With uncertainties surrounding a "no deal" Brexit meanwhile culminating in fears of a "super hard" Brexit, financial institutions in the UK, the EU27 and beyond are eager in search of solutions that preserve continuity of contracts and that contain the numerous legal and regulatory risks for institutions on both sides of the Channel.
Factoring is an increasingly popular product of banks that appeals to corporate clients of whatever size as it provides liquidity to the clients and stable cash flow. The factoring is usually structures in a way that the vendors of the client do not receive information on the factoring, the bank stays in the background; the relationship between the client and its vendor remains intact. In practice, this means that the client continues to collect the amounts the vendor owes, although such amounts do not belong to the client anymore. Also, it is not uncommon that even the soft workout stage stays with the client in case the vendor is in delay with its payment obligation; i.e. the client will be obliged to chase its vendor for the money.
The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) recently published a strategy paper presenting its views on consumer protection in the digital age. The paper subtly indicates that the HCA will continue to follow the European Commission's guidance in this regard. The paper highlights the measures which the HCA deems necessary to protect consumers and keep up with the developments and companies central to this process.
As in all EU member states, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in Austria on 25 May 2018. The centrepiece of Austria's GDPR implementing legislation was the Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 (for further details please see "Draft Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 in appraisal" and "Proposals to alter national Data Protection Act").
Trademark owners and unconventional trademark enthusiasts should pay close attention to a new amendment to the Czech Act on Trademarks, which is expected to come into force on 1 January 2019. The new law implementing the EU's Trademark Directive 2015/2436 will enable registration of marks that are identical with an earlier trademark. This may prove upsetting for unwary trademark owners. At the same time, the new legislation might inspire greater creativity, as it will open doors for non-traditional trademarks.
On 30 November 2018, a new law implementing several changes to existing legislation (1), notably to the Civil Code and the Commercial Companies Code, as well as to tax laws, was announced. The new law, which will enter into force at the beginning of 2019 (with respect to matters commented on below, mostly as of 1 March 2019).
Business corporations have been criminally liable in the Czech Republic since January 2012. A December 2016 amendment has introduced the possibility to exculpate oneself from criminal liability if the company "has applied all efforts that could be reasonably expected from it" to avert an offence. Nowadays, in practice this means setting up a suitable compliance management system ("CMS"). But what should a CMS look like to effectively exculpate a company? To answer this question, the new, second methodology devoted to this topic of the Czech General Prosecutor's Office of August 2018 should be of assistance (the "Methodology").
This seems to be a hot year-end for Romanian infrastructure, with the government recently launching the first public procedure for the award of a strategic infrastructure project under the new Romanian PPP legislation: the construction of the Ploiesti-Brasov motorway. If successful, the project will validate the effectiveness of the new PPP legal framework, while also putting an end to a series of failed attempts to build this motorway under concession or PPP regimes.
Two concentrations recently prohibited by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition with limited analysis have been widely criticized for their lack of valid economic arguments. Because both decisions were highly publicized and concern the politically sensitive sectors of media and energy, they are worth special attention.
The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition (the "Commission") is taking steps to encourage the birth rate in Serbia, one of the country's primary political objectives. Its contribution to achieve that objective is current antitrust investigation on the baby care product market, which could ultimately lead to a price decrease and reduction of costs of raising a child in Serbia. Almost 200 undertakings are under investigation for applying resale price maintenance ("RPM"), making this investigation the biggest in the history of Serbian antitrust enforcement. This case was initiated ex-officio in April 2018, when the Commission raided Keprom d.o.o. and Yuglob d.o.o, two importers and distributors, and several retailers of baby care products. Following the dawn raid, the Commission opened four more investigations against the same distributors and their retailers (four cases in July) and, finally, on 22 September 2018, the Commission proudly announced that it had initiated investigations against 172 undertakings (the "Baby Products Investigation").
Technology and innovation are key drivers of advancement in a variety of industries, and certainly in healthcare. The level of patient care can be improved considerably with the right mix of traditional and innovative treatments and solutions. Nevertheless, there are regulatory challenges to overcome.
Romania’s Competition Council is one of the country’s most active and demanding regulatory authorities, with hundreds of sector inquiries and investigations conducted in two decades of activity and significant fines being levied against offenders each year. The powers of the RCC have increased in recent years, as a result of efforts to encourage and protect whistleblowers, new developments in forensic procedures, and cross-border cooperation and action. In addition, the European Commission’s March 22, 2017 proposal to empower national competition authorities is expected to increase the RCC’s reach and efficiency.
Companies have until 1 February 2019 to register their beneficial owners in the Bulgarian Commercial Register and Register for Non-profit Legal Persons (the "Commercial Register"). This obligation comes as a result of the adoption of a new Law on the measures against money laundering in March this year (the "AML Law").
Debate is raging about the Romanian "offshore" law setting out the legal framework for oil & gas exploration and production in the Black Sea offshore perimeters (the "Offshore Law" or the "Law"), fuelling political turmoil and deterring investment. After a failed attempt to pass the Offshore Law in summer, there are signs of much needed stability.