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Legal Updates

Legal Updates for June 2017

Intellectual Property Case Updates – Malaysia
This issue of Intellectual Property Case Updates provides case notes on some recent Malaysian cases on intellectual property.

In Liwayway Marketing Corporation v Oishi Group Public Co Ltd, the Federal Court held that in trade mark cancellation proceedings based on non-use, there was no burden on registered proprietor to prove use until and unless a prima facie case of non-use has been established by the applicant for cancellation.

The High Court in Louis Vuitton Malletier v Renown Incorporated discussed the issue of whether cause papers for legal proceedings instituted under the Trade Marks Act 1976 could be validly served on a registered proprietor who does not reside or carry on business in Malaysia by serving the documents on the local address given to the Registrar of Trade Marks which is the address of the local trade mark agent of the registered proprietor. The Court opined that it would be sufficient for the cause papers to be served on the local address that was given to the Registrar.

Finally, in Chanel v. Melwani2 International Sdn Bhd, Lachmandas Ishwarlal Melwani & Ang Chong Leng, it was held that an individual may be personally liable for a company’s infringement of a registered trade mark under the Trade Marks Act 1976.

Criteria for Removal of Liquidators
When a company enters into liquidation, control of the company's operations shifts into the hands of the appointed liquidators. In Petroships Investment Pte Ltd v Wealthplus Pte Ltd (in members' voluntary liquidation) (Koh Brothers Building & Civil Engineering Contractor (Pte) Ltd and another, interveners) [2017] SGHC 122, the High Court examined the circumstances in which it would order liquidators to be removed from their positions. Here, the application to remove the company's liquidators was successfully opposed by the majority shareholders, represented by Chandra Mohan Rethnam of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Trusts over Shares: Rights of Trustees and Beneficiaries
Trusts over company shares are potentially complex, particularly where disputes or probate issues come into play. This was the case in Fong Wai Lyn Carolyn v Kao Chai-Chau Linda and others [2017] SGHC 111, where the Singapore High Court had to consider issues involving the rights of the trustee and beneficiaries. The beneficiary was successfully represented in this application by Ms. Kee Lay Lian of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

Amendments on Laws on Insolvency and Debt Restructuring Come into Force
Singapore's insolvency infrastructure has been the subject of review in recent years. After changes to the Bankruptcy Act in 2016, the debt restructuring and corporate rescue framework was set to undergo reform through amendments to the Companies Act. This much-anticipated reform has since been implemented, as the Companies (Amendment) Act 2017 came into force on 23 May 2017. This Update looks at the key features of the amendments which have come into force.

Re-affirming the High Threshold for “Unconscionability” in the Context of Resisting Payment for On-Demand Bonds
On-demand bonds provide an important degree of certainty in commercial arrangements. Upon demand, the beneficiary of the bond is able to receive payment of a sum not exceeding the bond amount. In Tactic Engineering Pte Ltd (in liquidation) v Sato Kogyo (S) Pte Ltd [2017] SGHC 103, the Singapore High Court affirmed that beneficiaries will not easily be prevented from calling on on-demand bonds. While the issuer may resist payment on grounds of unconscionability, proving such unconscionability continues to be challenging.

Surplus in Insolvency: Key Observations from the UK Supreme Court’s "Waterfall I" Decision – A Singapore Perspective
On 17 May 2017, the UK Supreme Court handed down its judgment in, what is commonly referred to as, the Lehman "Waterfall I" proceedings, in relation to issues arising out of an estimated £8 billion surplus in the estate of Lehman Brothers International (Europe). The judgment addresses various novel issues arising from a surplus in an insolvency, and had been keenly awaited by both insolvency practitioners and the financial services industry alike.

Sentence Lowered in Novel Case of Director Liability for Company’s Money Laundering
Abdul Ghani bin Tahir v Public Prosecutor [2017] SGHC 125 is a landmark case regarding directors' liability for money laundering offences committed through a company's bank accounts. This appeal to the High Court saw the imprisonment term on the Defendant director reduced by more than half. In doing so, the Court set out sentencing guidelines for the relevant offences. The Defendant's appeal to the High Court was represented by Hamidul Haq and Ho Jun Yi of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.

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