The posting of employees from an EU country to Italy must comply with Legislative Decree 136/2016. The law applies to companies established in EU member states which, in the context of the provision of services, post to Italy one or more employees in favour of another company, including those belonging to the same group, another production unit or another recipient, on the condition that during the posting, an employment relationship continues to exist with the posted employee.
A recent Tribunal of Genoa case concerning a yacht lost during carriage examined whether the Italian courts have jurisdiction to appoint court surveyors and order survey operations to take place in Italy where the merits of a dispute are not subject to Italian jurisdiction. According to the tribunal, the fact that the merits of the dispute in question were to be decided in London did not deprive the Italian courts' jurisdiction to order inspection and survey operations on goods located in Italy.
A recent Supreme Court of Cassation decision examined whether there were justified objective reasons for an employer to dismiss an employee following his refusal to reduce his hours in the wake of a company reorganisation to reduce labour costs and increase productivity. The court examined previous case law in this regard, reassessed the parameters of justified objective reasons for dismissal and set out the scope of judicial examinations of such a dismissal's legitimacy.
The Supreme Court of Cassation recently reversed a Milan Court of Appeal ruling on patent limitation. The Supreme Court of Cassation found that although the Milan Court of Appeal had held the patent at issue to be valid, it had not granted the patentee's claims for infringement because the patent had been subject to a limitation procedure and the acts of infringement had been carried out before the application for limitation had been filed.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the Italian Institute for the Supervision of Insurance recently entered into a memorandum of understanding setting out the basis for cooperation between the two supervisory authorities in the context of a broader plan of general cooperation between Italy and China. It will be interesting to see what concrete effects (if any) the memorandum will have, particularly in the context of the present unstable geopolitical situation.
The cultivation and industrial use of hemp in Italy has a long tradition and recent changes to the law have led to a revival in this regard. While a law enacted in 2016 promotes hemp cultivation as a means to preserve biodiversity and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, hemp-derived products for human consumption are still subject to restrictions. A recent Supreme Court judgment has had the last word on the legality of cannabis.
IVASS (the Italian insurance regulator) recently clarified that warranty and indemnity (W&I) insurance policies do not fall within the scope of Article 4 of IVASS Regulation 29/2009 concerning risks connected to valuation gains and losses resulting from corporate transactions. The clarification is particularly helpful, as W&I insurance can be an important tool for completing corporate transactions smoothly and may favour the local market's development in line with international trends.
Legislative Decree 15/2019, which implements the EU Trademarks Directive, entered into force on 23 March 2019. The decree's main innovations include the reinforcement of trademark protection (in particular, the possibility of using cross-border measures and reacting against certain preparatory acts of counterfeiting has been extended to transported goods) and the removal of the anachronistic requirement of graphic representation for the registration of non-conventional trademarks.
The so-called 'Growth Decree' has made provision for IP rights, particularly by introducing new regulations dedicated to 'Italian-sounding terms'. Specifically, the new regulations concern the adoption by foreign manufacturers of distinctive signs that evoke Italy and, more generally, trademarks linked to Italian territory. The adoption of such marks is now an act of piracy and considered substantially equal to counterfeiting.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Cassation stated that the revocation of members of a controlled company's board of directors due to the transfer of the majority shareholdings to a third party does not constitute just cause for a director's revocation. Consequently, a change in control of a holding company does not breach the duty of trust between the company and its board members.
With a view to balancing private sector interests and the protection of individual rights, in 2015 the legislature decided that personal data collected through the remote monitoring of employees can be used for disciplinary purposes if employers provide employees with information regarding the scope and purpose of said processing. A recent case established what type of remote monitoring is permitted in the absence of providing the required data protection information.
Italian corporate law establishes the liability of members of the board of directors of joint stock companies depending on whether they are chief executive officers or executive directors or independent and non-executive directors. Recent Supreme Court of Cassation and Milan Court of Appeal decisions focused on the liability of non-executive directors by affirming that they must be proactive and fulfil their duty to be as informed as possible to ensure a suitable standard of corporate governance.
The so-called 'Growth Decree' includes a rule which allows an Italian patent application to be filed based on an international patent application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The adoption of this provision offers companies a cheaper alternative where the potential exploitation of an invention does not justify the investment required to obtain a European patent. The provision responds to a pressing practical need and is a welcome change.
The Supreme Court recently ruled on the scope of reinstatement protection in the event of dismissal for cause provided by Article 3 of the Jobs Act. Despite the rule providing for reinstatement to be linked to the non-existence of disputed material facts, the court considered that reinstatement should occur not only when the material facts of a case did not take place, but also when they are insignificant from a disciplinary perspective.
The Civil Code sets out specific rules which apply in the event that a chief executive officer (CEO) or director has extra-company interests. In the event that such a conflict of interests affects the position of a managing director, they cannot vote in the relevant board of director's resolution on the subject of the conflict. A recent Supreme Court of Cassation Decision has emphasised the duties of transparency and fairness to which company directors and CEOs in Italy must adhere.
The recently passed Growth Decree has introduced a number of tax provisions which apply to various sectors. In particular, the decree-law has extended the super depreciation regime to investments in new tangible assets in certain circumstances, introduced a corporate income tax reduction on reinvested earnings and restored tax incentives for business combinations, allowing companies involved in mergers, demergers or business combinations to get a free tax step-up in the book value of relevant assets up to €5 million.
The Tribunal of Milan recently published a judgment analysing a common occurrence in shipping matters where a contract of charter is not incorporated into an agreement duly executed by both parties, but is instead contained in a recap fixture exchanged via email. The decision is noteworthy as it reaches conclusions (significantly different from prevailing Italian case law) which deserve to be carefully considered when concluding charter parties.
The Administrative Supreme Court recently ruled on the operation of night-time flights for civil purposes over Italian national territory, issuing a milestone decision that put an end to a 20-year regulatory dispute. The decision means that Italian airports now have parity with those located in other EU member states and has removed the negative effect that the ban had had on competition.
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.
Decree-Law 34 of 30 April 2019 introduced important amendments to the Italian securitisation framework. Securitisation special purpose vehicles can now play a more active role in the context of non-performing or unlikely-to-pay exposures. Further, a new breed of securitisation has been introduced, where the issuer's obligations are backed by real estate properties (or registered moveable assets) and related cash flows, as opposed to a portfolio of monetary claims.