Employees injured at work are compensated by the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL), but can also bring an action before the civil courts against their employers or other liable third parties for damages not covered by INAIL. However, the criteria that the courts should follow to quantify so-called 'differential damages' remain unclear, which is relevant for third-party liability insurers exposed to indemnification claims arising from INAIL's recourse actions.
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.
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.
Similar to other jurisdictions, Italy has been affected by global phenomena such as technological advances, an ageing population, climate change and evolving legal and regulatory frameworks. So how has the Italian legal system adapted to emerging risks and the new needs of policyholders? This article examines a number of recent changes to the Italian insurance market in this context.
The Supreme Court and several lower courts recently examined the validity of claims-made insurance policies under Italian law and reached different, sometimes conflicting, conclusions. In its most recent decision in this regard, the Supreme Court abandoned the fairness or worthiness test, which is undoubtedly favourable to insurers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The directors of a credit company placed under extraordinary administration for serious irregularities learned that an employee had covertly given the company's former general manager some confidential company documents, which he had had no reason to access. The employee was subject to internal disciplinary proceedings and dismissed for a serious breach of the obligation of loyalty to her employer, but challenged her dismissal in court.
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.
A client company recently sued a leading Italian bank, arguing that the interest rate swap contracts concluded between the parties should be declared null and void because, among other things, no master agreement had been executed and the contracts had allegedly been concluded in violation of the bank's general duties of correctness and delay. However, the bank rejected the claims based on the preliminary argument that the limitation period for taking action had already elapsed.
The Milan Court of Appeals recently rejected an appeal against a Milan Court of First Instance judgment concerning an interest rate swap derivative contract. The complainant had asked the first-instance court for a statement of nullity regarding the contract, claiming that its purpose could not be determined and that no adequate risk exposure information had been provided. However, the first-instance court confirmed existing case law and excluded any reason for nullity of the contract.
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.
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.