Hafiz Zubir & Co.

A Bowl of Rice [Case Review: Syarikat Faiza Sdn Bhd & Anor v. Faiz Rice Sdn Bhd & Anor]

The High Court here recently ordered manufacturer, distributor and rice retailer company, Faiz Rice Sdn Bhd to pay RM 4,160,000 in damages to Syarikat Faiza Sdn Bhd for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit concerns on copyright and trademark infringement and unauthorised intervention in business between Syarikat Faiza Sdn. Bhd. and Faiza Bawumi Binti Sayed Ahmad (“the Plaintiffs”) and Faiz Rice Sdn. Bhd and Fikri Bin Abu Bakar (“the Defendants”). It is one of the intriguing lawsuits as the dispute involves a mother and her son.

The Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendants infringed the copyright and trademark of the rice packing, passing off the goods by using their trade name as well as unlawful intervention in their business.

Plaintiffs also claimed that the Defendants infringed the copyright of the Faiza TM logo and unlawfully interfered with her trading business by infringing on the copyright of the logo.

A visual examination of the marks used by the Defendants (“FAIZ”, “FAIZ EMAS”, “MUGHAL”, “FAIZ RICE FOR HEALTH”) shows striking similarities with the Plaintiff’s marks (“FAIZA”, “FAIZA EMAS”, “MOGHUL”, “FAIZA RICE FOR LIFE”). At a glance, consumers and retailers are likely to be deceived or confused between Plaintiff’s mark and Defendant’s mark.

Based on the evidence, the Court held that the Defendants are liable to the Plaintiffs for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, the tort of passing off and the tort of unlawful interference with the First Plaintiff’s business.

Apart from the compensatory damages, the Plaintiffs are entitled to exemplary damages as the Defendants’ conduct in this matter had been calculated by them to make a profit. The Court also awarded aggravated damages as the Court held that there is malice and bad faith on the part of Defendants.

This case illustrates the consequences of infringing a trademark or copyright and the importance of protecting any intellectual property, thus one should take all steps to secure their rights before investing or trading.

Link: Ground of Judgement for Syarikat Faiza Sdn Bhd & Anor. v Faiz Rice Sdn Bhd & Anor. [2017] 1 LNS 1648 

Leave a Reply