Alliance Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd v Sim Kay Teck and Another

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeAndrew Ang J
Judgment Date18 July 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] SGHC 124
Citation[2006] SGHC 124
Date30 March 2007
Subject MatterPrevious action struck out on narrow ground concerning party's failure to show chain of title giving party right to commence action,Civil Procedure,Applicable principles,Striking out,Whether commencement of second action precluded on grounds of res judicata or issue estoppel,Court commenting that fresh proceedings may be commenced
Docket NumberSuit No 797 of 2005 (Summonses Nos 5478, 5489, 5531, 5587 and 5757 of 2006),Suit No 797 of 2005 (Summons No 84
Plaintiff CounselWong Siew Hong and Teh Ee-Von (Infinitus Law Corporation)
Published date19 July 2006
Defendant CounselSarbjit Singh and Sarbrinder Singh (Kerta & Co)

18 July 2006

Andrew Ang J:

1 This was an application by the defendants in Suit No 797 of 2005 to strike out the plaintiff’s claim, as embodied in the writ of summons and the statement of claim, under O 18 r 19 of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) on the grounds that:

(a) it discloses no reasonable cause of action;

(b) it is scandalous, frivolous or vexatious;

(c) it may prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial of the action; and/or

(d) it is an abuse of the process of the court; and alternatively, under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Though framed in these wide terms, the bone of contention between the parties was whether the plaintiff, Alliance Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd (“Alliance”), was precluded from bringing this action in Suit No 797 of 2005 by reason of res judicata or issue estoppel. The defendants’ ground for so contending was that the claim in Suit No 978 of 2004 (“Suit 978”) on substantially the same issues had previously been struck out. For a better understanding of this issue, it is necessary to go into the background to ascertain what transpired in regard to Suit 978.

2 In that action, Alliance together with three other parties, namely, Comic Ritz Production Co Ltd (“Comic”), Catalyst Logic Co Ltd (“Catalyst”) and Speedy Video Distributors Sdn Bhd (“Speedy”), brought legal proceedings against the defendants for copyright infringement.

3 By Summons in Chambers No 3032 of 2005 (“SIC 3032/2005”), the defendants sought to strike out the claim in Suit 978 on the ground, inter alia, that Alliance had no title to commence proceedings; it was contended that there was no “chain of title” linking the owner of the copyright with Alliance as sub-licensee of the right to replicate and distribute the film “Meteor Garden 2” (“the Film”) in Singapore. At the hearing of SIC 3032/2005 on 22 July 2005, I allowed an adjournment for the plaintiffs in Suit 978 to file an application to amend the writ and/or pleadings as appropriate with a view to avoiding a striking out.

4 The plaintiffs duly made an application in Summons in Chambers No 4130 of 2005 (“SIC 4130/2005”) to amend the writ of summons and the statement of claim and the same was heard on 6 October 2005 together with the adjourned striking-out application in SIC 3032/2005.

5 In the application for leave to amend, the position taken by Alliance was that it was the exclusive licensee and that by reason of the new s 124 of the Copyright Act (Cap 63, 2006 Rev Ed) it was entitled to maintain the action without the owner of the copyright joining in as plaintiff. The proposed amendments also set out how Alliance derived copyright in the Film, thereby answering the defendants’ objections as to the lack of a “chain of title” to the copyright. I would have allowed the plaintiffs’ application to amend but for the defendants’ contention at the hearing that it appeared that there was more than one sub-licensee of the copyright in Singapore. If that was true, Alliance could not claim to be the exclusive licensee and therefore could not maintain the action on its own. Counsel for the plaintiffs was unable to respond to that contention at the hearing.

6 He therefore sought an adjournment to apply for leave to further amend the writ of summons and statement of claim but I declined to allow the plaintiffs a second bite at the cherry. I disallowed the amendments sought in SIC 4130/2005, adding that, in view of the defendants’ objection as to the apparent lack of exclusivity, the amendments sought would not have sufficed anyway. It was in that context that I said, “They will not save plaintiffs’ case in any event.” However, in refusing to adjourn to allow the plaintiffs to apply for further amendment, I added that proceedings could be instituted afresh. (Although, unfortunately, this was not recorded in the minutes, when I reminded counsel for the defendants of this at the hearing of Summons No 84 of 2006 (“Sum 84/2006”) in this action, he agreed that I had done so. However, he added that he thought I had meant that the proceedings had to be brought afresh in the names of all four plaintiffs. Whilst he may have thought so, in truth I had not thus prefaced or circumscribed my remarks. The application in Sum...

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14 cases
  • Goh Nellie v Goh Lian Teck and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 22 November 2006
    ...... Eighth and ninth defendants in person. . Alliance Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd v Sim Kay Teck [2006] 3 SLR (R) 712; ...If certain clauses were found in one area of the will but not another, this could not readily be dismissed as being without significance, unless ......
  • The ‘Bunga Melati 5’
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    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 21 August 2012
    ...for the respondent. AA V, The [1999] 3 SLR (R) 664; [2001] 1 SLR 207 (refd) Alliance Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd v Sim Kay Teck [2006] 3 SLR (R) 712; [2006] 3 SLR 712 (folld) Armagas Ltd v Mundogas SA [1986] AC 717 (folld) Boris Abramovich Berezovsky v Roman Arkadievich Abramovich [2010......
  • Tjong Very Sumito and others v Chan Sing En and others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 21 June 2012
    ...purchaser for value without notice claiming under the legal owner (Alliance Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd v Sim Kay Teck and another [2007] 2 SLR(R) 869 at [63]). Mr Murugaiyan argues that, for this same reason, Tjong has no standing to sue in relation to Herman’s PT Deefu shares followin......
  • Odex Pte Ltd v Pacific Internet Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
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    ...by the Plaintiff’s counsel.” 18 The DJ was of the view that in Alliance Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd v Sim Kay Teck and another [2007] 2 SLR 869 (“Alliance Entertainment”), Judicial Commissioner Sundaresh Menon had decided that only the copyright owner and an exclusive licensee (under s ......
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