Force India's long-running legal dispute with Aerolab, Mike Gascoyne and the Caterham F1 team was settled at the High Court of Justice in London on Wednesday.
The judge ruled that the team had "come nowhere near" establishing that Aerolab had systematically copied significant parts of Force India's design when designing the Team Lotus T127.
Aerolab had previously partnered with Vijay Mallya's squad until late July 2009, when it decided to terminate the contract due to unpaid fees. Caterham, called Lotus Racing at the time the dispute occurred, came on board several days later.
A 14-day hearing was held in the Chancery Division of the London High Court, with a number of experts including Frank Dernie, ex-Ligier technical director who has acted as a consultant for both Williams and Toyota in Formula 1. On the evidence provided, the judge settled in Aerolab's favor the dispute over unpaid fees to the sum of 850,000 euros [$1.1m].
He awarded Force India 25,000 euros [$33,000] in compensation in regard to use of its intellectual property rights, which was deemed to have been done as a short cut.
"Such misuse as I have found to have occurred mainly consisted of opportunistic copying of CAD files by CAD designers in order to take a short cut," the judge added.
Jean-Claude Migeot, Aerolab's managing director, said in a statement he was pleased to have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
"It has taken a long time but I am extremely happy and relieved to see 1Malaysia Racing Team [Caterham F1, then Team Lotus] and Mike Gascoyne cleared of any wrongdoing," he said. "I have always felt that the case was only initiated by Force India as a means to delay payment for outstanding work. With the Court having now examined the often extremely technical aspects of the evidence and come to the decision it has, my viewpoint has not altered.
"After two years of legal dispute, I am looking forward to once again focusing all of my attention on current and future Aerolab/FondTech projects."
A separate hearing will be held to determine the covering of legal costs associated with the trial.