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Restaurant Owner Successfully Enforces Undertaking In Breach Of Confidence Suit In Singapore

A breach of confidential information suit by a restaurant chain in Singapore resulted in a settlement agreement being entered, the breach of which then precipitated a suit that was then settled by both parties by a consent judgment being entered into.

The suit in question was initially brought two years ago by O.B. Singapore Operations, which owns the Fish & Co chain of restaurants. They had sued one Mr. Dickson Low and a company called Manhattan Fish Market (MFM) of which Mr. Low was a director. Both Fish & co and MFM ran seafood restaurants, which served similar Western style seafood in shallow metal pans and both used seafood related slogans such as “Something Fishy” for Fish & Co and “Nothing Fishy About It” for MFM.

The suit went on for trial and went on for hearing for three days in March 2005 when it was then settled with MFM and Mr. Low entering into a settlement agreement with OB Operations which drew the boundaries between the two business. As part of the settlement MFM was to stop using serving pans, sauces, slogans, jingles and words and phrases, which are identical to or confusing to Fish & Co.’s.

However sometime in the middle of 2005, OB Operations discovered that the MFM restaurant at Plaza Singapura in Orchard Road was using identical pans that OB Operations claimed was in breach of the earlier settlement agreement. This breach precipitated a suit by OB Operations against MFM sometime in September 2005.

In December 2006 MFM had decided to settle the said suit and entered into a consent judgment where MFM agreed to change its pans by the end of December 2006 and use completely different sauces from Fish & Co by January 10th of this year. MFM was also ordered to pay costs and damages, which will be assessed by the court at a later date.

This action shows the effectiveness of the Singapore courts in enforcing ,intellectual property rights and that Undertakings entered into by parties have to be taken seriously as any breach can be enforced effectively.