The Federal Administrative Court (FAC) recently issued a ruling concerning the status of instant messaging app Threema from a telecoms surveillance legislation perspective. The consequences of the FAC's ruling, if upheld by the Federal Supreme Court, would exonerate many over-the-top service providers (typically instant messaging and voice call providers) from certain obligations under telecoms legislation. However, businesses active in the telecoms area should nonetheless remain cautious.
The Department of Homeland Security through US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued new withhold release orders (WROs) aimed at entities involved in the import, downstream manufacturing or sale of certain apparel, cotton, hair products and computer parts. As the WROs were backdated, they may adversely affect merchandise that is currently being shipped to the United States or which is already in CBP's custody.
The Justice Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality recently issued the Data Regulations of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone for public opinion. The draft regulations define the concept of 'data rights' for the first time and set out the ownership of personal and public data. According to the draft regulations, no organisation or individual may infringe on natural persons' data rights in accordance with the law.
The Tax Authority recently published a tax ruling addressing priority technological enterprise status with respect to an Israeli company that engages in the development and provision of cloud service platforms. The ruling provides that, subject to the Investment Law, income derived from the right to use a company's cloud platforms will be classified as income generated by a technological enterprise and, therefore, will be entitled to the Investment Law's reduced tax rates.
The Department for International Trade recently announced that the United Kingdom has taken a major step in the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the world's largest and most dynamic free trade areas. The partnership includes ambitious agreements on digital trade, data, financial, professional and business services, all of which are areas where the United Kingdom is a global leader and stands to benefit from more trade.
In a recent judicial review appeal, the Inner House considered the application of Section 104 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, which deals with consultation in respect of disposing and changing the use of common good property. The petition was for judicial review of the Angus Council's decision to demolish a leisure centre which had been erected on common good land.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government, as well as many states, has enacted eviction and foreclosure moratoriums in an effort to keep homeowners and renters in their homes and slow the spread of COVID-19. Citing concerns with the continued spread of COVID-19, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a new order temporarily halting residential evictions nationwide until 31 December 2020 (unless extended).
A troubling New Jersey financial transaction tax proposal, which appeared to be gaining in popularity over the last few months, has reportedly been left out of the 2021 budget deal that Governor Phil Murphy struck with legislative leaders last week. The decision to drop the transaction tax from the deal came days after the Wall Street Journal reported that prominent stock exchanges with data centres in New Jersey were prepared to exit the state if the tax plan was adopted.
All five Taiwanese 5G operators were recently listed as 'clean' 5G networks by the United States. The National Communications Commission has welcomed this international collaboration and commented that similar programmes previously applied to Taiwan 4G networks and kept Chinese hardware companies such as Huawei and ZTE out of Taiwan's 4G infrastructure.
The Supreme Administrative Court, acting as the second and final instance, recently repealed the Commission for the Protection of Competition's (CPC's) clearance for the acquisition of Pharmastore OOD by Sopharma Trading AD. In its decision, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the CPC had failed to analyse the de facto vertical links between Sopharma and CHS.
Jersey expert funds were introduced to enhance Jersey's attractiveness as a jurisdiction for the establishment of funds aimed at institutional and high-net-worth investors. Expert funds can be established within a matter of days on the basis of a self-certification approach without any formal regulatory review of the fund or its promoter. There are currently more than 400 authorised expert funds.
Family settlements and the documents relating thereto have been the subject of litigation for various reasons. One such litigious issue is whether the documents pertaining to family settlements must be registered under the Registration Act. In a recent case, the Supreme Court held that a memorandum of family settlement, which merely records the terms of a family settlement already acted on by the concerned parties, need not be registered.
Where a potential judgment debtor in onshore proceedings threatens to dissipate its assets, the plaintiff may face a pyrrhic victory with no assets against which to enforce its judgment. Where the defendant is a Cayman company or has assets in the Cayman Islands, the Cayman court has statutory jurisdiction to grant a freezing injunction in aid of those foreign proceedings, which can extend to the worldwide assets of the defendant.
Where a potential judgment debtor in onshore proceedings threatens to dissipate its assets, the plaintiff may face a pyrrhic victory with no assets against which to enforce its judgment. Where the defendant is a Guernsey company or has assets in Guernsey, the Royal Court has statutory jurisdiction to grant an injunction in aid of those foreign proceedings, including freezing injunctions to prevent defendants dealing with the relevant assets in Guernsey.
The Competition Board recently published its reasoned decision following a preliminary investigation based on allegations that two companies had violated Article 4 of Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition by determining dealers' resale prices, fixing discount rates and limiting the payment methods of their dealers.
In a first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition has fined RITCHY EU sro Kc6.7 million (€270,000) for resale price maintenance practices. According to the decision, RITCHY EU, a distributor of e-cigarettes and refills, violated the Act on the Protection of Competition between 6 September 2017 and 31 March 2019 by imposing on its customers minimum resale prices for the goods concerned.
The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) is investigating whether Amazon influences pricing on the Amazon marketplace. According to the FCO, it received numerous complaints from merchants regarding Amazon's conduct. The investigation is one of a number of antitrust measures being undertaken in Germany with regard to powerful platforms (eg, Facebook and Booking.com). The German legislature has also become active and included special provisions for powerful platforms in the upcoming antitrust law.
The National Council of Agricultural Chambers recently asked the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) to look into potential competition rule breaches in the soft fruit market, especially regarding the sale of gooseberries. According to gooseberry growers, the buying price of gooseberries is too low compared with the potential price of further sale. The UOKiK is set to investigate Poland's soft fruit market over suspected price fixing.
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, increased M&A activity is likely until at least the end of 2020. The pandemic has changed the landscape of M&A, antitrust and foreign direct investment reviews globally in many key areas, including with regard to so-called 'killer acquisitions', failing firm arguments, distressed transactions and gun jumping.
COVID-19 is putting tremendous strain on the life sciences and healthcare sector. Disputes may be more disruptive than usual during this time, not least because they put further pressure on often already limited financial and managerial resources. Therefore, many parties are seeking alternative ways to avoid disputes. However, some disputes are inevitable and a number are likely to be resolved through international arbitration.