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This time, our law firm marketing friends across CEE considered the following question: “What one part of your job would you most appreciate having more help with – not in terms of training or capability, but simply in terms of time?”

How do law firms in Austria promote themselves to current and prospective employees? A series of conversations with several leading firms revealed more than expected.

It is no secret that North Macedonia is facing the issue of usage of products for plant protection which often fail to meet legal standards. Namely, Macedonian manufacturers producing agricultural products for human and animal nutrition often use unauthorized products which fail to meet safety criteria and may have suspicious origins. Although this issue is not as widely-discussed as air pollution in North Macedonia, it contributes significantly to the existing environmental pollution problem and has a huge impact on the health of plants, people, and the environment.

Use of Artificial intelligence is growing rapidly. Some of the world’s largest industries are using AI as frequently as any other business tool. Still, there are industries which seem to be more risk averse. Pharma integrates AI at the rate of 31% in the service operations sector, 31% in the product/service development sector, and 27% in the marketing sector. Does that mean that pharma is lagging in implementing AI?

In a recent case involving parallel-imported agrochemical products, the District Court of The Hague ruled that non-compliance with the requirements laid down by the European Court of Justice (CJEU) for parallel import of relabelled products displaying the original right-holder’s trademark constitutes trademark infringement, particularly if the right-holder is not properly notified of the parallel import and is not offered a sample of the relabelled product on request. This decision shows that the requirements for parallel import are applied strictly by the courts and have a broad scope (not limited to pharmaceutical products), allowing the mark-holder to exercise control over the resale, re-labelling, and re-packaging of its original products within the EU.

Simona Marin is an English- and New York-qualified partner in CMS’s International Finance team in Bucharest, where she focuses on project finance, real estate finance and other financing structures, both syndicated and bilateral, secured and unsecured. Simona has over ten years’ experience advising on a broad range of high-profile financings and projects throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across CEE about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: How do you do performance reviews, and how important are they to the planning and management of the firm?”

Almost 20 years ago, the Russian Government decided to develop a renewable energy sector and promote renewable energy projects in the country. These efforts brought huge investments and complex technologies to the Russian renewable energy sector, which now features major global industry players like Vestas, Fortum, Siemens, Enel, and Lagerwey.

In December 2018, the Croatian Parliament adopted amendments to the Renewables Act and the Government adopted two implementing regulations, which jointly apply as of January 1, 2019 (the “2019 Amendments”). In this article we briefly outline the 2019 Amendments and then discuss how they affect the current Croatian incentives system for renewable energy sources (RES) and new investments in RES.

In honor of CMS Budapest’s 30-year anniversary – the Pearl anniversary, formally, in the city often called the Pearl of the Danube – we reached out to several of the prominent partners to learn a bit more about the changes they’ve seen over the years, and the practices they manage.

Switching to electric vehicles has become a trend, in Ukraine as across the world. Few are aware that, according to 2017 InsideEVs (the global platform that analyzes electric vehicle markets) Ukraine is among the top ten countries with the highest rate of electric vehicle sales.

In recent years, Russia has experienced intense development in its automotive industry. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the subsequent deep economic crisis, it quickly became apparent that the Russia’s automotive industry was unable to meet the needs of the newly developing automotive market in Russia. National producers lost market share to foreign manufacturers despite high import custom rates. Russian consumers were not willing to buy technically outdated national products and were looking for foreign brands.

The automotive industry is facing several changes that will shape the future of mobility and production. The car of the future will be electric, connected, and automated, and it will provide benefits for individual consumers and society as a whole. One major message of the recent Automotive in Transition Conference in Budapest was that the automation revolution is bringing challenges, but it is also bringing new opportunities for Hungary to emerge stronger from the transition process.

On the eve of a widely-expected global economic downturn, the Croatian economy finally emerged from “junk” investment status, and rating agencies now rank it as “investment” tier. Formal confirmation of this new status is expected to come in the course of spring 2019 – when the first signs of a slowdown in the local economy are already signalled. The country’s GDP is growing shyly but persistently and after five years of membership in the EU there is a visible uplift in the trade balance with export of goods and services (predominantly with other EU-member countries) as the main driver.

2018 was an eventful year from a compliance perspective, with data privacy, cyber security, and anti-money laundering among the key areas. Like other countries in the EU, Bulgaria has made steps to harmonize its legislation and follow the major legal trends in Europe.

Legislation and Strategic Changes in the Bulgarian Energy Sector: Several amendments were made to Bulgaria’s energy laws in 2018 facilitating the further liberalization of the energy market. Renewable energy producers exceeding 4 MW installed capacity that enjoyed offtake of their energy at Feed-In Tariff (FiT) were introduced to a different support scheme: Contracts for Premium (CfP), which became effective on January 1, 2019. Under CfP, renewables sell their electricity to the free market – either to the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) or to their balancing group coordinators.

In The Corner Office we ask Senior and Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: “What is the one skill, ability, or characteristic that fresh law school graduates in your country most commonly lack?”

The beginning of 2019 will mark the start of a major transformation of the Serbian tax system, bringing new and exciting opportunities for companies who do business or wish to invest in Serbia, but also bringing potential challenges concerning the practical application of new tax rules.

CMS at a Glance

CMS Sofia is a full-service law firm, the largest international law firm in Bulgaria and one of the largest providers of legal services in the local market as a whole. The breadth and depth of our practice means that our lawyers are specialised, with a level of specialisation that few of our competitors can match.

CMS Sofia is the Bulgarian branch of CMS, a top ten global legal and tax services provider with over 5000 lawyers in 43 countries and 78 offices across the world.

CMS entered the Bulgarian market as one of the first internationally active law firms in 2005 and is now among the most respected legal advisors in the country. We have 7 partners, 4 counsel and over 30 lawyers in our office in Sofia.

Our legal experts, who are rooted in Bulgaria’s local culture, can also draw on years of experience in foreign countries and are at home in several legal systems at once. We know the particularities of the local market just as well as the needs of our clients and combine both to achieve optimum solutions. Our lawyers are Bulgarian qualified and we also have English qualified experts – all of them regularly working on cross-border mandates.

In our work, we focus on M&A, Energy, Projects and Construction, Banking and Finance, Real Estate, Media, IP and IT law, Tax, Employment law, Competition, Procurement and any kind of Dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. What’s more, we also take care of the entire legal management of our clients’ projects.

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