Elan Impex (Singapore) Pte Ltd and Another v Daewoo Corporation and Others

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeKan Ting Chiu J
Judgment Date08 February 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGHC 20
Citation[2003] SGHC 20
Defendant CounselPhilip Jeyaretnam, SC and Goh Peng Fong (Rodyk & Davidson),Anil M Changaroth (Lim & Lim)
Published date07 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselN Sreenivasan and Bal Ratanesh Kaur (Straits Law Practice LLC)
Date08 February 2003
Docket NumberSuit No 282 of 2002
Subject MatterStay of proceedings,Civil Procedure,Actions commenced in Singapore and South Africa,Order granting service of writ out of jurisdiction,Whether order should be set aside,Whether Singapore more appropriate forum,Whether action against defendants should be struck out,Service,Striking out

The parties

1 The first plaintiff is a company incorporated in Singapore. The second plaintiff is a South African company and is the first plaintiff’s distribution agent.

2 The first and second defendants are South Korean companies. The second defendant was established in a restructuring of the first defendant.

3 The third defendant is a former employee of the first plaintiff, and the husband of the fourth defendant. They are residents of South Africa.

The three agreements

4 There are three agreements involved in these proceedings:

(i) an agreement dated 18 January 2000 ("the first agreement");

(ii) an agreement dated 23 August 2000 ("the second agreement"); and

(iii) an agreement dated 19 June 2001 ("the third agreement").

The first plaintiff had entered into the first and second agreements with the first defendant. The first agreement was subsequently superseded by the third agreement which was entered into by the first plaintiff and the second defendant.

5 The agreements were licensing agreements which permitted the first plaintiff to use the defendants’ "Daytek" and "Daewoo" names and logos on electrical appliances that the first plaintiff was to purchase on its own and sell. The first plaintiff would pay the defendants royalties based on the value of the appliances purchased.

6 The agreements covered different territories. The second agreement extended over three Asian countries and Australia while the third agreement extended over 12 African countries.

The termination of the agreements

7 The second agreement was terminated by the second defendant by a letter dated 21 December 2001 on the ground of lack of performance.

8 The third agreement was terminated by the second defendant by a letter of 8 February 2002 on the ground that the first plaintiff had failed to pay the full royalties due.

The basis of the claims

9 The plaintiffs instituted the action because they regarded the terminations of the two agreements as wrongful.

10 They claimed that the third defendant had procured and induced the "first and/or second defendant" to breach the agreements with the result that the second defendant breached the agreements.

11 They also claimed that the third and fourth defendants had threatened and intended to continue to procure breaches of the agreements.

Order of Court of 15 March 2002

12 The plaintiffs made ex parte applications for the service of the writ out of jurisdiction and for interim restraining orders against the defendants.

13 On 15 March 2002 the plaintiffs obtained an order to restrain the first and second defendants from granting branding and distribution rights to third parties or to distribute products bearing the Daytek and Daewoo names and logos in the areas covered by the agreements, or to supply such products to those territories, and to restrain them from interfering with the activities of the first plaintiff.

14 The plaintiffs also obtained leave to serve the writ on the first and second defendants in South Korea and on the third and fourth defendants in South Africa.

15 In addition to that Mareva injunctions were obtained against the third and fourth defendants restraining them from disposing of their properties in Singapore.

The defendants’ applications

16 The applications before me were the first and second defendants’ application that (i) the action against the first defendant be struck out, (ii) the order for service on them out of jurisdiction be set aside and (iii) the injunctions against them be discharged. Alternatively they wanted the proceedings against them stayed.

17 The third and fourth defendants applied that (i) the order giving leave to serve the writ on the third defendant be set aside, (ii) the actions against...

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