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Press Releases.

Portolano Cavallo Press Releases.

The Italian Government approved the Legislative Decree for the reform of the Bankruptcy Law  —  11 January 2019

After 77 years, Italian Bankruptcy Law will soon retire. Yesterday, the Italian Government approved the new Code of Business Crisis and Insolvency.

The law is now waiting to be formally enacted by the President of the Republic and published on the Official Journal (Gazzetta Ufficiale). It will enter into force after 18 months from the publication, except for some limited provisions (mandatory requirement of statutory auditors above certain thresholds of revenues and number of employees) that will become effective after 30 days from the publication.

The new Code will deeply impact the way business crisis and insolvency have been addressed so far as it is designed to favor business restructuring over liquidation.

Among the most innovative provisions is a system of preventive alert procedure the purpose of which is to push companies to acknowledge a state of crisis in its early phase so as to increase chances of recovery.

The press release of the Government is available here: https://bit.ly/2TEb468

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European Commission proposes to amend current SPC Regulation  —  5 July 2018

The European Commission recently proposed an amendment to the supplementary protection certificate (SPC), a key regulation that grants additional intellectual property rights to patent holders on a wide range of biologically active compounds such as medicaments, veterinary drugs, herbicides and insecticides. The draft legislation, which was presented on 28 May 2018, calls for an “export manufacturing waiver” that would effectively supersede most of the conditions enumerated in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 469/2009. Under the new regime, the making of medicinal products intended for export to non-EU countries would no longer contravene the patent extensions guaranteed by the SPC application.

Reactions to the announcement were mixed. Some have been quick to praise the initiative, pointing out its potentially beneficial effects on trade and the economy. Others, including numerous organizations and industry groups, have instead received the news with concern, warning about the risk of stifling innovation and venturesome business activity.

A closer look

The waiver should be understood as altering the directives hitherto prescribed in Article 4. According to it, SPC certificates afford no protection whenever the act at hand meets either of the following criteria:

(i)     it comprises making for the exclusive purposes of export to non-EU countries, or

(ii)    any related act that is strictly necessary for that making or for the actual export itself.

While the former condition requires no further explanation, the latter leaves room for more than one interpretation. Broadly speaking, point (ii). refers to all the ancillary operations that, in one way or another, render the final export possible. This covers contactors as well as generic third parties other than the maker who contribute at an earlier or later stage to the production process, providing for the import, transit, storage, advertisement and sale of the product.

The amendment will affect all certificates issued on or after three months after the ratification of the bill. Certificates granted prior to said date will not be bound by the extension. Conversely, all SPCs awaiting approval will be subject to it.

In order to take advantage of the reformed legal framework, manufacturers are instructed to:

(i)     notify the authority of the Member State where that manufacturing is to take place of their intention to commence manufacturing no later than 28 days before the intended start date of manufacturing in that Member State,

(ii)    ensure that a particular “EU export” logo is affixed to the outer packaging of the product or, if there is no outer packaging, to its immediate packaging.

Once the draft is formalized, the European Commission will make the proper arrangements to evaluate every five years the safeguards directed by the legislation and to publish official reports.

Pros and Cons

The European Commission is confident that the proposal will spur economic growth and drive job creation over the next 10 years. Based on the latest projections, export sales are expected to increase by a minimum of €1 billion a year, whereas as many as 25,000 new jobs should be added to the economy in the coming decade. Biosimilar and generics organizations have welcomed the decision, and even suggested that the bill’s provisions should account for instances beyond those expressly or tacitly mentioned in the draft, first and foremost the stockpiling of medicaments and other compounds within the European Union before actual release on the market.

At the same time, industry group spokesmen have attacked the SPC waiver, arguing that loosening IP regulations would hurt small businesses and biotech companies whose main assets are proprietary formulas and cutting-edge technology. Economic prosperity on a continental scale, they insist, goes hand in hand with a solid and comprehensive intellectual property rights system.

What to expect now

The first signs have been positive, but the proposal is still far from being signed into law. For this to happen, the amendment must be approved by both the European Parliament and the European Council. The process, most commentators believe, will likely be expedited, given that the 2016 Resolution stressed the need to implement the waiver by the year 2019.

Last but not least, it remains to be seen what the status of the United Kingdom will be by the time the proposal is implemented. If this were to occur before the 29 March 2019 deadline, the new regulation would be legally binding as “retained EU law”. Otherwise, the two parts will come to an agreement in line with the larger transition process under way.

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Portolano Cavallo announces the appointment of six new partners and three new counsels

Today, Portolano Cavallo announces the promotion to partner of six attorneys: Barbara Corsetti (corporate, real estate), Tommaso Foco (M&A, restructuring), Luca Gambini (M&A, Life Sciences), Andrea Gangemi (employment law), Martina Lucenti (litigation) and Lydia Mendola (IP, Life Sciences). The firm also announces the appointment to counsel of Marco Blei (IP, Life Sciences), Elisa Stefanini (administrative/regulatory law, Life Sciences) and Enzo Marasà (regulatory and antitrust law).

“The colleagues we have promoted today come from different professional backgrounds,” commented Francesco Portolano as he congratulated the new partners and counsels. “Some have been with us since after graduation, while others have gained experience in leading Italian or international firms. This is proof of our commitment to promoting professional growth based purely on merit. In further confirmation of this, and in recognition of the fact that gender has no bearing on talent, four of the nine new appointments are women”.

It has been a year of development and innovation for Portolano Cavallo: in March 2018, for the second consecutive year the firm was the only law firm in Italy to be recognized as having an excellent working environment in the Best Workplaces Italia 2018 ranking released by Great Place to Work®. Also in March, the firm was awarded the Law Firm of the Year: Italy award by the British magazine The Lawyer. In April 2018, the firm announced the appointment of Giulio Novellini as of counsel to further expand the Privacy and CyberSecurity work group headed by partner Laura Liguori. Finally, in 2017 the firm became the first Italian law firm to adopt an artificial intelligence platform to manage some of its activities.

Barbara Corsetti has worked for Portolano Cavallo since 2002, assisting Italian and foreign clients in matters of corporate and real estate law. She also focuses on commercial contracts and various aspects of consumer law, the Internet and e-commerce.

Tommaso Foco has collaborated with Portolano Cavallo since 2012, where he principally focuses on corporate and restructuring law.  Previously, Tommaso worked with Bonelli e Associati (now BonelliErede), Shearman & Sterling, Cleary Gottlieb, and Steen & Hamilton. Between 2003 and 2012 he was a partner of a law firm in Milan and head of the M&A group. Tommaso completed an LLM at Harvard Law School and is a member of the New York Bar.

Luca Gambini has worked with Portolano Cavallo since 2007 where he focuses on corporate law and M&A transactions, private equity, and venture capital, concentrating particularly on the Life Sciences sector.

Andrea Gangemi has collaborated with the firm since 2006 and advises clients on employment matters. He has previously collaborated with other law firms in the employment law sector. Andrea is ranked by Chambers Europe.

Martina Lucenti has joined Portolano Cavallo in October 2017 and focuses on commercial and corporate litigation. Before joining Portolano Cavallo, Martina worked in the litigation and national and international arbitration department of BonelliErede from 2006, where she was promoted to Managing Associate in 2013. Since 2008 Martina has also been a registered Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales (Non-practicing).

Lydia Mendola joined Portolano Cavallo in April 2016 as the head of the Intellectual Property department. She previously worked for Fusi Testa Cottafavi Canu & Associati for seven years; between 2007 and 2008 she was a senior associate at Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (now BonelliErede), and in 2008 was appointed as the head of the Italian intellectual property team at Allen&Overy, a role she fulfilled for eight years. Lydia completed a PhD in International Economy Law at Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan.

Marco Blei joined Portolano Cavallo in February 2017 and focuses on intellectual property with a focus on patents, in particular in the Life Sciences sector, as well as Life Sciences transactions. Before joining Portolano Cavallo, in 2012 Marco worked for BonelliErede, focusing on IP and IT/Privacy, also in the Life Sciences sector, and previously worked for Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners and the Alfio Rapisardi law firm. Marco completed an LLM in Intellectual Property at King’s College London.

Elisa Stefanini joined Portolano Cavallo in February 2017, focusing on administrative and regulatory law and compliance in particular in the Life Sciences sector. Elisa previously worked for BonelliErede, Bird&Bird and BLB Studio Legale. After a PhD in constitutional law, from 2006 to 2010 she was a contract professor of public and constitutional law at Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan.

Enzo Marasà joined Portolano Cavallo in November 2016, focusing on regulatory and antitrust law. He previously spent six years in the Antitrust, EU and Regulatory Law department at BonelliErede, before joining Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to launch the Antitrust practice in Brussels. Before joining Portolano Cavallo, Enzo was counsel and head of the Antitrust and Regulatory Law department at Orsingher Ortu.

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Plateformes numériques: des employeurs (pas) comme les autres?  —  8 May 2018

Cet article a d’abord été publié dans Le Petit Journal

Uber, Deliveroo, Foodora, Airbnb, on ne compte plus les plateformes de mise en relation par voie électronique entre un client et un  travailleur facturant une prestation de service. Le phénomène se développe partout où l’on peut trouver une connexion internet.  Les enjeux socio-juridiques en France et en Italie.

Bien qu’encore limitée (5% de la force de travail en Europe en 2017) mais en plein essor, l’économie de plateformes ou Gig Economy est reconnue autant comme une source de création d’emplois que de précarisation des platform workers.
Face à des mouvements sociaux virulents (comme la lutte entre taxis et chauffeurs Uber dans nos deux pays), l’Union européenne n’a pas proposé de définition des plateformes (soulignant la difficulté à en donner une en raison de la grande variété des plateformes et des règlementations internes) mais a appelé à une approche directement axée sur la nécessité de protéger les travailleurs.

La France a proposé dès 2016 (Loi Travail) une définition légale des plateformes (article 242 bis du Code Général des Impôts) puis en 2017 un minimum de mesures protectrices du travailleur de la plateforme exerçant sous statut indépendant (Circulaire 2017/256 intégrée au Code du travail). Cette responsabilité sociale de la plateforme (prise en charge des cotisations accident du travail, formation professionnelle etc.) s’applique si celle-ci détermine les caractéristiques de la prestation de services fournie ou du bien vendu et en fixe le prix et si le travailleur a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires annuel égal ou supérieur à 13 % du plafond annuel de la sécurité sociale, soit 5.165,16 euros en 2018. Un statut social collectif (droit de grève etc.) a aussi été ébauché.

En Italie, la société comme la sphère juridique ont engagé de vifs débats sur la question du Lavoro mediante piattaforme digitali sans adopter de normes pour le moment. Il est vrai que le droit du travail italien a été précurseur de la réflexion sur le lien de subordination, se dotant dès les années 2000 de statuts intermédiaires (co-co-co, lavoro parasubordinato) entre travail salarié et travail libéral. Ayant également réformé le statut libéral en 2017, elle s’interroge légitimement sur la nécessité d’ajouter de nouvelles catégories sans engendrer de confusion.

La difficile qualification juridique

Partout, et pas seulement en Italie et en France, on se demande si les catégories juridiques et règles existantes en droit interne sont applicables aux travailleurs des plateformes : sont-ils des salariés subordonnés (bénéficiant du statut protecteur du droit du travail en matière de licenciement) ou des travailleurs indépendants dont il faudrait renforcer la protection ?
Le juge est en première ligne face à cette problématique, saisi par les intéressés perdant leur travail. Or la confusion règne en jurisprudence. En France, après des hésitations, le Conseil de Prud’hommes de Paris a considéré le 29 janvier 2018 que les Chauffeurs Uber n’étaient pas salariés, contrairement à la Grande-Bretagne. En Italie, le juge de Milan, Turin puis Rome a provisoirement interdit les services Uber pour concurrence déloyale (Uber Black est actuellement disponible en Italie mais pas Uber Pop) mais ne s’est pas prononcé sur la nature de l’activité de ces travailleurs. En revanche, à Turin, il a très récemment reconnu le statut libéral des riders de Foodora.


Ces décisions variables instaurent un climat d’insécurité juridique pour les acteurs de l’économie de plateforme. Des auteurs de renom avancent que la platform economy aurait fait voler en éclat la conception traditionnelle du travail salarié centrée sur la notion de lien de subordination. Il conviendrait alors de créer une catégorie ex nihilo plus adaptée à ces travailleurs d’un genre nouveau. Plus facile à dire qu’à faire ?

Un projet de loi en ce sens a été présenté en Italie en 2017. Pour autant, le législateur n’a pas encore tranché sur le statut juridique des platform workers qui reste dans une zone incertaine du droit, soumise aux aléas jurisprudentiels. La France a fixé des mesures protectrices de base sans prendre une position claire sur la qualification de la relation de travail. Si l’on peut saluer le pragmatisme de l’initiative et sa rapidité, on peut aussi se demander si la greffe prendra sur le long terme et regretter l’absence actuelle de mesures sur la rupture du contrat.

Enfin la Commission européenne indique vouloir lutter contre la fragmentation du marché unique du fait de la juxtaposition de règles nationales afin de garantir un environnement durable et prévisible à l’économie numérique. Le 26 avril 2018, elle a proposé des normes communes concernant la relation plateformes online/entreprises et l’on peut espérer qu’une initiative sur la relation plateformes/travailleurs suivra.
Ou quand la réalité économique et sociale possède une avance sur le droit!

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A new dawn for the ISP’s liability in Italy?  —  28 March 2018

This article was first published on MediaLaws website

With a landmark decision, the Court of Appeals of Rome clarifies ISP liability’s boundaries for libelous contents online. If no order is issued by the competent administrative or judicial authority there cannot be any liability under the provisions of the Legislative Decree no. 70 of 2003 that implemented in Italy the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC).

Differently from what happens with copyright/IP claims, defamation complaints raised with ex-parte cannot reasonably be taken into account to firmly deem a hosting provider like Wikimedia “on notice” of the presence of unlawful contents, triggering its obligation to take down the content to avoid liability.

1. Background

Mr. Cesare Previti, a former Italian politician, alleged he retrieved defamatory statements included in his biography on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, whose services are provided by the Wikimedia Foundation (“Wikimedia”) based in San Francisco.

He alleged he sent a take-down notice to Wikimedia, but got no response. Therefore Mr. Previti started a mediation proceedings, as requested under the at-that-time applicable law, i.e. Leg. Decree no. 104 of 2010 (later struck down by the Constitutional Court). Wikimedia informed him it was not interested in settling because it deemed itself not liable in the case at hand.

Therefore, in 2012 Mr. Cesare Previti filed a suit pursuant to Section 702-bis CPC towards Wikimedia to have the latter condemned for failure to remove the at-issue allegedly defamatory statement.

The petitioner deemed Wikimedia co-liable in the defamation, together with the bio’s author under general provisions on torts enshrined in Sections 2043 and 2055 of the Italian Civil Code, for failure to remove allegedly libelous content notwithstanding both the take-down notice and the mediation notice.

Moreover, in claimant’s opinion, Wikimedia would not be shielded under the e-commerce legislation limitation of liability, since Wikimedia would not qualify as an Internet service provider.

As a result, being ascertained Wikimedia’s liability in the case at hand, the claimant requested the Court of Rome to order Wikimedia to:

  • stop the illicit conduct;
  • remove all the libelous statements indicated in his defensive briefs present on his brief and anywhere else on the Wikipedia service;
  • condemning Wikimedia to pay a liquidated damages fee of EUR 10,000 per each further violation of the order above and EUR 1,000 for any day of delay;
  • compensate claimant with EUR 50,000 for the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages suffered;
  • publish the decision on the main Italian newspapers at Wikimedia’s expense.

Wikimedia appeared and requested all claimant’s demands be dismissed. Wikimedia in fact claimed it is a hosting provider under the e-commerce legislation, therefore enjoys the limited liability regime provided therein.

Moreover, Wikimedia does not control each content published on its services since it is not a content provider. Therefore Wikimedia does not have any obligation to intervene, unless the conditions under the e-commerce decree are met, i.e. service of an order issued by the competent Court or administrative authority.

Lastly, Wikimedia objected Mr. Previti did not prove the existence of any damage whatsoever.

2. First Instance Decision

The Court of Rome dismissed all Mr. Previti’s claims and, with the decision published on June 20, 2013, stated that the e-commerce decree cannot be applied to Wikimedia, because the latter is not based in the European Union. Indeed, article 1, par. 2, letter d) of the decree excludes the applicability of its provisions to services established outside the European Economic Area.

As a result, Wikimedia’s liability shall be assessed on the basis of the domestic provisions on tort enshrined in Sections 2043 and following of the Italian Civil Code.

Given that Mr. Previti never demonstrated that Wikimedia performs activities different from the ones performed by a hosting provider and that the Italian case law on ISPs liability concerns mostly copyright or IP matters, the Court had to rely on the general principles on tort and joint-liability on torts.

The general Disclaimer on Wikipedia, which constitutes the basis of the contractual relationship between the service and its users, clarifies that Wikipedia does not guarantee the truthfulness of the information hosted on its services, in light of the particular functioning of the Wikipedia service.

Nonetheless, it is sufficient to exclude the subjective element (willful intent or negligence) of the alleged illicit activity carried out by Wikimedia.

Under the general tort principles, it is impossible to ascertain the presence of a joint-liability between Wikimedia and the author of the bio, who is the sole person liable for the defamation. The respondent cannot be considered liable for failure to ensure the correctness/unlawfulness of the information on its service. This conclusion is even more true if one were to consider that Mr. Previti could have avoided the damages should he had accessed to his personal bio on Wikipedia, modifying the allegedly defamatory statements.

3. Previti’s Appeal and the Court of Appeals’ Decision

Mr. Previti filed an appeal against the Court of Rome’s decision.

He based its challenge on the fact that on Wikipedia’s homepage it is clarified that it operates in such a way to ensure a high-quality of information and a high level of controls — making it clear that it operates on the Wikipedia service. In addition, the Court of Rome erred in not considering the ex-parte communication sent to Wikimedia; indeed, Wikimedia’s failure to take into account this notice proves its co-liability in the defamation occurred.

Further, Wikimedia’s capability to intervene on the Wikipedia service confirms his capacity in general to control the contents and, therefore, is another proof of his joint-liability along with the bio’s author under the general Italian tort principles.

And in that respect, Wikimedia’s liability should be ascertained under Section 2050 of the Italian Civil Code (which regulates the liability for performance of “dangerous activities”).

This provision allows the damaging party to avoid liability only to the extent it is able to show it adopted all the necessary measures to prevent the damaging conduct from occurring. In appellant’s opinion, Wikimedia did not prove that.

Wikimedia appeared again requesting the Court of Appeals of Rome to fully dismiss Mr. Previti’s appeal.

Upholding Wikimedia’s demands, the Court of Appeals entirely rejected Mr. Previti’s appeal and fully confirmed the first instance decision, but correcting its reasoning.

Although Wikimedia is based outside the EEA, the e-commerce decree provides a set of rights and obligations that became part of the general discipline applicable to all ISPs, like Wikimedia. Since there is no provision under Italian law that prescribes upon providers the obligation to monitor their services similarly no liability can be recognized for failure to prevent the alleged defamation from occurring.

Further, generic statements of principles on Wikipedia’s homepage prove nothing. What matters is its actual functioning, which consists on a virtual space where anyone can post contents, modify other users’ contents, without the intervention of Wikimedia’s control.

Mr. Previti never proved he made use of the online tools provided on the Wikipedia service to modify the allegedly libelous contents on his personal Wikipedia page.

On the liability regime, the Appellate Judges clarified that hosting providers can be held liable only after they are made aware of the presence of illicit activities/contents on the services they host, making clear that no general monitoring obligation exist.

Differently from what happens with copyright/IP claims, defamation complaints raised with ex-parte cannot reasonably be taken into account to firmly deem a hosting provider like Wikimedia “on notice” of the presence of unlawful contents, triggering its obligation to take down the content to avoid liability. All the cited case law on these matters is therefore inapposite.

Similarly, the same ex-parte notices sent by Mr. Previti do not demonstrate the subjective element (willful intent or negligence) required by the Italian tort law to recognize any liability whatsoever upon Wikimedia. Indeed, Mr. Previti’s objections were absolutely generic and unsupported, while Mr. Previti’s bio on Wikipedia was supported by appropriate proof, like citations of case law.

In light of the above, there are no margins to identify any element of the defamation crime. The alleged clear unlawfulness of a certain statement is not sufficient to deem Wikimedia jointly-liable from a criminal law perspective. The Court of Appeals, though, clarifies that if Wikimedia had failed to comply with a specific take-down order issued and served by the competent administrative/judicial authority under the e-commerce decree, it could have suffered consequences also under a criminal perspective.

The Court of Appeals ends its reasoning clarifying that there is no proof of any clear unlawfulness of any statements in Mr. Previti’s bio up to the point where a hosting provider could be deemed on notice even without having been served with an order from an authority — as required under the e-commerce legislation.

4. Conclusive Remarks

The Court of Appeals found that the hosting providers can be deemed liable for defamatory statements present on their services providing that they (a) are served on with a take-down order issued by the competent authority under the e-commerce decree; or (b) receive an ex-parte notice sufficiently detailed and highlighting the presence on their services of defamatory statements severely enough to deem the provider “on notice” even without a proper take-down order.

Notably, the Court of Appeals finally draws a clear and specific distinctive line between copyright infringements cases and defamation cases. When a suit is filed on a copyright infringement, the Court seems to be saying that it is easier for the provider to make a determination on the validity of the infringer’s claim. Differently, for libelous contents, the same determination seems more difficult – making it necessary the intervention of a third party, i.e. the competent judicial/administrative authority considered by the e-commerce decree. This decision can be the beginning of a new era for ISPs’ liability in Italy: the ISPs cannot be the “judges” of the contents hosted on their platforms unless the illicit nature of said contents is crystal clear without the need of an intervention from the competent authority.

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Transfert d’entreprise: quel sort pour les contrats de travail  —  20 March 2018

Cet article a d’abord été publié dans Le Petit Journal

Qu’il s’agisse de la cession de l’entière entreprise ou uniquement d’une branche de celle-ci, le maintien des contrats individuels de travail a-t-il un avenir en France et en Italie ? Sont notamment concernées les opérations de succession/héritage, vente, fusion, transformation du fonds, mise en société de l’entreprise mais aussi transfert partiel d’activité et location gérance. Les dernières évolutions sur ce thème en France et en Italie.

Le principe commun traditionnel de transfert automatique des contrats de travail

Le droit français comme le droit italien prévoient le transfert automatique des contrats de travail entre l’ancien employeur et le repreneur de l’entreprise ou de la branche d’entreprise.
En France, la jurisprudence française opère une interprétation large de l’article L.1224-1 du Code du travail, à la lumière du droit européen, en soumettant le maintien des contrats à deux conditions :

  • le transfert d’une « entité économique autonome », soit un ensemble organisé de personnes et d’éléments corporels ou incorporels permettant l’exercice d’une activité économique poursuivant un objectif propre ;
  • le maintien de l’identité de l’entité transférée avec poursuite ou reprise de l’activité de cette entité par le repreneur.

En Italie, le dispositif (article 2112 du Code civil) est très proche de celui décrit pour la France, tous deux étant inspirés du droit communautaire quant à la notion d’entité économique autonome / attività economica organizzata.
Les contrats de travail sont donc transférés au nouvel employeur « de plein droit », par l’effet de la loi. La seule formalité requise est l’information du personnel dans les entreprises françaises de moins de 250 salariés et l’information et la consultation du Comité d’Entreprise uniquement dans les entreprises françaises de plus de 50 salariés. En Italie, en la matière, un rôle majeur est accordé aux syndicats dans les entreprises de plus de 15 salariés ; les entreprises italiennes sont donc largement concernées. Le droit italien prescrit ainsi au cédant et au cessionnaire l’information écrite, 25 jours avant le transfert, des syndicats présents dans leur entreprise respective (ou de la branche d’activité) (article 47 de la Loi 428/90). Dans les 7 jours de la réception de l’information, les représentants syndicaux peuvent demander aux deux employeurs un examen conjoint de la situation relative au transfert. Certes les syndicats ne disposent pas du droit de s’opposer à la cession et/ou d’y faire échec car leur rôle est exclusivement consultatif.

Néanmoins, tout obstacle de la part des employeurs à ladite consultation serait analysé comme une entrave à l’exercice du droit syndical dans l’entreprise et passible de sanctions.

La relativisation du principe récemment observée en France gagnera-t-elle l’Italie ?

Les dispositions précitées étant d’ordre public dans les deux pays, ni les salariés concernés ni les employeurs successifs ne peuvent en principe s’opposer au transfert des contrats de travail.
Ainsi, en Italie et jusqu’ici en France, toute convention contraire est réputée nulle. De même tout licenciement des salariés concernés avant le transfert de l’entité est privé d’effet.
Toutefois, la loi Travail de 2016 puis récemment les Ordonnances Macron de septembre 2017 ont ouvert une brèche – encore ciblée et discrète (l’article L. 1224-1 n’est pas modifié) mais néanmoins sérieuse – dans le dispositif du transfert automatique des contrats de travail.
Une exception à l’interdiction de licencier avant le transfert d’entreprise vise désormais les entreprises de plus de 50 salariés concernées par la mise en place d’un plan de sauvegarde de l’emploi (le « PSE » est une obligation légale pour l’employeur qui envisage le licenciement économique collectif d’au moins 10 salariés sur une même période de 30 jours). Lorsque le PSE comporte, en vue d’éviter la fermeture d’un ou de plusieurs établissements, le transfert d’une ou plusieurs entités économiques nécessaire à la sauvegarde d’une partie des emplois et que l’entreprise souhaite accepter une offre de reprise, le droit français admet que des licenciements économiques soient prononcés par le cédant avant le transfert. Le cessionnaire ne devra reprendre que les salariés n’ayant pas été licenciés par le cédant au jour du transfert d’entreprise. Celui-ci devra donc être en mesure de démontrer qu’en l’absence de transfert, des établissements auraient été fermés et que le nombre de licenciements prononcés aurait été plus important.
La loi française permet donc de déroger au transfert automatique des contrats individuels avec l’objectif d’encourager les reprises d’établissements. Les entreprises de moins de 50 salariés restent toutefois soumises au principe de transfert automatique des contrats de travail qui demeure la règle.
Face à ces évolutions, on peut se demander si l’Italie suivra le même raisonnement. En l’absence de dispositif équivalent au PSE, la place importante accordée aux syndicats italiens dans la procédure de transfert d’entreprise pourrait présenter des garanties suffisantes pour maintenir un équilibre entre les intérêts en jeu. L’Union Européenne devra pour sa part prendre position entre la logique traditionnelle de maintien du contrat individuel entre les employeurs successifs et la volonté de favoriser les reprises d’établissements dans l’espoir de maintenir l’emploi à plus grande échelle.

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La laïcité et le fait religieux en entreprise, en France et en Italie  —  8 January 2018

Cet article a d’abord été publié dans Le Petit Journal

André Malraux l’avait prédit : « Le XXIème siècle sera religieux ou ne sera pas »!
Longtemps cantonnée à la sphère privée, la question religieuse se pose aujourd’hui à tous les niveaux de la vie sociale et professionnelle, au moment de l’offre d’emploi, de l’embauche et lors de l’exécution du contrat de travail. Comment la France et l’Italie abordent-elles ce thème en droit?

Souvent présenté comme la solution, le principe de laïcité est envisagé différemment par nos deux pays.
La France reste marquée par son passé révolutionnaire : la laïcité fut l’un des piliers de la Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen de 1789 suivie par la séparation de l’Église et de l’État avec la Loi de 1905. La loi du 11 octobre 2010 interdit quant à elle la dissimulation du visage dans l’espace public.
Le principe de laïcité a certes une valeur constitutionnelle et symbolique forte en France mais il ne s’applique pas à l’entreprise privée ! L’arrêt Baby Loup du 25 juin 2014 a rappelé que ce principe de droit administratif s’applique aux agents publics (ou aux entreprises privées en charge d’un service public) mais pas aux salariés des entreprises privées.

Dans le domaine privé s’appliquent :
- un principe de liberté de religion et son corollaire l’interdiction des discriminations ;
- des restrictions possibles (mais encadrées) à la liberté de manifester ses convictions religieuses :

Depuis la loi travail de 2016, le Code du travail admet que le règlement intérieur (obligatoire dans les entreprises d’au moins 20 salariés) puisse prévoir un « principe de neutralité », à condition que lesdites restrictions soient : a) proportionnées au but recherché et b) justifiées par les nécessités du bon fonctionnement de l’entreprise ou par l’exercice d’autres libertés ou droits fondamentaux.
Le juge (national et communautaire) intervient pour évaluer le juste équilibre entre les impératifs en jeu. La Cour de justice de l’Union européenne a aussi jugé le 14 mars 2017 qu’une entreprise privée pouvait interdire le port visible de signes religieux, en l’espèce le foulard islamique, dans son règlement intérieur.

« Laïcité relative »
Bien que le droit de l’Union européenne s’applique pareillement en Italie, le cadre global y est différent avec un principe constitutionnel de laïcité, tempéré par la primauté historique et culturelle reconnue par l’État italien à la religion catholique, à tel point que la doctrine évoque le terme de « laïcité relative ». La Cour européenne des Droits de l’Homme l’a rappelé dans l’arrêt Lautsi du 18 mars 2011, soulignant « le fait que l’Europe est caractérisée par une grande diversité entre les États qui la composent, notamment sur le plan de l’évolution culturelle et historique ». Cela conduit à des conceptions différentes de la laïcité entre les États membres, comme on le constate pour la France et l’Italie qui applique pour sa part la laïcité aussi bien dans le domaine public que privé.

La primauté de la religion catholique s’exprime ouvertement dans le domaine public italien où l’on voit des crucifix dans les écoles publiques et les tribunaux alors que ce serait impensable en France. Un arrêt rendu le 14 mars 2011 par la Cour de cassation italienne concerne le refus d’un juge de tenir une audience dans une salle où figure un crucifix, au motif que l’exposition de ce signe religieux aurait porté atteinte à sa liberté de religion et d’opinion. La Cour a jugé qu’il s’agissait d’un refus fautif de ce juge d’exécuter sa prestation de travail. En France, le principe absolu de laïcité dans le secteur public lui aurait au contraire donné raison !
Pour autant, dans l’entreprise privée, l’Italie promeut comme la France la liberté de religion et le principe d’interdiction de toute discrimination pour motif religieux (lors de l’embauche mais aussi du licenciement), conformément à la Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme et à la Directive européenne 2000/78/CE en faveur de l’égalité de traitement dans le travail.

Il existe aussi une communauté de vue sur la prévalence des obligations du contrat de travail sur les obligations religieuses, avec toutefois un contentieux moins abondant en Italie. Sauf convention contraire, il n’incombe pas à l’employeur français ou italien de s’adapter à la religion de ses salariés (c’est différent aux États-Unis ou au Canada). Il n’est pas tenu d’aménager le temps de travail ou la configuration de ses locaux pour des motifs religieux (prières, fêtes religieuses, jeûnes ou impératifs alimentaires). Dans le cadre de son pouvoir de direction, il peut néanmoins décider autrement et prévoir notamment de mettre à disposition de ses salariés un local de prière (par roulement pour éviter toute discrimination entre les cultes).

Si la question du fait religieux n’est pas nouvelle en soi, la crise morale post-attentats conduit les entreprises des deux pays à approfondir la réflexion sur le « vivre ensemble » dans l’entreprise et sur l’harmonisation dans l’espace public et privé de nouvelles formes d’expression religieuse.

A cet égard, on observe :
- en France, des dispositions légales récentes et la multiplication de « guides pratiques de laïcité », signes du questionnement autour d’un principe de laïcité dont l’usage s’avère peu aisé dans une société encore choquée mais en quête de cohésion notamment dans le cadre professionnel ;
- en Italie, pas de loi récente mais l’applicabilité du droit de l’Union européenne et un débat sur la laïcité parfois vif et a priori plus lisible, mais encore aux mains des professionnels du droit, dans un contexte moins passionnel.

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Italy towards a fintech sandbox  —  11 December 2017

This article was first published on Fintastico

The budget committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies approved – in the context of the discussion on the annual Budget Law – an amendment focused on fintech. The law will be approved by the Chamber of Deputies and then by the Senate in the current month. The amendment, proposed by MP Sebastiano Barbanti as first signer, is the outcome of an intense debate carried out before the Chamber of Deputies in the last months by means of ad hoc auditions of key stakeholders on the role of fintech for the Italian economy.

Here follow the main measures approved by the budget committee:

  • Italian “sandbox” - within 90 days starting from the entry into force of the Budget Law the Ministry of Economy and Finance (“MEF“) after a consultation with the Bank of Italy and the National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange (“CONSOB“) will issue a decree that will allow fintech companies for 36 months to offer their services being subject to a “light” regulatory regime;
  • Annual Report on Fintech - the Bank of Italy after a consultation with CONSOB will publish an annual report on Fintech to analyze the relevant legislative framework and to propose amendments to it in order to foster the Fintech Market in the Country;
  • Regulatory Fintech Hub - within 60 days from the entry into force of the budget law the MEF will organize a Regulatory Fintech Hub composed by 8 members 3 appointed by the Prime Minister having heard the MEF and the Ministry of Economic Development, 1 by Bank of Italy, 1 by CONSOB, 1 by the Supervisory Institute for Insurance Companies (IVASS), 1 by the Agency for Digital Italy and 1 by the Italian Data Protection Authority. The Fintech Regulatory Hub will analyze the market trends and propose the legislative measures needed to foster the Fintech market, protect customers and preserve the financial stability;
  • National Fintech Institute - the institute will coordinate the initiatives devoted to Fintech in the Country and in particular the cooperation between the Regulatory Fintech Hub and the market players;
  • Tax Incentives for startups and innovative SMEs - the amendment introduces several tax incentives to foster the financing of startups and innovative SMEs operating in Italy.

The above described legislative measures constitute another important step in making Italy an attractive Country for fintech companies. Such measures follow the “Fintech Channel” recently launched by the Bank of Italy and the opening of the Fintech District in Milan and demonstrate the attention paid by the Parliament and regulatory authorities to the development of a Fintech market in the Country.

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Martina Lucenti and Clemente Perrone Da Zara join the firm

Portolano Cavallo announces the hiring of Martina Lucenti and Clemente Perrone Da Zara, from October 1st, respectively as counsel and of counsel. With their experience in commercial and corporate litigation, Martina and Clemente strengthen Portolano Cavallo in a strategically important area.

Martina has been since 2006 a member of the national and international Litigation and Arbitration Department of BonelliErede, lately as Senior Counsel. Previously, Martina worked with De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani. In addition to being admitted in Italy, Martina also qualified as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales (non-practising) since 2008.

Clemente, before joining Portolano Cavallo was a partner with other Italian business law firms. From 2004 to 2006 he was Deputy General Counsel – Litigation for the Parmalat Administration, under the guidance of Dr. Enrico Bondi; in 2007 he was in-house counsel with Impregilo for all the legal aspects concerning the winding-upof the bad company Imprepar S.p.A. Before these in-house experiences, Clemente practiced at BonelliErede and with Professor Alberto Santa Maria.

Micael Montinari, head of the dispute resolution group of Portolano Cavallo, commented “We have been dealing for some time with complex and sophisticated cases in Digital, Media, IP and, recently, Life Sciences. Today, thanks to the high profile and experience of Martina and Clemente, we are confident that we can replicate the same results also in the areas of corporate, commercial litigation”.

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Portolano Cavallo wins 2 awards at European Women in Business Law Awards 2017  —  13 July 2017

women in business law

Portolano Cavallo has been awarded with the Europe Women in Business Law Awards 2017 as:

- “Best firm in Italy” for the sixth year in a row
- “Best national firm for talent management” for the fifth year in a row

These awards, given by the Euromoney Legal Media Group’s, reward law firms fostering the development of women in the legal profession and providing programs that allow professional growth and personal and family life balance.

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