One of the final pieces of legislation that the government enacted before the March 2018 general election was the eagerly awaited reform of the so-called 'Nautical Code'. The changes include a new definition of 'superyachts', the introduction of an electronic registration system for yachts and superyachts, a streamlined cancellation procedure for the Italian yacht registry and restrictions to the occasional chartering regime.
The government recently submitted to Parliament the text of a draft legislative decree to implement the EU Directive on Trade Secrets. The main changes proposed include the alignment of domestic rules on trade secrets with international standards; the prohibition of trade in goods whose design, features, function, production or marketing significantly benefit from unlawfully obtained trade secrets; and the introduction of a regulation to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets in the course of judicial proceedings.
The Supreme Court recently stated that an employer that installs a camera in its workplace to monitor an employee's activity can be found guilty of a crime under Decree-Law 196/03, even if the camera was installed to protect goods and property. The court found that the dignity and privacy of the employee in question were more worthy of protection than the economic value of corporate goods and property and that reforms in this regard introduced by the Jobs Act were inapplicable.
The recently approved Budget Law has harmonised the taxation of dividends and capital gains earned by non-business individuals on substantial and non-substantial participation held in Italian and foreign companies, among other things. Companies and partnerships will be unaffected by these changes, as the distinction between substantial and non-substantial participation is irrelevant.
In addition to setting out the legal scope for the safety of medical treatments and patients, Law 24/2017 provides the scope for imposing an effective risk management policy on healthcare personnel and prescribes risk allocation standards in the case of damages arising from medical treatments. It also provides for situations of impunity when these events occur despite the guidelines being followed.
With the Competition Law's recent entry into force, the legislature has finally established a clear legal framework by defining the concept of a 'financial lease' and the consequences for banks (or leasing companies) and clients following a breach of contract. These provisions make financial leases a more transparent tool with the aim of boosting their appeal and increasing investment by Italian companies, thus fostering economic growth.
The Supreme Court of Cassation recently stated that following the legislative amendment introduced by Law 134/2012, the amended Article 345(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure forbids the filing of new documents during appeal. This is regardless of whether the documents appear to be essential, except for when the party proves the impossibility of filing them before the court of first instance for reasons beyond its control.
IVASS, the Italian insurance regulator, recently provided details of an investigation into (re)insurance intermediaries' general understanding of cybersecurity-related issues and the remedies that they have implemented to protect their businesses and clients against the adverse effects of possible cyberattacks. IVASS will conduct another survey in 2019 to check that insurance intermediaries have complied with the proposed measures.
The recent enactment of Law 155 represents an ideal opportunity to modernise Italian insolvency proceedings through a comprehensive set of guiding principles and criteria to be applied to rationalise the associated judicial proceedings. Key changes include the development of mechanisms to recognise and resolve a debtor's business crisis before it becomes irreversible and the simplification of judicial proceedings, which will be faster and prioritise proceedings that allow business continuity.
The European Delegation Act 2016 to 2017 contains significant changes concerning IP rights, including the potential destabilisation of a system that has been acknowledged unanimously as satisfactory. Other changes concern the implementation of an EU directive in Italy in order to approximate the trademark laws of EU member states and the amendment of the Industrial Property Code in order to bring it into line with the EU rules on the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court.
The Supreme Court recently found that an employee who notifies the judicial authorities of facts relating to his or her employer which constitute evidence of criminal activity cannot be dismissed for just cause. As regards the disciplinary liability of whistleblowing employees, it is insufficient for a complaint to be unfounded, as this does not prove that the complaint was slanderous.
The Rome Division of the Tax Commission recently ordered the full refund of debit notes issued by the Lazio region to a foreign carrier for payment of the tax on aircraft noise pursuant to Regional Law 2/2013. The Tax Commission stated that the carrier had not breached EU Directive 2002/30/EC. Accordingly, it cancelled the debit notes issued by the Lazio region to the foreign carrier and ordered a complete refund of the tax paid by the carrier under the tax on aircraft noise.
The most recent edition of the Nautica e Fisco booklet issued by the Nautical Association Industry and the Revenue Agency covers legal and fiscal developments in the nautical industry, including issues from registration to customs and fiscal matters. In particular, the booklet provides guidelines on exporting a yacht from Italy, value added tax exemptions for the use of yachts in the high seas and the temporary importation regime and refitting services.
Lawmakers recently intervened in matters concerning collecting societies and copyright through the introduction of Decree-Law 148/2017. This new regulatory amendment further weakens the unjustified monopoly of the Italian copyright collecting agency. However, a number of issues concerning the new wording of Article 180 of the Copyright Law remain, which could result in the retention of inadmissible limitations contrary to EU law and the liberalisation of the market being deferred once again.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Cassation consulted its united sections on an important question regarding the specificity of reasons for appeal under Article 342 of the Civil Procedure Code. The question concerned whether the code requires an appellant to specify different content as part of its reason for appeal or provide only a detailed criticism of sections of the appealed decision.
Article 117 of the Insurance Code provides that premiums paid to intermediaries and monies used to settle claims or due by insurers must be kept in separate accounts, the holder of which can be an intermediary that acts expressly in such a capacity. No seizure or distraint of the separate account can be carried out by creditors other than policyholders and insurers. IVASS recently clarified a number of issues in this regard following an investigation into the compliance of intermediaries with said requirements.
The notional interest deduction (NID) regime has been in effect since the 2011 fiscal year. Under this regime, Italian resident companies and permanent establishments of non-resident companies may deduct notional interest from their corporate income taxable base. The NID is calculated according to the equity increase (ie, new equity rate) from the end of the 2010 fiscal year, multiplied by a rate determined annually.
The most recent Italian case law has upheld the European Court of Justice's interpretation of EU Regulation 261/2004 in Wallentin-Hermann and Van der Lans by qualifying a hidden manufacturing defect as an 'extraordinary circumstance' under the meaning of Article 5(3) of the regulation and rejecting passenger claims for compensation under Article 7 of the regulation.
The Italian courts, as well as scholars and legal practitioners, have debated the concept of supervening usury for many years. Until recently, it was unclear whether interest stipulated below the usury threshold at the time of contract, but exceeding such threshold at the time of payment, was usurious. The Supreme Court finally addressed this issue in a recent decision, which ruled out supervening usury entirely.
An employee recently challenged her dismissal, claiming that she had been employed by a cooperative as a cleaner in a healthcare structure under a contract between the two parties. The healthcare structure was subsequently incorporated into another company, which decided to internalise the services performed by the cooperative and terminate the contract between the two parties. The Court of Milan declared the dismissal to be unlawful on the grounds that a transfer of undertaking had occurred.