Williams in teamwear dispute
The Williams team has found itself in a minor legal dispute ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, after it has emerged a local company won the exclusive rights to use the same name for any clothing items in the country.
A family firm called "Williams", based in Vecses, a small city located to the south of Budapest, has acquired the rights through a ruling by a local court, thanks to the fact that it has registered its trademark before Hungary has joined the European Union back in 2004.
The court decision means the Williams team is not allowed to distribute its official merchandise in the country.
The Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard (VPOP) have already banned all local shops from selling any clothing items related to the Grove-based squad, and some reports suggested it would even try to impound the clothing worn by the team crew during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
A spokesman to the team admitted Williams were aware of the situation, but thought they were not making any legal offences by wearing their usual uniforms themselves.
"We are aware of a judgement reached in the courts in 2008, a judgement we did not contest," he said. "As a consequence of this judgement, we are not distributing or selling Williams merchandise in Hungary."
"However, employees of the Williams team will be wearing their usual uniform in the pursuit of their professional duties at the Hungaroring this weekend. Team uniform is supplied to employees with no charge, there is thus no financial transaction in the provision of clothing to team members and thus no loss of commercial advantage for any third parties."
According to reports in the local press, Williams has tried to resolve the issue before by offering some financial compensation to the Hungarian company so they could still distribute their official products, but their offer has been rejected.
The owner of the Williams company in Vecses, Vilmos Kortye said the agent was not able to prove it was representing the team.
He also added he was the first to register the "Williams" trademark in Hungary as long ago as 1996, and soon got into a legal dispute with the team, which tried to contest the registration twice. Kortye stated the team has never participated in any court hearings during the last twelve years.
Can't Sir Frank just tell them to stop being so shirty?