Next Chapter In Battle For Fanatec/Endor: Corsair Already Owns Design Trademarks & Brand (Update)

Porsche-Vision-GT-Show-Car-Wheel.jpeg
Image: Porsche Newsroom
Sim racing hardware manufacturer Fanatec and its parent company Endor have extended the contract of CEO and CRO Andres Ruff. Meanwhile, "strategic investor" Corsair has made its first payment to save the company - and now holds multiple Fanatec design trademarks.

UPDATE JULY 2, 2024, 15:00 UTC

In addition to the number of design trademarks mentioned in the original article, Corsair also owns the Fanatec brand according to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The change has occurred on May 31, 2024.

This appears to be part of the restructuring strategy, with the trademarks and brand ownership acting as security for the payments made by Corsair. Upon request, OverTake received the following statement from the US hardware manufacturer:

"We have made several loans to Endor AG as part of our Rescue package for the company. This is all part of the restructuring process to get Endor back as a profitable entity. We have taken various collateral against the loans, part of which is certain IP and trademarks."

We have also requested a statement from Fanatec and will add it to this article once we receive a reply.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE JULY 1, 2024, 16:20 UTC

A key figure in the restructuring of Fanatec and its parent company Endor AG stays with the company: Appointed in April, Andres Ruff will continue in his role as CEO and CRO (Chief Restructuring Officer) of the Landshut-based company. The extended contract ends on September 30, 2024. Ruff followed Founder Thomas Jackermeier, who was dismissed from his role to fulfill "a key condition set by the lending banks for the extension of the standstill agreement until June 30, 2024". Said standstill agreement had recently been extended again as well.

"I am confident that, together with our partners, we will secure the continuation of Endor AG at the Landshut site and put the company back on sustainable path with structurally healthy growth", stated Ruff.

Since Ruff's appointment, the restructuring of the company has made progress according to Endor press releases, with US hardware giant Corsair taking on the role of "strategic investor". The plan is for Corsair to provide emergency funding in "tranches" to keep Endor from going insolvent. Eventually, it also sees Corsair take over Endor/Fanatec as a debt-free company.

Fanatec-Founder-Thomas-Jackermeier.jpg

Fanatec Founder Thomas Jackermeier.

Meanwhile, a string of comments supposedly made by Jackermeier has surfaced on the German Wallstreet Online forums. The posts go into detail about the Jackermeier's dismissal and harshly criticize the planned takeover and numerous staff who are supposedly involved. Allegedly, Corsair had tried to acquire Fanatec as early as 2022. The posts also make serious accusations towards the current management of Endor.

Whether or not the posts have indeed been made by Jackermeier himself is not clear yet. We are working on veryfing the authenticity of the posts.

StaRUG Procedure Initiated In June​

Furthermore, the procedure agreed upon by Endor and Corsair has started, making use of the so-called StaRUG, a German law that allows companies to restructure and stabilize themselves before being bankrupt. Essentially, a company making use of this procedure can set up their own rescue plan and include select debtors instead of all of them, like insolvency proceedings would include.

The StaRUG procedure has been initiated in early June and is pending approval by the Restructuring Court in Munich. Part of the restructuring plan "includes a partial waiver by the banks and a complete capital reduction, which would lead to current shareholders leaving the company without compensation and to the Endor AG shares delisting from the Open Market".

Corsair provides €4 million - and owns design trademarks?​

Corsair is also part of the restructuring plan, as mentioned above. The company has made the first of the assured payment "tranches" over €4 million in its first bid to stabilize Endor. According to the press release announcing this payment, this provides "financial leeway to effectively implement the ongoing restructuring measures and will make a decisive contribution to securing the company's operational stability and driving forward the reorganisation measures".

Meanwhile, Corsair has apparently acquired several of Fanatec's design trademarks, according to the German Patent and Trademark Office. This includes both the QR1 and QR2 designs, as well as the ClubSport DD+ and CSL DD wheel bases, the Podium Button Module Endurance, and several more.

The change in ownership of these design trademarks has taken place in May of 2024, according to the documentation on the individual designs' entries.

Perhaps most interestingly, the design for what looks to be the Porsche Vision GT steering wheel is also among them. While never announced by Fanatec, the wheel does feature the same connection pin pattern on the back as other Fanatec wheels, and the manufacturer has partnered with Polyphony Digital and PlayStation Studios since 2021, resulting in the Gran Turismo DD Extreme and Gran Turismo DD Pro bundles.

Porsche Vision GT Steering Wheel​

All business aspects aside, this also means that a Porsche Vision GT steering wheel should see the light of day for sim racers eventually. Being a VGT car, it is a virtual vehicle only, aside from a show car that Porsche presented at GamesCom in 2022.

The VGT's steering wheel looks futuristic, but not unrealistically so. However, the virtual version's eye-catcher in the cockpit is the holographic dashboard, which had been substituted by a plexiglass version for the show car.

Porsche-Vision-GT-Cockpit-Gran-Turismo-7.jpgPorsche-Vision-GT-Wheel-Fanatec-Corsair.jpg
The in-game steering wheel of the Porsche Vision GT in GT7 (left) and the show car's version. Images: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Polyphony Digital / Porsche Newsroom

Renders of the actual Porsche Vision GT Sim Racing wheel are available with the patent. It features at least eight buttons, four thumb encoders, two rotary switches and what looks like the usual Fanatec setup of a joystick and Funky Switch. On the back, the render shows two shifter paddles, but no analog clutch paddles.

Could there be more to come, though? The wheel itself does not have a display, but the aforementioned HUD could make for an interesting accessory - even as the plexiglass version that the show car featured.

Porsche-Vision-GT-Patent-Render.jpg

A render of the supposed Porsche Vision GT sim racing wheel included with the patent filing. Image: Fanatec/Corsair/DPMA

The Porsche Vision GT was announced for Gran Turismo 7 in late 2021 after originally being set to appear in Gran Turismo Sport already. The fully electric car features a maximum power output of 1,098 bhp and even got a roof-less variant added to GT7 via update 1.23 in September of 2022.

What do you make of the lates news surrounding Endor AG and Fanatec? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Unless there is something that is not being explained for those like me who don't understand, this sounds like outright stealing.
 
To be honest Jackermeier is coming across as rather whiny and paranoid in these series of posts from - https://www.wallstreet-online.de/tools/postingfilter#in:all;u:888423 . Possibly understandably given what he has, or is about to, lose

However something stood out to me:
Anscheinend ist Carlos sehr kooperationswillig und die gesamte Produktroadmap der nächsten Jahre schon in den Händen von Corsair ohne dass das endgültige Committment zu investieren vorliegt. Bislang gibt es ja nur einen Kreditvertrag und sonst gar nichts. Wen Corsair jetzt aussteigt haben sie die Marke und das gesamte Know-how der Firma bereits abgezogen.

This would imply that Corsair has not bought Fanatec as such, at least so far, but has acquired the brand name and the intellectual property. This would be a smart move on Corsair's part as it would absolve them from the financial burden of unfulfilled orders, and any warranty claims.

That said if Corsair was to do this then it would permanently damage the Fanatec brand, but given the recent shenanigans they may consider the Fanatec brand permanently damaged anyway, and simply wish to acquire the IP.
 
People including a certain Youtuber knew they were investing in a company near bankruptcy. When a company actually goes bankrupt you're not guaranteed anything, this is just an alternate version of that process.
IMO there is a distinct difference between owning company shares that have zero value and having those shares outright taken from you against your will.

If I came into your house and said…
I'm going to take your prior wheelbase and pedals you have sitting over in the corner. You haven't used them in [x] years so they obviously have no value to you. I'm just going to take them.
I bet you wouldn't like that, would you? Those items are your old wheelbase and pedals that you spent your money on. Maybe you'll try to sell them when you have time. Maybe you'll put them on a rig for your kid. Maybe you'll try to fix what might be wrong with them as a hobby repair project. In other words, there may be value to those items in the future or there very well may not be. The point is you paid for those items. You own them. You should get to decide what happens to those items, not me.
 
IMO there is a distinct difference between owning company shares that have zero value and having those shares
That's exactly what I'm not comfortable with. And not because of said YouTuber, I have no sympathy for him.
 
Honestly be better for everyone if these businesses went belly up, then only the best would survive and we would be buying the best products. Just like sim/game developers. Products that would survive not be "Planned obsolescence" in a few yrs maybe a decade at most.
 
Honestly be better for everyone if these businesses went belly up, then only the best would survive and we would be buying the best products. Just like sim/game developers. Products that would survive not be "Planned obsolescence" in a few yrs maybe a decade at most.
unfortunately that does not work.
The best do not have the best prices.
the best will die, because they are the expensivest and the cheap ones, in price and quality, will flood the market.
Corsair, btw, does not belong to the "best" ;) we will see more plastic if they win
 
unfortunately that does not work.
The best do not have the best prices.
the best will die, because they are the expensivest and the cheap ones, in price and quality, will flood the market.
Corsair, btw, does not belong to the "best" ;) we will see more plastic if they win
I don't think there is an IF here.
 
I know I should be commenting on the Fanatec saga, but it kills me how many made-up titles there are at the top of the corporate food chain.

CEO
CFO
COO
CIO
CISO
CLO
CMO
CPO
CDO
CTO

Now we have CRO(Chief Restructuring Officer). No wonder companies die ugly deaths.
 
I feel sorry for Thomas J,it is his company that he has built into the biggest supplier of sim racing equipment.I have been in a similar position with my Fathers company back in the 1990s.Its horrible having to sit back and watch others pick over what you have created.Unfortunately the moment you borrow money from banks to finance stock,expansion,buildings there is a possibility that you can lose control of your company to the banks.
Where I dont have sympathy is that Fanatec never had adequate finance for the stock.Customers were financing the stock,otherwise you would have ordered your wheel,they would have packed it and it would have arrived in 2-3 days as per a regular Amazon order.They would have been a much better company if they had charged people when the order was dispatched or delivered.If you have the customers money there is much less incentive to send the order out.
 
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I feel sorry for Thomas J,it is his company that he has built into the biggest supplier of sim racing equipment.I have been in a similar position with my Fathers company back in the 1990s.Its horrible having to sit back and watch others pick over what you have created.Unfortunately the moment you borrow money from banks to finance stock,expansion,buildings there is a possibility that you can lose control of your company to the banks.
Where I dont have sympathy is that Fanatec never had adequate finance for the stock.Customers were financing the stock,otherwise you would have ordered your wheel,they would have packed it and it would have arrived in 2-3 days as per a regular Amazon order.They would have been a much better company if they had charged people when the order was dispatched or delivered.If you have the customers money there is much less incentive to send the order out.
that is exactly whi I have never ordered from them, post brexit & covid, paying up front for something that could take weeks or even months to arrive is not something I have the luxury of affording. Still seeing posts of folk not receiving orders, warranty claims unanswered.... **** show of the highest order and possibly unrecoverable from a customer trust perspective.
 
I got out of the fanatec system about 4 months ago purely because I was disgusted with their operations. I have absolutely zero sympathy for them and if they go belly up then so be it. If the owners actually ran it like a business rather than the local clown show then they would not be in the situation they are in. You reap what you sow.
 
Premium
I know I should be commenting on the Fanatec saga, but it kills me how many made-up titles there are at the top of the corporate food chain.

CEO
CFO
COO
CIO
CISO
CLO
CMO
CPO
CDO
CTO

Now we have CRO(Chief Restructuring Officer). No wonder companies die ugly deaths.
this post reads like a LinkedIn page :)
 
Premium
I feel sorry for Thomas J,it is his company that he has built into the biggest supplier of sim racing equipment.I have been in a similar position with my Fathers company back in the 1990s.Its horrible having to sit back and watch others pick over what you have created.Unfortunately the moment you borrow money from banks to finance stock,expansion,buildings there is a possibility that you can lose control of your company to the banks.
Where I dont have sympathy is that Fanatec never had adequate finance for the stock.Customers were financing the stock,otherwise you would have ordered your wheel,they would have packed it and it would have arrived in 2-3 days as per a regular Amazon order.They would have been a much better company if they had charged people when the order was dispatched or delivered.If you have the customers money there is much less incentive to send the order out.
Don't feel sorry for Thomas J, He was the founder, CEO and majority share holder and ran the company into the ground. The guy might of had vision but not very good at running a company from a business standpoint.
 
OverTake
Premium
Porsche reports on unannounced Porsche wheel it magically found the documents for... yeh, okay, sure.
While I understand where that could be coming from, it just isn´t the reality. Such a steering wheel gets licensed by Porsche AG, the company, while we are a standalone company (OverTake GmbH) that is owned by Porsche.

We have our own office and do everything by ourselves, so it´s not like we know what new Porsche car will be released next or what other deals they make regarding the Porsche Brand (which there are plenty of). So we heard about this the same way others did, we saw it listed in those public platforms.

On top of that, there are rules/regulations/laws regarding data protection, deals, NDAs etc.
So we have to do the same hard work as anyone else to find information haha
 
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Premium
On top of that, there are rules/regulations/laws regarding data protection, deals, NDAs etc.
But we also know that people dont care about these kind of things alot of times

Anyway I do agree with the first part because i also found it curious and thought: Wait, OT is part of Porsche

And good to hear you take this seriously.
I am just happy that i have started to look away from Fanatec and at the Simagic A U for my upgrade
 
Is it remotely safe to buy a Fanatec product from them at this point? I've still not got a direct drive wheel but given them my money doesn't seem like a good idea?
 

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