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Establishment restrictions

ITALY

Since 2003

Chapter Intellectual Property Rights  |  Sub-chapter Copyright
Directive 2001/29/EC (The Copyright Directive)

Law no. 633/1941: Italian Copyright Law
In the European Union, there is no general principle for the use of copyright protected material comparable to the fair use/fair dealing principle in the US. Directive 2001/29/EC defines an optional, but exhaustive set of limitations from the author´s exclusive rights under the control of the “three-step test”. This is a clause in the Berne Convention that establishes three cumulative conditions to the limitations and exceptions of a copyright holder’s rights. The Directive has been transposed by Member States with significant freedom.

Italian copyright law does not recognize the principles of fair use/fair dealing, but only exceptions to the copyright.
Coverage Horizontal
Establishment restrictions

ITALY

Since 2013

Chapter Intellectual Property Rights  |  Sub-chapter Patents
EU Patent System
In 2013, a unified European system of patent's granting and enforcement was approved. The Unitary Patent (UP) provides a single pan-European patent as an additional option for companies or investors seeking patent protection in Europe. The system would ensure uniform protection in 26 Member States (Croatia and Spain have opted out over language issues, while Italy became a participant in September 2015) and also includes a litigation system within a Unified Patent Court (Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Poland and Spain have opted out).
Coverage Horizontal
Establishment restrictions

ITALY


Chapter Intellectual Property Rights  |  Sub-chapter Patents
Local presence requirement
In the patent application process, designation of the inventor is mandatory. Additionally, non-Italian residents must name a domicile in Italy, either directly or through a patent agent.
Coverage Horizontal
Establishment restrictions

ITALY

Since 2012

Chapter Investment  |  Sub-chapter Screening of investment and acquisitions
Official Gazette No. 111, Law 56/2012 establishing review mechanism for transactions in strategic industries
Law 56/2012 provides for a screening mechanism for foreign investment. However, there are no reports of cases where it was applied. The government may exercise certain special powers in certain activities of strategic importance, such as communications. In case there is a threat of serious injury to the essential interests of defense and national security, the Government has following special powers:
- to impose specific conditions in the purchase of shares;
- to veto the adoption of resolutions relating to special operations such as transfers, mergers, splitting up, and changes of activity;
- to reject the acquisition of shares, where the buyer seeks to hold a level of participation in the capital that is likely to prejudice the interests of defense and national security.
Coverage Telecommunication sector
Fiscal Restrictions

ITALY

Reported in January 2014

Chapter Public Procurement  |  Sub-chapter Technology mandate
Procurement law
The Italian government issued rules amending the procurement law that now requires all public administrations to first consider re-used or free software before using proprietary licenses. Importantly, the new rules include an enforcement mechanism, which can cancel decisions that do not follow these procedures.
Coverage Horizontal
Fiscal Restrictions

ITALY


Chapter Public Procurement  |  Sub-chapter Preferential purchase schemes covering digital products and services
Fiscal Restrictions

ITALY

Reported in 2014

Chapter Public Procurement  |  Sub-chapter Preferential purchase schemes covering digital products and services
Limitation to foreign participation
Italy’s public procurement practice is often criticized for a lack of transparency and corruption, especially at the local level. The Italian press has also recently reported on alleged corruption involving the abuse of emergency procurement laws.
Coverage Horizontal
Source
  • USTR, 2014 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers:

    https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2014%20NTE%20Report%20on%20FTB.pdf
Fiscal Restrictions

ITALY

Since January 2015

Chapter Taxation & Subsidies  |  Sub-chapter Discriminatory tax regime on online services
Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 1042/2013 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 282/2011, Mini One-Stop Shop (MOSS)
The European Regulation No. 1042/2013 amending the Council Implementing Regulation No. 282/2011, declares that from January 2015, all supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services will be taxable at the place where the customer belongs. These include, inter alia:
- images or text, such as photos, screensavers, e-books and other digitised documents e.g. PDF files;
- music, films and games, including games of chance and gambling games, and of programmes on demand;
- online magazines website supply or web hosting services distance maintenance of programmes and equipment;
- supplies of software and software updates advertising space on a website.

Both EU and non-EU suppliers have to register for VAT purposes and comply with the relevant obligations of the Member State where the customer is established, has his/her permanent address or usually resides. This may be burdensome as there are 81 VAT rates across the 28 EU countries and the rates may vary between 3% (Luxembourg) to 27% (Hungary) across member states. Furthermore, member states impose varying thresholds at which companies must begin paying VAT, ranging from EUR 0 to EUR 60,000.

As an alternative to obtaining multiple VAT registrations in each Member State where a supplier has a customer, affected suppliers may be able to opt to account for VAT across the EU via a a web-portal in the Member State in which they are identified. Hence, the system, known as the Mini One-Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, allows taxable persons to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption.
Coverage B2C suppliers of telecommunications, broadcasting and electronically supplied services
Fiscal Restrictions

ITALY

Since March 2014

Chapter Taxation & Subsidies  |  Sub-chapter Discriminatory tax regime on online services
VAT registration requirement
Italy reversed its introduction of a VAT registration requirement for providers of online advertising services (the law enacted in late December 2013 was repealed in March 2014).
Coverage Online advertising
Fiscal Restrictions

ITALY

Since 1941, last amended 1997
Since 2003
Since 2009

Chapter Taxation & Subsidies  |  Sub-chapter Discriminatory tax regime on digital goods and products
Directive 2001/29 (EU Copyright Directive)

Copyright Law (L.633/41, Art.71-septies)

Legislative Decree n. 68, April 2003

Decree of Minister of Culture and National Heritage of December 2009
The EU Copyright Directive allows “fair compensation” for copyright owners. As a result, several Member States have imposed national levy systems.

In Italy, manufacturers and importers have to pay a private copy levy upon their sales. The liability moment is when the goods are put on the market. Distributors are also liable when the manufacturer or importer does not comply. Manufacturers and importers have to report their sales quarterly. The following copyright levies apply:
- Data CD-R/RW: EUR 0.15 700 Mb.
- DVD+R/RW: EUR 0.41 4.7 Gb.
- Blu Ray/RW: EUR 0.41 25 Gb.
- Memory card: EUR 0.03/Gb 5 Gb and more.
- USB Stick: EUR 0.10/Gb >256 Mb to <4 Gb.

Furthermore, the following duties apply:
- Memory or hard disk inserted into a multimedia (audio/video), Walkman or other multimedia devices from EUR 3.22 to 1 GB to EUR 32.20; memory or hard disk inserted into MP3 music player or other Hi-Fi devices from EUR 0.64 for up to 128 Mb to EUR 12.88 (EUR 12.88 will increase by EUR 2.76 every 10 Gb) for 30 GM and more.
- Computer with integrated burner: EUR 2.40 per piece; computer without integrated burner: EUR 1.90 per piece and recording devices with no integrated memory or hard disk: 5% of price.
- Memory or Hard disk inserted into devices having communication as main purpose (mobile phone): EUR 0.90 per piece.
Coverage Storage media and equipment
Trading restrictions

IRELAND

n/a

Chapter Online sales and transactions  |  Sub-chapter Domain name (DNS) registration requirements
Registration Requirements IEDR
Ireland requires companies to show a connection with Ireland to apply for a .ie domain. A connection can be shown by a passport, by company registered in Ireland or by providing a service to Irish customers. Evidence that the company will be relocating to Ireland in the near future is also accepted.
Coverage Horizontal
Trading restrictions

IRELAND

Reported in August 2013

Chapter Online sales and transactions  |  Sub-chapter Barriers to fulfillment
De minimis rule
The European de minimis threshold for import duties is harmonized. Goods with a value of up to 131 SDR / 150 EUR / 198 USD are exempted from customs duties. The VAT de minimis threshold is not harmonized within the EU and can vary between 10 and 22 EUR, i.e. Member States can decide on a value within this range to grant an exemption on VAT for imported goods.

According to Irland's de minimis rule, goods with a value of up to 19 SDR / 22 EUR / 29 USD are exempted from VAT.
Coverage Horizontal
Restrictions on data

IRELAND


Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Lack of safe harbor for intermediary liability
Statutory Instrument No.68
The Directive 2000/31/EC (E-Commerce Directive) is the legal basis governing the liability of Internet Services Providers (ISPs) in the EU Member States and includes a conditional safe harbor. The Directive covers any type of infringement of third-party rights, including intellectual and industrial property rights and personality rights.

The limitations on liability in the Directive apply to clearly delimited activities (mere conduit, caching and hosting) carried out by internet intermediaries, rather than to categories of service providers or types of information. While it was not considered necessary to cover hyperlinks and search engines in the Directive, the Commission has encouraged Member States to further develop legal security for Internet intermediaries.

Since not all Member States have transposed the relevant articles consistently, the national case law is divergent and leads to legal insecurity on an EU level.

The Statutory Instrument No.68 implements the E-Commerce Directive into Irish law in an almost verbatim fashion. It provides, however, that the regulation cannot affect the power of any court to make an order against an intermediary service provider requiring the provider not to infringe, or to cease to infringe, any legal rights. It does not extend this exception to administrative authorities.
Coverage Internet intermediaries
Restrictions on data

IRELAND

Since July 2003

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Sanctions for non-compliance
Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data

Data Protection Act
According to the Directive 95/46/EC, the Member States shall adopt suitable measures to ensure the full implementation of the provisions of this Directive and shall in particular lay down the sanctions to be imposed in case of infringement of the provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive. The sanctions vary between member states.

In Ireland, fines can go up to EUR 100,000.
Coverage Horizontal
Restrictions on data

IRELAND

Since January 2011

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Data retention
Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC

Judgment European Court of Justice in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12 Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger and Others

Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011
Under the Directive on Data Retention, operators were required to retain certain categories of traffic and location data (excluding the content of those communications) for a period between six months and two years and to make them available, on request, to law enforcement authorities for the purposes of investigating, detecting and prosecuting serious crime and terrorism. On 8 April 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) declared the Directive invalid. However, not all national laws which implemented the Directive have been overturned.

In Ireland, the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 requiring 13 to 25 months data retention is still in force notwithstanding the ECJ ruling.
Coverage Telecommunication sector