Tealive v Chatime case set for Feb next year

MURNI WAN OMAR

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here on Monday fixed Feb 28 next year for the hearing of a defamation suit by Loob Holdings Sdn Bhd, the brand owner of bubble tea company Tealive, against Chatime Malaysia Sdn Bhd and two others.

Judicial Commissioner Darryl Goon Siew Chye set the date after meeting the counsels in chambers last week.

Last Friday, the court had rejected an application by Chatime and its two directors to cancel the suit. The court had decided that the suit would proceed to hearing.

The media obtained the writ documents and statement of claim on Monday.

On April 16, Loob, serving as the plaintiff, had filed the suit against Chatime and two of its directors Widayu Abdul Latiff, 40, and Nor Aliza Ali, 34.

Based on the writ and statement of claim, the plaintiff is the primary franchise holder of the bubble tea business known as Chatime from 2011 to 2017.

Under the franchise agreement between the plaintiff and La Kaffa International Co Ltd, they were permitted, among others, to sell Chatime products, use the logo and the franchise system as well as own, expand, manage and run the outlets.

Following a series of disagreements between the plaintiff and La Kaffa concerning the Chatime franchise, La Kaffa, via a notice to initiate proceedings against the plaintiff in Singapore in 2016.

On January 5, La Kaffas served a notice of termination to Loob in its bid to end their franchise agreement.

The plaintiff, via its letter to La Kaffa on Jan 19, 2017, said it was of the view that La Kaffa’s actions were a direct repudiation which breaches the franchise agreement.

In the franchise agreement, the plaintiff is given 45 days to fulfil its duties and exit the business in using the Chatime brand.

On Feb 18, 2017, the plaintiff exited the franchise and started its own business under the Tealive name.

To date, the plaintiff is conducting nine different food and beverage businesses, including Tealive.

On March 15, 2018, the plaintiff received a letter of demand from the demand, which among others stated that the defendant was a franchise holder in Malaysia for the Chatime brand and trademark.

The defendant was alleged to have issued a press statement titled ‘‘Chatime Malaysia Issues Legal Letter to Tealive’, with a press conference held on March 16.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s statement was defamatory in nature and subsequently published by the media.

The plaintiff also claimed that as a result of the publication, their credibility and reputation were affected.

As such, the plaintiff is demanding a written apology from each defendant, which should be published in English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers, as well as an injunction to prevent all defendants from repeating their defamatory statements in any form.

The plaintiff also applied for general damages, cost and other relief deemed appropriate. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd