The automotive industry and its related sectors, like many others, are facing technological challenges arising from digitalization.
There has been a revolution in the industry, affecting everything from manufacturers and traditional ancillary service providers to providers of mobility services. The way the main market players look and operate is changing, and those changes are introducing new operators along the entire length of the supply chain. Modern vehicles are now IoT devices, and that factor will develop further in the future. Using C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything) technology, vehicle data can be used for different types of services, ranging from navigation, maintenance, and diagnostics to customized infotainment and insurance. Vehicle sales are now associated not only with traditional services, such as financing and after-sales services, but also with new smart mobility services through MaaS (Mobility as a Service) applications and the development of CCAM (Connected, Cooperative, and Automated Mobility) and C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) that can be expected to foster new business opportunities for connected and automated mobility services.
In this scenario, our deep knowledge of the dynamics of the automotive industry together with our leadership in the Digital, Media & Technology sector and our solid experience in Venture Capital instruments for startups and investors allow us to provide legal advice and assistance to the entire automotive supply chain and to the many new players and technology partners developing connectivity and mobility solutions for the current market.
Our professionals work alongside many automotive market players and OEMs, as well as component manufacturers, mobility service providers, MaaS and IS providers, and telecommunications and infotainment operators.
Our experience in the Automotive & Mobility sector covers traditional and advanced issues related to digitalization and technological development:
- New technologies, hybrid connections, and software applications;
- Big Data;
- Privacy and Cyber Security;
- Intellectual Property and SEPs;
- Distribution contracts and related networks of dealers, workshops, and agents;
- Competition law and regulatory issues;
- Assistance in corporate matters; related to startups and in M&A and Venture Capital operations;
- Artificial Intelligence (AI);
- Regulatory, type approval, and standards;
- Trade and product compliance;
- Retail financial transactions;
- Administrative law, procurement, tenders, and relations with public authorities;
- Reorganization, restructuring, and bankruptcy proceedings;
- Product liability and consumer claims;
- Civil, insurance, and product liability litigation;
- Advertising, sponsorship, and prize competitions;
- Labor law;
- Corporate compliance, internal investigations, and criminal assistance.
More specifically, we have offered our services in the following scenarios:
- Assistance to many start-ups and going concerns in the field of sustainable micro-mobility as they implemented digital and technical projects for technological applications that provide services, encompassing contractual and commercial issues, data protection and product compliance (CE marking, release for free circulation, and customs aspects), regulatory issues, real estate law, labor law, corporate law, criminal law and compliance, and also dealing with administrative steps related to launching a micro-mobility service shared among multiple municipalities;
- Assistance to several mobility service (MaaS) and infotainment service providers as they launched their services in Italy, including dealing with regulatory matters, consumer and commercial user protection (taking into account EU Regulation No. 2019/1150), and handling contractual and corporate aspects, including organizing promotional activities;
- National implementation of V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) and V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) connectivity projects for leading automotive companies following the related TLC and IP regulatory issues also raised by the use of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs);
- Assistance to several start-ups in the field of sustainable mobility in drafting incentive plans and contractual documentation for an investment round, including term sheets, investment contracts, shareholders’ agreements, and contracts with directors, which involved negotiating the contracts as well; assistance in formulating corporate governance rules, evaluation and preparation of alternative financing instruments (i.e., convertible loans, convertible equity instruments, agreements comparable in content to American SAFE agreements), as well as drafting and reviewing commercial contracts;
- Assistance to leading automotive players worldwide in a variety of antitrust and risk assessment matters relating to the implementation of their selective distribution systems for dealers and workshops in accordance with EU Regulations No. 330/2010 and No. 461/2010 and former Regulation No. 1400/2002/EC; assistance in litigation involving abuse of dominant position, abuse of economic dependence, unfair competition, implementation and updating of antitrust compliance programs, stand-alone legal proceedings, and self-assessment procedures under Regulation No. 1/2003/EC;
- Negotiations with dealers, workshops, and agents, as well as factoring agreements with financial companies, credit line allocation, assignment of credit, reservation of title, financial guarantees, support in bankruptcy proceedings, negotiation of recovery plans, and participation in public tenders;
- Assistance in litigation and pre-litigation proceedings with dealers, workshops, and agents, as well as insurance and product liability proceedings and contract violations;
- Regulatory and product compliance assistance (with UNECE regulations, type-approval standards and requirements, and the like), self-assessment safety reports, equivalent certificates (as per EU regulation BER No. 461/2010), with related customs and import issues from non-EU countries for leading OEMs and equivalent spare parts manufacturers;
- Assisting a leading satellite operator with the launch and management of satellite services, including electronic communications services, data protection, and consumer protection;
- Evaluation of promotional campaigns, including assessing compliance with regulations on unfair commercial practices and misleading advertising, regulations on prize competitions, and regulatory frameworks for leading automotive operators;
- Assistance to a leading vehicle rental company in setting up and launching its services in Italy, including handling all corporate, contractual, regulatory, logistical, insurance, data protection, and implementation aspects of its website and apps;
- Defense of members of the board of directors of a leading automotive operator in criminal proceedings for insurance fraud.