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America’s Cup billionaire battle continues

After a lower court originally ruled in favor of Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing syndicate as holding the “Deed of Gift,” the document that governs America’s Cup protocol, an appeals court overruled the decision in favor of rival Swiss syndicate, Alinghi, the two-time reigning America’s Cup defender owned by Ernesto Bertarelli, according to

Ellison is now looking at his options to appeal this decision, which will take another six months, dragging an already interminable case farther into the future. The argument all along has been that Club Nautico Espanol De Vela (CNEV), Alinghi’s home club in Spain, cannot hold the Deed of Gift because of the requirement that the club organize an annual regatta. Bertarelli’s side argued that the group states clearly in its articles of incorporation that it “plans” to run annual regattas in the future.

The appeals court determined that the term used in the deed, “having,” was ambiguous and “could mean a future and past action” according to the article. Alinghi was sent away under the obligation they would hold a regatta within the next 12 months to defend the Deed of Gift.

With the appeal looming on Oracle’s side and further court action in the future, the April 2009 date for the 33rdAmerica’s Cup looks less and less likely.

— Elizabeth Ellis