Italy updates

Intellectual Property

Contributed by IP Law Galli
Italy nominates Milan as third head office of UPC instead of London
  • Italy
  • 19 October 2020

At a recent Unified Patent Court (UPC) Preparatory Committee meeting on the effects of the United Kingdom's withdrawal of its ratification of the court's founding agreement, Italy announced its intention to nominate Milan as the new branch of the UPC headquarters instead of London. Although Milan is not a mandatory choice, this nomination should be taken seriously for many reasons.

Patent infringement to deal with COVID-19 emergency: possible exemptions
  • Italy
  • 27 April 2020

In a province badly affected by COVID-19, valves for respirators used in hospitals in emergency COVID-19 therapy have been replicated locally with a 3D printer (the original valves are reproduced and patent protected) to cope with valve shortages and the impossibility of receiving them in time from the authorised manufacturer. In this case, the fact that a 3D printer is being used for non-commercial production purposes could be per se relevant as an exemption from liability.

New relationship between collective, certification and individual multi-use marks
  • Italy
  • 09 December 2019

Following the implementation of the EU Trademark Directive in February 2019, there has been much debate in Italy over how to manage and choose between collective marks, individual multi-use marks and certification marks. While the new IP regime offers new opportunities, it also requires a careful review of existing regulations and a case-by-case verification of whether a collective mark can be maintained or whether it must be transformed into a certification mark.

Artistic value and copyright protection for industrial designs
  • Italy
  • 28 October 2019

Industrial property lawyers in Italy have been given cause for reflection following a recent European Court of Justice decision which was expected to clarify whether the legislatures of EU member states can grant copyright protection for designs subject to additional requirements to those required for all other copyrighted works. This issue is of particular importance in Italy, as copyright protection is granted to designs on the condition that they have 'artistic value', as assessed by the courts, as well as a creative aspect.

Supreme Court of Cassation reverses patent limitation decision
  • Italy
  • 09 September 2019

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.


Litigation

Contributed by ARBLIT Radicati di Brozolo Sabatini Benedettelli Torsello
Premium interest rate payable to creditors which file claims before Italian courts
  • Italy
  • 20 October 2020

Creditors taking legal action before the Italian courts to secure payment against their debtors have long regarded this as a nightmare option due to the length and complexity of Italian civil proceedings. However, recently introduced legislation may render this nightmare a dream, as claimants bringing actions for payment are now entitled to a premium interest rate equal to that available in respect of late payments in commercial transactions under the relevant EU legislation.

Specialised commercial courts with jurisdiction over claims against foreign defendants: the Italian approach
  • Italy
  • 01 September 2020

In recent years, an intense debate has taken place regarding the appropriateness and benefits of establishing specialised international commercial courts. This article presents the Italian (pre-Brexit) reform, which established specialised commercial courts with jurisdiction over cases brought against foreign defendants with a view to attracting foreign investments and businesses by assigning the adjudication of disputes in which they are involved to a limited number of highly specialised courts.

Post-lockdown litigation: Phase 2 special rules for court proceedings
  • Italy
  • 09 June 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government adopted a severe lockdown policy, including suspending all court proceedings and related deadlines in civil and commercial matters. As of 18 May 2020, the government moved to Phase 2, which means that litigation in civil and commercial matters can now resume. However, as with other activities, court litigation requires special measures to ensure social distancing in the courts' premises and judicial offices.


Private Client & Offshore Services

Taxation of income transferred to Italian beneficiaries from non-EU resident trusts
Studio Legale e Tributario Biscozzi Nobili Piazza
  • Italy
  • 28 November 2019

Since the introduction of provisions to the Income Tax Code aimed at regulating the taxation of trusts and related beneficiaries, the tax treatment applicable to income distribution from foreign opaque trusts has not been clarified by law. A new decree law has filled this legal void by providing for a new class of 'financial income', represented by income paid to Italian resident beneficiaries by non-EU trusts established in low-tax jurisdictions.


Product Regulation & Liability

Mobile phones may cause brain tumours: Turin Court of Appeals revives debate
  • Italy
  • 13 February 2020

After a two-year dispute, the Turin Court of Appeals has dismissed the appeal filed by the National Insurance Provider (INAIL) and upheld the first-instance decision issued by the Court of Ivrea in 2017, which established causation between extensive work-related use of mobile phones and brain tumours and ordered INAIL to compensate the claimant with a lifelong payment.

Hemp food – Ministry of Health sets acceptable levels of THC
  • Italy
  • 06 February 2020

The Ministry of Health recently published the THC Decree, which sets the maximum tetrahydrocannabinol content permitted in food products, together with guidance on the appropriate method of analysis. Some commentators have welcomed the new regulation as a liberalisation of the use of hemp in food products; however, on closer inspection, this conclusion proves to be unjustified.

Regulation of cannabis use in food and cosmetics
  • Italy
  • 15 August 2019

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.


Projects, Construction & Infrastructure

Public officials' liability in procurement of goods or services – recent decisions and coverage issues
DLA Piper
  • Italy
  • 29 January 2019

Under the consolidated act on public procurement, the procurement of goods or services by local public entities is conditional on the approval of the relevant expenditure budget. However, if a public official authorises an agreement for the procurement of goods or services without an approved budget, that agreement is considered to have been entered into directly by the public official and the service provider and the public official may be personally liable to said provider.