Legal news in brief


New Balance TM win

Rouse, a global IP consultancy, together with its associated law firm Lusheng in China, advised New Balance on an intellectual property dispute that won a rare legal victory in China when a civil court in a first instance judgement ordered infringers to pay about US$1.5 million for using the American shoemaker’s signature slanting logo.

The recent judgment from Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court upheld almost all New Balance claims, including an order that the defendants pay damages and legal costs. “Although this sort of decision is still rare, it sends a strong and powerful message that should make it that little bit easier for foreign brands doing business here,” said Carol Wang, the head of Lusheng’s Shanghai litigation team.

Yum, ThaiBev in franchise

Yum Restaurants International Thailand has announced the signing of an asset purchase agreement with the QSR of Asia (QSA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai Beverage (ThaiBev). The initial amount of consideration for the existing KFC stores was about 11.3 billion baht (US$340.5 million), consisting of more than 240 KFC restaurants across Thailand.

The KFC deal team was led by KFC global chief legal officer and general counsel Vinod V Mahboobani. Baker McKenzie in Bangkok led by Sivapong Viriyabusaya and Elisa Lai, acted as legal adviser to Yum Thailand. ThaiBev’s deal team was led by Pornthep Srisa-an of the Quant Group and its legal adviser, Weerawong Chinnavat and Partners, was led by Weerawong Chittmittrapap and Sunyaluck Chaikajornwat.

Partners join Ashurst board

Ashurst partners Karen Davies, James Marshall and Barbara Phair were recently elected to the firm’s board for a term of three years. Marshall is a restructuring, insolvency and special situations partner in Sydney, while Phair is a tax partner in the firm’s Sydney office with expertise in stamp duty, payroll, land tax and GST. Davies is a corporate partner in London advising both corporate clients and investment banks on domestic and cross-border corporate finance transactions.

Kennedys expands Australia presence

Kennedys, a UK law firm with a global network including five new US offices as part of a merger with Carroll McNulty & Kull in May, and an office opening in Mexico City in January, has announced a new office in Melbourne to add to its Sydney operations.

The Melbourne office will be run by Michael Kavanagh, formerly of Lander & Rogers. He will be joined in Melbourne by special counsel Nicholas Blackmore, who will transfer from Kennedys’ Hong Kong office.

Australia signs to convention

UNCITRAL’s Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific announced that Australia has become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the Mauritius convention on transparency). Australia is the 21st state to sign the Mauritius convention on transparency and the first signatory in the Asia-Pacific region. The convention will enter into force on 18 October 2017 after ratification/accession by Canada, Mauritius and Switzerland.

Mayer hires HK litigator

Mayer Brown JSM has hired Alan Linning to join the firm’s Hong Kong office as a partner in its litigation and dispute resolution practice. Linning, previously with Sidley Austin in Hong Kong, focuses on financial services regulatory matters, investigations and proceedings, as well as commercial litigation, in particular for companies defending civil claims and criminal prosecutions brought by various regulatory agencies.

Vietnam adopts NPL trading

Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a resolution establishing a legal framework for a secondary market in non-performing loan (NPL) trading. The new resolution, together with a draft law on credit institutions and a recently revised bankruptcy law, set up forward-looking measures for tackling the issue of NPLs in the financial sector, Mayer Brown JSM observed.

PwC moves to Jakarta

PwC has entered the Indonesian legal market adding Jakarta law firm Melli Darsa & Co (MDC) to its global network. MDC, which was founded in 2002 and comprises five partners and three other legal staff, focuses on corporate and commercial structuring, M&A, employment, and entity governance and compliance work, will continue to operate as a separate independent firm within the PwC network.

Shearman advises on IPO

Shearman & Sterling advised B Grimm Power Public Company Limited (B. Grimm Power) in connection with its US$340 million initial public offering and listing of its shares on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (the SET).

B Grimm Power is a Thailand-based energy company with a focus on the development, construction and operation of greenfield power plants. It is also one of the largest private power producers in Thailand in terms of small power producer operators by installed capacity.

New Focus delists TDRs

Paul Hastings represented Hong Kong-listed New Focus Auto Tech Holdings, a large chain enterprise in China’s automotive after-sales service market, in the delisting of its Taiwan Depositary Receipts (TDRs). The delisting of the TDRs does not affect the listing and trading of the shares of New Focus Auto on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Paul Hastings liaised with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Taiwan Stock Exchange to resolve legal issues involved.

Aussie women rule roost

There are more women than men practising law in Australia, coinciding with a 46% rise in the number of private law firms in the past five years to 15,539, according to a study from the Law Society of NSW.

The study showed that out of 71,509 practising solicitors nationwide in 2016, some 35,799 women accounted for just over half at 50.1%, the first time that women have outnumbered men. The number of women entering Australia’s legal profession was more than double the number of men.

Vedder Price Singapore hire

Vedder Price has recruited Global Transportation Finance (GTF) lawyer Bill Gibson as a Partner in the firm’s Singapore office. Gibson focuses on financing, particularly commercial and corporate aviation finance including cross-border leasing and financing transactions.

In addition to commercial aviation experience, he acts on behalf of financiers and train operating companies in connection with the financing and leasing of rolling stock.

Skadden in bond offer

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Daiwa Capital Markets Europe, JP Morgan and Nomura as underwriters in a US$5 billion offering of government-guaranteed bonds by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation in four tranches due between 2020 and 2027. The transaction was announced on 12 July and priced on 13 July.

The Skadden team included, in Tokyo, partner Kenji Taneda, Asia-Pacific counsel Ken Kiyota and associates Yuko Ozaki, Tomoaki Kuragano and Timothy Morgan (corporate).