One of Hong Kong’s top international schools sues over use of name

German Swiss International School says three other education providers deliberately attempted to mislead public with similar titles

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2016, 11:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2016, 11:49pm

A top international school is suing three education providers for ­allegedly adopting an identically sounding Cantonese name to ride on its reputation and mislead the public.

The operators of German Swiss International School claim that the two kindergartens and one primary school run by St Hilary’s Education, St Hilary’s School, and St Hilary’s Kindergarten (Hung Hom) used the punti name to confuse or deceive the public, a writ filed yesterday claims.

While “German Swiss” and “St Hilary” are poles apart, their ­Cantonese names both sound like tak shui according to the writ.

The 45-year-old school claimed its education services had “generated extensive interest amongst the general public in Hong Kong”.

It had “been frequently featured in the media in recent years in light of the growing trend for ­local parents to send their children to international schools”, while only St Hilary’s kindergarten in Prince Edward had been open.

St Hilary’s primary school in Tai Po intends to start operations next month, and a second kindergarten will open in Hung Hom. One of the kindergartens and the primary school were supervised by Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung, a retired principal of Diocesan Boys’ School, the writ said, suggesting he ought to know the similarities.

Yet, the three St Hilary’s groups, all directed by Terry Tsui Yun-yung, had allegedly used the Cantonese name regardless ­during their introductory ­sessions .

The writ also said the three providers intended to place the name in question on uniforms.

Tak shui had allegedly been used by Chinese-language media to refer to the primary school and two kindergartens, which provides nursery services.

An attempt by the Prince Edward kindergarten to register the school emblem last September had been refused.

“The acts of the defendants ... were calculated and deliberately intended to deceive and cause confusion and to mislead members,” the writ said.

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The international school, which operates a campus on The Peak, is seeking to bar St Hilary’s from further use of the name.

It also wants the court to order St Hilary’s to change the Chinese name and pay damages as a result of the alleged infringement.