Last year the cutting-edge DeltaWing race car concept got a big boost when Nissan signed on as a major sponsor. But that relationship came to an end earlier this year as Nissan decided to strike out on its own with a hybrid DeltaWing knockoff called the Nissan ZEOD RC. That was bad enough, but the recent Nissan BladeGlider concept was the last straw as the DeltaWing designers have sued the Japanese automaker for patent infringement.
The lawsuit is headed by Don Panoz, an American motorsports enthusiast who has had his hand in many different racing series, including the IMSA and the American Le Mans Series. Panoz doesn’t always leave the best impression on people (just ask Jo, who was too biased against Panoz to write this piece), but his lawsuit against Nissan might have some merit. After all, it’s not hard to see the similarities between the long thin nose and wide booty of the DeltaWing, and Nissan’s two concept vehicles.
After spending a year pumping up the DeltaWing design, which performed quite well, Nissan dropped out of the project and instead rolled out a very similar-looking ZEOD RC just months later. That was when the first signs of a lawsuit started brewing, but once the Nissan BladeGlider debuted, Panoz, who was a major backer of the DeltaWing, could take no more.
But here is where things get interesting. The actual designer of the DeltaWing, Ben Bowlby, actually joined the Nissan project, and is named as a defendant in the lawsuit as well. Still. Panoz sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nissan specifically regarding thee ZEOD and BladeGlider concept, claiming intellectual property infringement.
The whole thing stinks if you ask me, and maybe Jo is right about this guy. After all, who stands a better chance at actually doing something with the BladeGlider idea? Hint; it’s not the guy named Don.
Source: Automotive News