Threat of lawsuit for AC75 design

Published on October 26th, 2020

Manoel Chaves

After witnessing radical changes for the America’s Cup during the Larry Ellison era, Team New Zealand’s victory in 2017 furthered that trend when the AC75 Class was revealed. However, was this foiling monohull concept legally conceived? Apparently not according to Brazilian publication NÁUTICA in this translated report:

Brazilian naval engineer and boat builder Manoel Chaves from MCP Yachts reveals the hydrofoils that equip the America’s Cup 2021 AC75s are patented by him, and that he will go to court to claim the credits for his creation.

The problem is that, according to Chaves, the lawyers at Emirates Team New Zealand and the directors of the team that designed the AC75 are avoiding recognizing the property rights of the Brazilian, who obtained the patent registration both in Brazil – with extension international – and New Zealand which should generate a dispute in the justice of that country.

“The lawsuit will seek to obtain legal credits for the hydrofoil system that equips America’s Cup 2021 sailboats, as well as specific recognition at the patent and industrial property rights office in New Zealand,” explains Chaves, who before going to court tried, several times, to plead their rights cordially without success.

“For more than two years, Emirates Team New Zealand’s management lawyers have been dodging our lawyers,” says Chaves. “Initially, they did not respond to our letters or emails. Now, they refuse to meet with our lawyers,” he laments. “It is possibly the typical case of an isolated bureaucrat, who knows nothing about boats and who thinks he is above the law.”

Chaves is absolutely sure that neither the United Arab Emirates nor the New Zealand government is aware of this conflict. The Brazilian imagines that, at some point, the team’s managers and lawyers failed to assume that the office that designed the AC75 copied the idea without knowing that there were patents to be respected. Now, he says, they insist on not going back.


36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA) – STATUS UNKNOWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition (CANCELLED)
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6, 2019 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10, 2019 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2, 2019 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4, 2019 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1
October 16, 2020 – American Magic (USA), Boat 2
October 17, 2020 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 2
October 20, 2020 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 2


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