Court backs US firm in dispute

January 12, 2016 | 08:56
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The Hanoi People’s Court has accepted a request made by Realogy Group LLC, for Minh Viet Investment JSC to fulfil its obligation to Realogy in accordance with a foreign arbitral award judgement.

The court, following the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards under the New York Convention of 1958, has also ruled that Minh Viet has forgone its right to appeal, and decided that Minh Viet and its representative Edward Chi had to act upon the results of the awards made by London-based JAMS International, which would help to meet a need for dispute resolution.

Minh Viet Investment JSC, headquartered in An Khanh commune in the suburb district of Hoai Duc in Hanoi, has company chairman Chi registered as its legal representative. Despite the court’s summons, Chi was reported absent without reason in the second hearing, which took place on Monday, December 21.

The US-backed residential real estate services provider Realogy Group LLC owns several international brands, including Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. On November 1, 2012, Minh Viet negotiated with Realogy for the exclusive rights to utilise the Coldwell Banker brand in Vietnam within a period ending June 13, 2013. Minh Viet was then responsible for settling the copyright fees with Realogy.

On January 1, 2013, Chi signed a guarantee note committing to reimburse any payable obligations under the above contract. However, due to a number of disputes, on February 27, 2013, Realogy submitted a lawsuit against Minh Viet to JAMS International.

Seven months later, the arbitrator issued a ruling. In response, on February 25, 2014 Realogy called for the Hanoi People’s Court to enforce the foreign arbitral awards, claiming outstanding payments and late payment fees adding up to $279,400. Including legal and other related fees, the amount claimed by Realogy comes to $559,829.

In its formal request, Realogy specifically asked that Minh Viet and Chi, as the company’s legal representative, carry out its obligation to them. Realogy also requested a permanent injunction forbidding Minh Viet and its partners to use their trademarks or the Coldwell Banker name in any form, including for marketing, promotion, or internet trading purposes.

The dispute has lasted for years, and Realogy has noted that the local company continually avoided or ignored the dispute process.

Realogy’s representative stressed that their company was reputable and wished to carry out business legitimately in Vietnam, as well as seek reliable local partners to expand their services. Although Realogy had trusted Minh Viet, the company did not fulfil its contract. According to the US-based company, the local court’s judgment will create confidence among foreign investors in Vietnam.

By By Do Men

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