Navigating the legal complexities of the world of motorsports can often be as challenging as mastering a road course or high speed oval. Barnes & Thornburg lawyers have experience around the globe representing teams, track owners, drivers, sponsors, municipalities, sanctioning bodies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, to name a few. We can handle these complex issues and be your legal pit crew.
Contracts and Licensing
We have extensive experience negotiating and drafting contracts and sponsorship and licensing agreements. Drivers and teams have relied on us to draft agreements related to driver development, licensing, endorsements, personal appearances, employment, racing series, supplier and personal services. We also draft broadcast, television, talent, radio and other media agreements.
Labor and Employment
Racing industry employers turn to us for guidance on every day employment matters, including drafting employment and non-compete agreements, employee discipline, Family and Medical Leave Act issues, workers’ compensation, labor relations and unions, immigration, ERISA compliance, and others issue that arise in the employment arena. We also work with track owners on race track development and disability access issues under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Racing is truly a worldwide sport, with drivers and teams from all over the globe frequently racing in the U.S. and abroad. We work with employers and provide assistance with all aspects of temporary and permanent employment-based immigration for drivers, engineers and other technical staff. We also advise clients on Form I-9 compliance and audits, as well as Social Security “no match” letters.
Branding is important in many aspects of motorsports. Our attorneys are skilled at protecting the intellectual property rights of race teams, tracks, marketers and sponsors. We are well-known for our trademark and patent prosecution and for our litigation practice; our intellectual property group is one of the largest found in a full-service law firm in the U.S.
Media, Vendor and Sponsor Issues
We draft marketing, advertising and merchandising agreements and advise clients before they sign on the bottom line. Contract language needs to be precise and written by someone who understands the business. We also are in tune with agreements and enforcement related to social media of all kinds.
Corporate and Regulatory
The business of motorsports is our business. We have on-the-ground experience advising on corporate and limited liability company matters; facilitating joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions; and counseling on the organization of new teams. We also work with motorsports event managers and provide onsite legal representation at major events. In addition, our attorneys keep abreast of relevant regulations and, when necessary, represent service/product providers in collections.
Tax and Wealth Management
Our attorneys provide motorsports companies, executives and individuals with innovative wealth management, tax and estate planning solutions to support and protect your current business and personal assets. We know how to structure businesses so they hold their value and are protected from creditors.
Disputes related to contracts, employment or intellectual property will be aptly handled by our skilled attorneys. Barnes & Thornburg has extensive knowledge and experience at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts. But we also recognize that not all cases are meant to be tried; we can help steer you toward an economical outcome through mediation or alternative dispute resolution.
The racing industry has turned to our antitrust group to resolve alleged restraint of trade and monopolization actions brought by industry competitors. We have successfully represented racing tire producers and auto parts manufacturers in regard to claims of exclusive dealing with sports sanctioning bodies. Our antitrust team has extensive experience helping clients avoid potential antitrust liability and compliance issues at every stage of the litigation process at the state and federal level.
Project Financing & Economic Incentives
If your business is planning to expand, consolidate, obtain new equipment or relocate, our skilled attorneys can advise on the most beneficial project financing, site selection and locating government economic development incentives to meet your goals.
We know the territory and have experience with advising team owners, developers and consultants on land acquisition, zoning and real estate development for new race tracks and facilities. Our attorneys also have experience with a wide range of residential real estate transactions, leasing and negotiation of financing.
Encountering financial or operational challenges of suppliers, customers, sponsors or other parties such as bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization can be daunting for any business enterprise. We counsel clients on business, commercial, bankruptcy, supply chain and creditors’ rights issues, including workouts and loan restructurings; foreclosures; representation of secured and unsecured creditors, creditors’ committees, preference defendants, lessors and landlords in bankruptcy cases; repossessions and general collections; and Uniform Commercial Code issues.
Owning, operating or chartering business aircraft requires an assessment of complex rules and regulations. We provide the sound legal advice you need to protect the ownership or use of this high-value asset and will work with you to structure your aviation operation or acquisition with the most advantageous insurance coverage, tax strategies and compliance plan.