Norton Rose Fulbright updates

Renewable future: government incentives to increase biomethane production
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Italy
  • 05 October 2020

Biomethane is an emerging source of renewable energy which may be a suitable substitute for fossil fuels. The prospects for biomethane as an energy source in Italy are promising; it has the potential to become one of the main protagonists in Italy's future energy sector and would facilitate the transition to a circular economy model. This article considers recent developments under Italian law to incentivise biomethane production.

New York Convention does not prohibit enforcement by non-signatory under doctrine of equitable estoppel
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • USA
  • 11 June 2020

The US Supreme Court has unanimously held that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards does not prohibit US courts from applying the domestic law doctrine of equitable estoppel when determining whether an international arbitration clause can be enforced by a non-signatory to compel arbitration. In doing so, the court effectively extended the holding in Arthur Andersen LLP to international arbitrations under Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act.

COVID-19: AAA-ICDR's approach to arbitration
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • USA
  • 07 May 2020

Existing dispute resolution proceedings are inevitably experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Where possible, hearings have been delayed or relocated. However, with many lockdowns extended for the foreseeable future, some hearings will still need to be held. Notably, the American Arbitration Association acknowledges that these are appropriate times to permit (and indeed require) the use of viable alternatives to in-person hearings.

Antitrust agencies' COVID-19 response – interview
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 23 April 2020

In the wake of COVID-19, public officials across the United States have expressed a willingness to prosecute price gougers and companies that facilitate sales of goods with inflated prices. In this video, Vic Domen, government antitrust investigations and prosecutions lawyer and partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, discusses various consumer protection issues that are arising in the United States as a result of COVID-19.

Antitrust agencies' COVID-19 response: federal and state authorities warn against price gouging
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 16 April 2020

In the wake of COVID-19, some sellers of essential goods and services have tried to greatly increase the cost of their products to take advantage of increased demand. However, sellers should be aware that public officials across the United States have expressed a willingness to prosecute price gougers and companies that facilitate sales of goods with inflated prices. State attorneys general are at the forefront of investigating and prosecuting instances of price gouging.

Antitrust agencies respond to COVID-19 challenges in merger reviews
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 09 April 2020

As the United States reacts and adjusts to the developing COVID-19 situation, the two federal antitrust agencies – the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division – have revised certain rules and procedures relating to their civil merger investigation processes to address these new challenges. Although both agencies have shifted most of their personnel to remote working arrangements, agency staff have demonstrated a willingness to be reasonable and accommodating.

Collaboration and catastrophe: antitrust laws in face of COVID-19
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 02 April 2020

While antitrust and consumer protection laws provide flexibility for firms to respond to changing market conditions, such as those created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that certain conduct will remain prohibited by antitrust and consumer protection laws no matter the circumstances.

Are floating solar and wind installations the new frontiers of renewable energy?
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Italy
  • 16 March 2020

Floating solar and wind farms are power production installations mounted on structures or platforms that float on a body of water. In a country such as Italy, where the targets to produce electricity from green sources are ambitious and must coexist with the need to safeguard agriculture and the landscape, floating solar and wind installations present a new but challenging opportunity.

Understanding FTC's monetary equitable remedies under Section 13(b) for antitrust violations
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 13 February 2020

Until recently, the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) ability to seek monetary equitable remedies (particularly disgorgement and restitution) for alleged antitrust violations went virtually unchallenged. However, the most recent appellate case that interprets the FTC's monetary equitable remedies under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act leaves open many questions about the FTC's ability to seek monetary equitable remedies in antitrust cases pursuant to Section 13(b).

FTC and DOJ release 2020 Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines for public comment
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 30 January 2020

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission have announced the release of the 2020 Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines (VMG) for a 30-day comment period. As with any guidelines issued by the agencies, the finalised VMG will be instructive for the agencies' review of vertical mergers and will be persuasive but not binding on the courts should a contested merger enter litigation.

California's legislature passes bill enhancing antitrust scrutiny of patent settlements
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 31 October 2019

California's governor recently signed a bill designed to enhance antitrust scrutiny of patent settlements between branded and generic pharmaceutical companies. The bill follows the California attorney general's nearly $70 million settlement in Summer 2019 with several pharmaceutical companies based on patent settlements that the attorney general claimed violated the Cartwright Act and is yet another example of diverging interpretations between federal and state antitrust laws.

Why GSE should reduce instead of revoke incentives for PV plants
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Italy
  • 21 October 2019

According to a recent Lazio Regional Administrative Court ruling, before reaching a decision on the revocation of incentives, the Energy Services Operator must confirm whether the renewables exception set out in Article 42(3) of Legislative Decree 28/2011 applies (ie, the plant in question must have received incentives when the violation was verified) and assess the size of the reduction with regard to the extent of the violation detected.

Hart-Scott-Rodino annual report confirms likelihood of challenge for transactions subject to second requests
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 10 October 2019

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division recently released the Hart-Scott-Rodino Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018, covering 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018. This report is the first opportunity to review data regarding the merger challenges issued exclusively during Trump's administration. The data underscores the importance and benefit of advance planning and strategy to avoid a second request investigation whenever possible.

Enhancing the 'carrot': DOJ announces changes to its compliance programme policy
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 01 August 2019

In a historic shift, the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division will now consider providing credit to companies in the charging and sentencing stages of an antitrust criminal investigation if they have a robust and effective antitrust compliance programme. While a positive step, significant questions remain regarding the extent to which the opportunity for compliance credit will incentivise companies to self-report criminal antitrust violations and how the guidance interacts with the division's leniency programme.

Use of corporate power purchase agreements
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Italy
  • 17 June 2019

The use of corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) looks set to increase in Italy. Corporate PPAs are contracts between buyers and power producers to purchase electricity at a pre-agreed price for a pre-agreed period. As the market for the development of subsidy-free renewable energy projects grows, corporate PPAs are expected to become a common part of the energy and sustainability strategies of Italian corporates.

New York Appellate Division confirms narrow scope of manifest disregard doctrine
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • USA
  • 30 May 2019

The New York Appellate Division has reaffirmed that the manifest disregard doctrine is a "severely limited… doctrine of last resort" that requires more than a mere error of law to warrant vacating an arbitral award. This case involved the acquisition contracts between Daesang and NutraSweet, under which NutraSweet could rescind the deal if it was sued for antitrust law violations. After NutraSweet exercised this right, Daesang commenced an arbitration proceeding for breach of contract.

Disclosure in international arbitration: using US courts to obtain discovery for non-US proceedings
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • USA
  • 23 May 2019

Unbeknown to many, Section 1782 of Title 28 of the US Code permits parties to obtain discovery in the United States in aid of non-US legal proceedings, including – in some instances – international arbitrations. Such discovery can include documents and sworn testimony (eg, depositions). In conducting an arbitration seated outside the United States (or other non-US legal proceedings), it is useful to understand the mechanics, requirements and key issues of Section 1782 discovery.

Assistant attorney general suggests expanding scope of antitrust enforcement
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 23 May 2019

The assistant attorney general recently suggested that antitrust enforcers should update their analytical framework to account for modern corporate structures, signalling the potential for antitrust violations when officers and directors serve multiple competing companies. The assistant attorney general's speech is a reminder that behaviour that is not explicitly prohibited by the letter of the antitrust statutes may still raise eyebrows.

FBI and ACCC commit to sharing antitrust enforcement expertise
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • USA
  • 02 May 2019

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently signed a new memorandum of cooperation to strengthen their ability to combat cartels and other anti-competitive conduct. According to the section chief of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, the memorandum codifies the FBI's relationship with the ACCC and provides an opportunity for increased information and resource sharing.

Fine line between financial initiatives in PV greenhouses and genuine agricultural projects
Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Italy
  • 15 April 2019

The Regional Administrative Court of Sardinia recently annulled the regional authority's decision to revoke authorisation for the construction and operation of a photovoltaic (PV) plant on the rooftops of agricultural greenhouses following its alleged loss of status as an agricultural company. The decision confirms that the lack of qualification as a professional agricultural entrepreneur should not jeopardise the right to operate PV plants and receive incentive tariffs on the production of renewable energy.

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