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I. Introduction: Drones (coll.; "unmanned aircraft [systems or vehicles]" in technical terms) are aircraft operated with no pilot on board. Once mainly developed and used for military purposes, drones are increasingly influencing our everyday lives. Drones vary greatly in size, performance and type. Civil drones are operated for risky flights to accident areas (e.g. firefighting, overflying flooded areas, finding missing persons3), can assist authorities4 (e.g. border control), deliver commercial services such as infrastructure (e.g. bridges, railways, nuclear plants) maintenance and monitoring, aerial mapping (e.g. for construction planning, insurance, urban planning), filming6 (see "Can flying photo drones be shot down?"), farming7, forestry, fisheries or may deliver packages. In fact, taxi drones may turn out to be a landmark in drone operations (see "Taxi drone EHang 216 takes off in Austria"). Considering that unmanned aerial toys will increasingly impact the Single European sky airspace, proper harmonised rules on safe and secure drone operation within the EU and its internal (aviation) market are urgently needed. EU-wide harmonised rules on civil drones must take into account their great variety of use these days.

In February 2019 the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic submitted a bill that aims to provide whistleblowers credible tools to report illegal conduct in the workplace and protect them against potential reprisals. The bill also introduces new duties for many employers.

The CRISPR method: Genome editing designates new methods that allow targeted interventions to be carried out in the genetic material, the genome of a cell. The CRISPR/Cas method is a molecular biological method to specifically cut and modify DNA ("genome editing" or "gene scissors"). Genes can be inserted with the CRISPR/Cas9 method or used only remotely or switched off. This method was discovered in 2012, originally as a defence mechanism of bacteria against viruses. Soon, researchers around the world were using it to modify the DNA of a wide variety of organisms.

PRK Partners has advised the Remy Cointreau Group on Czech and Slovak aspects of the sale of its Czech and Slovak distribution companies to Germany's Mast-Jagermeister. Germany's Luther law firm provided advice on German elements of the deal, which closed in April 2019. while Germany's Gutt Olk Feldhaus and Schoenherr in the Czech Republic and Slovakia reportedly advised Mast-Jagermeister. Financial details were not disclosed.

In a recent decision (Ra 2015/11/0113), the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH) inter alia addressed the question whether the application of stem cell therapy violates Section 49 of the Austrian Act on the Medical Profession (Ärztegesetz, ArzteG), which requires physicians to treat patients "… in accordance with state of the art medical science and practice" and to at all times act in the best interest of the patients.

Schoenherr has advised South Korean investment fund KTB Investment & Securities and KTB Asset Management on the indirect acquisition of the T-Center, an office building in Vienna, from GENO Saturn Tower/T-Center Immobilienbeteiligungsholding GmbH & Co.OG and BEGO - ZWP GmbH. The sellers were advised by DSC Doralt Seist Csoklich Rechtsanwalte.

Starting or continuing a mining project has always been subject to various licensing requirements. However, an amendment to spatial planning laws that became effective on March 15, 2019 increases the regulatory challenges faced by investors by introducing a completely new condition for obtaining the local municipality’s blessing, even for operations that are already underway. Therefore, the aftermath of the most recent regulatory changes should not be underestimated, as the number of mining sites exceeds 800 in Hungary.

Schoenherr Sofia Managing Partner Alexandra Doytchinova starts by talking about what’s happening — or rather, what’s not happening — in the Bulgarian legal market. “Nothing has moved,” she says, "which is not surprising, because Bulgaria is very conservative in this respect. Firms splitting and merging happens once in five years, if at all. So there’s nothing happening there on this front.”

The Hungarian Government is considering creating new legislation to cover all kinds of insolvency proceedings, including bankruptcy, liquidation, winding-up, and dissolution proceedings. This move has been roundly welcomed, especially by creditors, as the current law is from 1991, and although it has been amended numerous times, it counts as an outdated and much-criticized piece of legislation.

Bulgarian anti-money laundering law requires that companies and other entities having their seat in Bulgaria register their ultimate beneficial owner(s). The registration is mandatory, and the deadline for registration is approaching. These obligations arise from the Bulgarian Anti-Money-Laundering Measures Act (2018) transposing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 (4th AML Directive) into national law.

Following the adoption of the new EU framework for screening of foreign direct investments (see Schoenherr Newsletter 13.03.2019), the Austrian government recently published a draft bill to amend the current rules on foreign direct investments (FDI) into Austria. This draft is currently under review and shall enter into force in summer 2019.

Schoenherr at a Glance

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 14 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

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