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Scratching your head over terms like “breach of IP rights” and “interim injunction”? A dispute resolution lawyer breaks down the Kaws: Holiday legal issue for us

Yesterday, the organisers of the much-hyped Kaws: Holiday showcase in Singapore were served an interim injunction by The Ryan Foundation to stop the exhibition from continuing, citing breach of intellectual property rights and breach of confidence.

The court order required organiser AllRightsReserved (ARR) to immediately stop the exhibition, which was supposed to take place from November 13 to 21, to stop of the sale and distribution of merchandise related to the exhibition, and to cease all advertising and publicity of the event, according to court documents viewed by Tatler Singapore.

In case you missed it: “Their Accusation Is Baseless”: Kaws Speaks Out About Kaws: Holiday Exhibition Court Order

As of 1.20am, the organisers have announced that the artwork venue—The Float at Marina Bay—is temporarily closed as they seek “urgent legal advice” and “apply to court to challenge the prohibitory injunction order.”

To understand the case better, we reached out to a dispute resolution lawyer, Cephas Yee, partner at Aquinas Law Alliance LLP, to explain what exactly this injunction means and if the Kaws: Holiday show can go on.

Read more: Kaws: Holiday in Singapore: Everything You Need to Know About the Ongoing Drama

Can you give an explanation of what this court injunction by The Ryan Foundation means?

Cephas Yee (CY): An interim injunction is an order from the court stopping one party from doing something while proceedings are ongoing. The party that seeks such relief has to show that amongst other things, it would be in the balance of convenience for such an injunction to be granted. If you do not comply, it can amount to contempt of court.

In this case, it appears that The Ryan Foundation has brought an action against ARR for, amongst other things, intellectual property infringements.

What are the organisers required to do now?

CY: In obtaining the injunction, it seems as though The Ryan Foundation is arguing that the exhibition infringes on their intellectual property rights, and so it is in the balance of convenience for the exhibition to be stopped now while the suit between them and ARR continues.

Do the organisers have any recourse?

CY: ARR has the right to challenge the injunction in court. They would have to demonstrate that amongst other things, it is not in the balance of convenience for the exhibition to be stopped.

Does this mean AllRightsReserved has to stop the Kaws: Holiday exhibition immediately?

CY: Based on what the court order says, ARR has to stop immediately.

Is it illegal for a member of the public to have visited the exhibition after the injunction was served?

CY: Injunctions only apply to parties that the court order is addressed to. It is not illegal for a member of the public to visit the exhibition.

As of today, the artwork venue—The Float at Marina Bay—is temporarily closed.

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