Vijal Mallya's Force India were ordered by a High Court judge on Wednesday to pay unpaid fees amounting to £707,695 over their two-year intellectual property dispute with former wind tunnel supplier Aerolab.
"Such misuse as I have found to have occurred mainly consisted of opportunistic copying of CAD files by CAD designers in order to take a short cut," Mr Justice Arnold said.
But it doesn't end there, as Force India's losses could go over £4 million once legal costs have been added.
The ruling does not come at a good time for Mallya, as his Kingfisher Airlines is on the brink of collapse with rising debts. He could have done without having to stump up hundreds of thousands of pounds, especially with tax authorities having frozen Kingfisher's bank accounts, most of its fleet grounded, staff asking questions on why they haven’t been paid since December, and the aviation minister threatening to close down the company unless they meet safety and financial standards.
The fee the court has asked him to pay may look petty when compared with debts of over $1billion, but it will still hurt Mallya given the fact that reports suggest Force India to have declined an out-of-court settlement offer of €250,000 last year.
The case between Aerolab and Force India was based on the fact that the Italian firm had copied important parts of Force India’s design when designing the Team Lotus T127.
Updated Date: Mar 22, 2012 15:02:39 IST