In November 2018, World Sailing approved its Olympic Equipment Strategy, which requires that any interested party who meets the necessary technical qualifications must be able to manufacture and sell Olympic equipment.
In order to comply with this policy, on September 27th of this year, ILCA announced it was accepting preliminary applications for the appointment of new builders of class legal boats and equipment. ILCA is pleased to announce that 29 applications were received and have now been reviewed by the evaluation panel. 18 applicants were determined to meet the minimum requirements to move forward in the process and those potential builders are now being invited to participate in a more detailed, formal license application assessment. Applicants will receive a copy of the Approved Builder License Agreement and the relevant portions of the ILCA Build Manual, which will allow them to fully evaluate the business opportunity and develop a formal business plan.
On December 6, Laser Performance was also issued an Approved Builder License Agreement, which would allow the company to be reappointed as an approved manufacturer of class legal boats and equipment. ILCA has not yet received a response to the agreement from Laser Performance, but we are hopeful to see a signed contract in the near future in order to avoid any delays in equipment supply.
All new builder applications were submitted on a confidential basis, so ILCA cannot publish the names of the potential builders at this time. However, ILCA can reveal that, of the 18 builders invited to proceed with the new builder approval process, there are five from Europe, five from Asia, four from North America, three from South America and one from Oceania. The next step is for a panel of experts to review the formal applications and business proposals received in order to further narrow down the list. By the nature of this process and in compliance with relevant antitrust regulations, ILCA cannot determine the number of builders that will be eventually approved, nor can we specify the geographic location of the successful candidates. More information about the approval process and the technical and business qualifications required can be found here.
Since rights to use the LASER trademark are controlled by various third parties, all new builders will be issued a royalty-free license to use the ILCA trademark in connection with the marketing and sale of class legal boats. This will allow all builders to sell boats, sails and equipment into any territory and will establish a truly open global market, which we expect will help drive growth for our class and our sport in all parts of the world. Removing territorial trademark restrictions is a necessary part of implementing World Sailing’s Olympic equipment strategy and ILCA will issue further guidance to all Districts and Regions related to the new equipment branding and what sailors can expect in the future.