Ecclestone could face $20 million law suit

NO sooner has Bernie Ecclestone apparently emerged successful from his tussle with the European Union regulators over the manner in which he runs his F1 business than he now faces the prospect of a new legal battle in the USA.

London-based internet media company Formula1.com is apparently suing several of Formula One Holding companies in California, claiming violation of US anti-trust laws. It is expected that Formula1.com will attempt to argue that it lost several potentially lucrative contracts because of pressure placed on its business associates by Ecclestone's company.

Nicky Morris, the chief executive of Formula1.com today told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that no official claim for damages has yet been lodged, but the amount demanded will be in excess of $20 million.

Formula1.com is planning to sue several of Ecclestone's Formula One subsidiaries on multiple grounds, which allegedly include preventing access for photographic purposes and attempting to limit the sale of merchandise.

Ecclestone has already battled with Formula1.com claiming that the website's name violated copyright law. But this case was dismissed late last year by an international arbitration committee. Formula1.com's case will be heard in San Francisco next year, but lawyers representing the F1 Commercial rights holder are attempting to have the case dismissed next month.

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