    1. @foolishyouth – imagine that ;)

  15. Actually the judge is not “he”, she’s a woman, Judge Melissa Clarke. Best but of the judgement, imo:
    “… when Mr Wyand in cross-examination tried to understand his (i.e. Store’s) evidence about the sales figures of Rich Energy drinks, and put to him that he had been quoted in the press in February 2019 as saying that the First Defendant (Rich Energy) had produced 90 million cans, Mr Storey explained that it had produced 90 million cans, but had not yet filled and sold them.”

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