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His firm Animation Research Ltd (ARL) is supplying television graphics for the America’s Cup challenger series, which started in Auckland yesterday, and legal action from companies led by Sir Russell Coutts has not changed that.
Off-water manoeuvres continued in the hours leading up to the first race yesterday.
Sir Russell’s company SailGP claimed the copyright dispute had been resolved, as broadcast and media production companies Circle-O and Riedel Communications had agreed to pay an intellectual property licensing fee.
But Sir Ian said the copyright stoush was with his company and it had not been resolved.
"I'm gobsmacked. It is ARL's copyright that has been challenged and nothing can be settled unless we agree.
"We've not been a party to any discussion. I'm not agreeing to anything."
Graphics have become a key feature of America’s Cup broadcasts and computer graphics pioneer Animation Research has also been prominent in cricket and golf coverage.
Sir Russell’s companies Oracle Racing and SailGP sent ARL and two other parties a legal notice alleging copyright infringement just before Christmas over graphics known as the Augmented Reality LiveLine system.
The companies led by Sir Russell threatened court action if the graphics were used in broadcasting the 36th America's Cup.
Sir Russell, also from Dunedin, said he wanted to "safeguard the IP that we invested millions of dollars to develop over the last decade".
The dispute was about graphics showing a fixed border defining the race course, parallel lines that help viewers interpret the progress of the rival boats and sponsorship names on course borders.
Sir Ian said Sir Russell’s companies were asserting copyright based on imagery ARL created in 1992 and which had been used in every America’s Cup since.
That included when Sir Russell skippered Team New Zealand to victory in 1995.
Sir Ian said he did not believe a ribbon effect on the water with writing on it could be subject to copyright.
"We have introduced our 3-D panels that rise vertically out of the water, which we can rotate if we want, to make sure that the sponsors’ brands are fully optimised. This is new, so will be an original work by ARL."
Sir Ian said he had received a lot of support and offers of help to fight any case.
He said his company had spent about $500,000 developing the graphics.
The action on the water continues today.
— Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald