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Would a technical compliance of a court order suffice to discharge oneโ€™s obligations under the order?

We represented the plaintiff In ๐’๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐š๐ข ๐€๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ž ๐…๐จ๐จ๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐Œ๐š๐ง๐š๐ ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐‚๐จ ๐‹๐ญ๐ ๐ฏ ๐“๐š๐ง ๐’๐ฐ๐ž๐ž ๐Œ๐ž๐ง๐  ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ [๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ] ๐’๐†๐‡๐‚ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ—, where the Singapore High Court answered the question in the negative. In the case, the plaintiff and the defendants were in the food and beverage business. We successfully assisted the plaintiff to obtain an order of contempt against the defendants for the latterโ€™s failure to comply with the substance / spirit of several court orders. The court orders required, among other things, the defendants to cease using the plaintiffโ€™s drink recipes and confidential information, such as product standards and design, branding, store get-up and design, staff training, and store operations.

In an attempt to comply with the court orders, the defendants made minor changes to their drink recipes but the main ingredients of the beverages were substantially the same as the plaintiffโ€™s drink recipes. In finding that the defendants failed to comply with the court orders, the Singapore High Court noted that it would undermine โ€œthe spirit of the [court orders] to allow the defendants to use the substance of the recipes but make only minor changes to โ€˜technicallyโ€™ comply with the [court orders]โ€.

This case shows that the Singapore courts would adopt a substance over form approach when determining whether a party has complied with court orders. You can read the case at

If you find yourself in a similar situation, please feel free to contact our team at Coleman Street Chambers LLC to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.

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