May 5, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Jonathan Kok quoted in The Straits Times

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Intellectual Property and Technology Practice, Jonathan Kok, was quoted in The Straits Times article titled “No 'fast lane' fees to Singapore telcos: Netflix” The article was first published in The Straits Times on 4 May 2016.      No 'fast lane' fees to Singapore telcos: Netflix Netflix did not pay fees to Singtel or StarHub for faster access to their broadband customers despite paying ISPs in the United States Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd Date: 4 May 2016 Author: Irene Tham Netflix has said that it did not pay any fees to local telcos for smoother streaming to Internet users here, marking a prominent victory for proponents of a democratic Internet in Singapore and globally. In an interview with The Straits Times last week, Netflix chief Reed Hastings was asked if the United States video-streaming giant had paid fees to Singtel or StarHub. His reply: "No." This is despite two calls made by Singtel chief executive officer Chua Sock Koong over the past two years that telcos should be allowed to charge major Internet content providers - like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube - for consumers to have faster access to their content. "We are big believers in Net neutrality and the open Internet," said Mr Hastings, who was here to meet local employees. In the United States, however, Netflix signed a multi-year deal paying Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and AT&T for faster access to their broadband customers. The deals were cited by Ms Chua to justify her argument. Ms Chua's call stemmed from telcos losing voice and messaging business to Internet services like WhatsApp, which get away with not paying for using telcos' infrastructure. These deals go against the idea of a democratic or neutral Internet where every online content provider is treated equally by ISPs. This means no "fast lanes" for content providers that pay extra for prioritisation, or the blocking and "throttling" - or slowing down - of lawful content and services. Without neutrality, it is feared that consumers could end up having to pay more to access the Internet. ISPs could, say, package services sold to consumers and charge different fees. A basic service would give access to just e-mail and social networks. "Premium" might let consumers stream videos and music, while "Super Premium" would allow downloads. While the Federal Communications Commission in the US last year approved rules in favour of protecting Net neutrality, carriers in Singapore are allowed to sell fast lanes to content providers. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) also does not ban throttling outright, but requires ISPs to ensure that user access to legitimate websites does not slow down to the point where online services become "unusable". Proponents of a neutral Internet are urging the local authorities to regulate the space to prevent small companies from being penalised when ISPs sell fast lanes. "When telcos are allowed to create fast lanes, it creates an unlevel playing field. Smaller players will not be able to negotiate and will end up paying," said Mr Benjamin Tan, managing director of SuperInternet. If the local authorities don't step in, "gangsters will rule", he said. Technology lawyer Jonathan Kok, partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, said that even if various charging schemes are allowed, there must be regulatory oversight to prevent discrimination. "Telcos should not be allowed to charge WhatsApp a high fee as it is deemed to be a competitor," he said. Separately, Netflix also said it has struck "peering" agreements with both Singtel and StarHub for the free exchange of Internet traffic between their servers. But peering is not the norm here, with local toll charges costing two to three times more than international ones. Industry regulator IDA had proposed in a consultation paper - released in February last year (2015) but now closed - that regulation was not necessary as there had been "no evidence" of market failure, such as the abuse of dominance by Singtel or StarHub. Consumers also do not suffer due to these payment arrangements. IDA has yet to issue its decision.
May 4, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Private Wealth Practice Tan Choon Leng featured in The Edge Singapore article titled “Spotlight on Shadowy Money”

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Private Wealth Practice Tan Choon Leng was featured in The Edge Singapore article titled “Spotlight on Shadowy Money”. The article discussed about the Panama Papers leak which involved many country leaders and well known celebrities. It also highlighted the current trend of corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and offshore tax havens. Such cases have garnered a strong public interest and have made many headlines in the media. Choon Leng gave his opinion on how to overcome and manage the risks involved in investments made with offshore companies. He commented that, “For some transactions, good planning can make the difference between a profitable and non-profitable investment.” The full article dated Monday 2 May 2016, can be found in The Edge Singapore.
May 3, 2016

Leading Singapore law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing announces appointment of Senior Counsel, Roderick Martin, as head of the firm’s growing Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice

The 6th largest law firm in Singapore, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, today announced the appointment of distinguished legal practitioner Senior Counsel, Roderick Martin, as head of its Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice. Mr Martin, who was from Singapore law firm Martin & Partners, is appointed as Senior Partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing with effect from today. Mr Martin boasts a stellar legal career, having joined the Singapore legal service in 1972. He served eight years as a Registrar of the Supreme Court from 1978 to 1986, after which he joined the private practice. In his private practice capacity at Martin & Partners, he focused mainly on civil litigation, loan and security documentation including conveyancing, liquidations and receiverships as well as admiralty and shipping. On the appointment of Mr Martin, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner, Tan Chong Huat, explains, “I am delighted that Roderick has chosen to join us. His addition to the RHT family is a powerful testament to the strength of our litigation and dispute resolution capabilities in Singapore and the region. Our clients face an increasingly complex and global market. Roderick’s extensive experience meshes nicely with our global platform and the needs of our clients. As a Senior Counsel, Roderick has unparalleled depth of expertise and strategic connections in the legal community, having built up more than four decades of experience. With Roderick helming our Litigation & Dispute Resolution team, I am confident that he will greatly enhance our existing lawyer bench strength with his unique insights, fresh perspectives and valuable mentorship of the younger lawyers.” Commenting on his appointment, Mr Martin shares, “I am deeply honoured and excited to join RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, a firm that has over the span of five short years developed into a leading law firm in Singapore. I look forward to working with my extremely capable colleagues at the firm and imparting the things I have learnt in my many years of legal experience. I share the firm’s ambitions to deliver intelligent legal solutions with the added perspective and expertise of an international law firm. This is an incredibly exciting time to be at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing as it is a period of transformational growth and I hope to both consolidate and build upon that in the future."   As head of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution team, Mr Martin will be supported by Deputy Head of Practice, Mr Nandakumar Renganathan, as well as a team of senior consultants and partners. Mr Martin graduated from the University of Singapore with an LLB (Hons) (Second Class Upper) degree in 1972. He was appointed Senior Counsel in January 2011.
April 21, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing participating in Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce Breakfast Briefing – ‘Legal Action and Enforcement in Singapore for Debt Recovery Claims’

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Partners Vernon Voon and Patrick Dahm will be speaking at a Breakfast Briefing organised by the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC) titled 'Legal Action and Enforcement in Singapore for Debt Recovery Claims' on 24 May 2016 at Orchard Hotel. The SGC is one of the largest National Business Chambers of Europe in Singapore. This briefing will cover issues regarding the legal enforcement regime in Singapore to recover debts and what you can do to protect yourself from recalcitrant debtors. Given today’s slowing global economic conditions and political uncertainties, companies need to keep abreast of their cashflow situation and know what systems there are to put in place to recover their account receivables. To find out more about the event and to register, please click here.