Stealing IP from Your Competitor is Not As Bad As Using It.

Per my recent post, an IP theft case arose in Formula One racing, in which the team currently leading in the points for the driver and team championship was found in possession of a 780-page “technical dossier” stolen from the current second-place team, Ferrari.  Today, an emergent hearing was conducted before the World Motor Sporting Council (WMSC) in France, which is the venue where who didn’t win the Tour de France, or who wins the pairs Olympic figureskating, gets decided.

Today the WMSC reached a ruling that would not stand in a Uniform Trade Secrets Act jurisdiction, or any common law court.

 “The WMSC is satisfied that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was in possession of confidential Ferrari information and is therefore in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code. However, there is insufficient evidence that this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA Formula One World Championship. We therefore impose no penalty.”

One enjoyable comment was the observation that it is like catching a robber with a bag of money stolen from the bank, but imposing “no penalty” because he had not yet spent any of it.  A more serious criticism was from Ferrari, noting that even very small technical developments translate into the milliseconds that separate first from second place in Grand Prix motor racing.   Save the Tifosi, full throttle to the WDC!