In Singapore's first funded commercial litigation, Omni Bridgeway assists an artist to recover revenue

The situation 

More than a decade ago, a talented interdisciplinary artist and creative designer oversaw the taking of high-quality photographs of a number of luxury hotels for use in marketing and promotional materials provided to the hotels by her design studio. Those images were, without licence or consent of the artist or her studio, subsequently found to have been used on a large number of third-party websites to generate traffic to, and revenue for businesses completely unrelated to the artist’s design studio. Since discovering the copyright in the photographs had been infringed, the artist has tirelessly pursued justice on her and her companies’ behalf, however, having devoted significant time and resources to the pursuit of the claims overseas, the proceedings were stayed and the central question of copyright ownership sent to Singapore. Having invested all of her personal wealth and earnings to seek protection for the works and recover damages for their misuse, the artist found herself facing the threat of bankruptcy at the hands of her adversaries in Singapore and without the financial means to sustain the Singapore or the US proceedings. With nowhere else to turn, she approached Omni Bridgeway for funding.

Our input

Having introduced the artist to specialist IP legal advisers, and completed a comprehensive due diligence process, we are funding all ongoing costs associated with pursuit of the copyright infringement case in the Singapore High Court and costs of the associated US proceedings to be recommenced once the ownership issue is determined in Singapore and the stay is lifted. Drawing on our experienced global team, Investment Managers from Singapore and the US worked through a complex due diligence, amalgamating and synthesizing information and pleadings from multiple jurisdictions, instructing a specialist IP expert to undertake a preliminary damages analysis and considering the impact of Covid-19 on the multiple defendants to the overseas proceedings operating in the hospitality and tourism sectors, to enable assessment of the ultimate enforcement prospects for the artist and her studio once successful. In short, Omni Bridgeway’s funding has provided the artist with a meaningful route to access justice and continue the pursuit of the claims in which she has already personally invested so much.

A first for Singaporean Court litigation funding 

To our knowledge, the case represents the first opportunity for the Singapore Court to consider third party funding of commercial litigation (outside the insolvency context) and re-emphasizes Omni Bridgeway’s pioneering status in the jurisdiction, having previously funded the liquidators of Trikomsel Pte Ltd and Trikomsel Singapore Pte Ltd in the first Singaporean case to permit third-party funding of claims arising out of an insolvency on commercial terms.