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Creative-Huawei lawsuit: Appeals court grants Creative S$2.3m in extra damages

MAINBOARD-listed Creative Technology has netted additional damages in its legal proceedings against Chinese technology giant Huawei International.

Its appeal for additional damages was allowed on Friday, even as the Court of Appeal turned down Huawei's appeal over the previous High Court judgment from August 2017.

The appeals court's decision, which is final, ordered that Huawei pay Creative and its QMax Communications subsidiary a fresh S$2.3 million, on top of previous awards. The court also awarded costs to Creative and QMax.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said in oral grounds that the sum comprised Creative's claims for spectrum rights, rooftop leases and leasing services from network operator Singtel.

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Creative now expects to recognise income from the legal proceedings to the tune of US$32 million, for the three months to June 30, it said in an announcement on the Singapore Exchange website.

It had said the previous year that the original judgment sums would be recognised in financial statements for the quarter to Sept 30, 2017, if the original judgment was not appealed against.

Creative and QMax took Huawei to court in 2012 over a contract, signed in 2010, for a wireless broadband project. Huawei, the project vendor, was tasked with designing, building and operating a nationwide wireless broadband network.

But Creative and QMax eventually contended that Huawei had miscalculated and misrepresented the cost of the network. The suit sought to recover from Huawei the roughly S$30 million that had been put into the project, which ended up being scuppered.

Meanwhile, Huawei counter-sued for outstanding payments, alleging wrongful rescission and/or termination of the contract.

An appealable High Court judgment found in Creative's favour in 2017. The company was then awarded about S$36 million, including interest.

Creative was represented by Senior Counsel Jimmy Yim, as well as Andrew Lee and Ben Chia, of Drew & Napier, while Huawei was represented by Senior Counsel Andre Maniam, alongside Alma Yong, Ho Weijie and Lin Chunlong, of WongPartnership.

Huawei told The Business Times, when contacted: "We respect the judgment of the court and are firmly committed to serving our customers in Singapore."

Creative closed up by S$0.20, or 3.44 per cent, at S$6.01. The company had called a trading halt lasting around two hours, pending the release of its announcement.

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