Industry focus: Food in Italy
'Experts in food law', Studio Legale Corte specialises exclusively in food law, advising on food composition, production, labelling, advertising and hygiene. The firm also defends clients in criminal cases and challenges regulatory sanctions. Elena Corte combines 'in-depth knowledge and strong problem-solving skills' with her expertise in commercial fraud cases, while Paola Corte is recognised for her 'high level of competence' in the technical and legal aspects of food production. Clients include a number of large and mid-sized retail and production companies, restaurant chains and associations, some of which have maintained partnerships with the firm for over 20 years.
‘We are a company that works in the large-scale retail trade and our needs are perfectly matched with the firm’s skills, both in terms of technical knowledge of the sector and precision and attention in compliance with deadlines.’
‘The team has complete skills in the field and gives complete and quick answers to every legal issue.’
‘Competence and speed in responding to the questions submitted.’
‘In this particular sector I believe Studio Corte is simply the best in the country.‘
‘The team has a great expertise in food law matters as consultant and all the team members are excellent lawyers in representing the company in front of the courts. It’s rare to find both skills in a single law firm.‘
‘Short response time; high quality advice and always to the point (no unnecessary lengthy explanations); very flexible in pricing.’
‘Paola Corte’s high level of competence is very clear every time she manages any of our consulting requests, providing the best alternative and the best solution for our company. Her polite authority is always expressed with grace and sympathy.‘
‘It’s a pleasure to work with Elena Corte. She is a very competent lawyer. A very important thing that distinguishes her from some other lawyers is that she spends a lot of time to give us detailed explanations on the legal aspects so that we understand what’s happening and what could happen. We definitely trust her.’
‘Many firms claim to be experts in food law, only few deserve this qualification, and Studio Legale Corte is one of them.’
‘Marco Dallavalle: professional, clear in the explanation and consequent resolution of the problems we submitted.’
‘We work above all with Elena Corte, and we have had the opportunity to appreciate on various occasions her professionalism, availability and her clear way of dealing with and explaining the various details.‘
- Advising on the composition and labelling of a new entire line of private label food products (about 250 products) for a large-scale Italian supermarket retailer.
- Performing a complete review of the HACCP system of a company with several restaurant chains.
- Representing food business operators, whose meat and fish products were sampled by supervisory bodies and found to have microbiological levels exceeding allowed limits, in around 20 criminal cases.
The sizeable food practice at Mondini Rusconi Studio Legale fields an 'excellent and professional' team. Clients include major Italian and international food producers and distributors. Team head Giorgio Rusconi specialises in food hygiene, labelling and advertising, farming, and responsibilities of food business operators. His reputation has helped the firm keep ahead of the curve. In recent work, the group advised new client Deliveroo on the creation of the new menu tool. Senior associate Omar Cesana has advised high-profile international clients such as Nutraceutical International and a major US fast-food chain on compliance regarding health and nutritional claims.
‘Very good knowledge of law. Dedicated to clients.‘
‘The strong experience and the high reliability are very appreciated by clients who need to receive a detailed analysis of complex issues in a short time frame.‘
‘Deeply involved and focused on food law. Very well-informed about emerging risks.’
‘Giorgio Rusconi and his team have built a solid food law department, able to assist companies on several complex issues, in a constantly evolving legal environment.‘
‘Multidisciplinary team prepared and well coordinated by Giorgio Rusconi. Speed of assistance, professionalism and excellent ability to respond even to questions concerning non-European countries.’
Treasury Wine Estates
Acetificio Marcello De Nigris
Consorzio Aceto Balsamico di Modena
Consorzio ‘Nduja di Spilinga
Coop Nord Ovest
Distillerie Fratelli Branca
- Assisting DM with the creation and implementation of a platform that allows various market operators to access performance data of entire product categories.
- Advising US company Nutraceutical International on compliance with regulations concerning food supplements and botanicals.
- Advising Treasury Wine Estates on product labelling regulations.
Praised for its 'communication and innovation skills', Bird & Bird assists a number of domestic and international clients from the food and beverage industry with food law, IP matters and M&A. In particular, the practice has developed extensive experience advising Italian consortia, such as Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano and the Consorzio di Prosecco, whose protected designations of origins (PDO) it regularly protects from local and international infringements. Team heads Giovanni Galimberti and Massimiliano Mostardini are widely recognised IP specialists. Rita Tardiolo was promoted to counsel in May 2019; she has expertise advising on regulatory compliance, health claims and labelling.
Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano
Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco
- Acting for Cornsorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano against an Italian company illicitly using and exploiting its PDO.
- Acting for Consorzio di Prosecco in a dispute with a German company illicitly exploiting the PDO to distinguish aromatised wine-based cocktails.
- Representing Cargill in an infringement proceeding filed by Roquette before the Court of Appeal of Milan.
The food team at DLA Piper is known for its 'comprehensive and always practical' advice and 'outstanding responsiveness' in dealing with its high-profile roster of clients from the food industry. Wolf Michael Kühne heads the team, and is highly regarded as a corporate adviser supporting clients, such as Lidl, in cross-border matters, especially in bilateral relationships between Italy and Germany. The group has expertise in labour law, HR, financing, advertising, partnership agreements and M&A. The team has recently provided strategic advice to Starbucks on all matters relating to the setting up of its Italian business.
‘The team has strong capabilities in IP litigation and in non-contentious issues such as licensing agreements and prize competitions. Advice is easy to understand, short, but comprehensive and always practical. Outstanding responsiveness and deep understanding/knowledge of the legal and business matters are surely key capabilities which distinguish the lawyers.‘
‘Elena Varese is a rising star of the field, thanks to both her hard skills and personal approach. Elena has outstanding capabilities both as an IP and advertising litigator. She understands our business and complex situations well, is able to anticipate our requests, and thinks outside the box. She has great attention to detail and a strategic vision. An excellent balance between technical and communication skills.‘
Hard Rock Café Italy
Holding Dolciaria Industriale
- Acting for Lidl Italia in trade mark infringement and defamation claims.
- Advising PM Food on the franchising of Paper Moon Restaurants.
- Acting for Montenegro in advertising claims and possible challenges regarding misleading geographical indications for a promotional product launch campaign.
LCA Studio Legale's food law team in Milan is headed by Nicola Lucifero, who specialises in food law matters, where he handles both advisory work and litigation. He acts for Italian and international companies, as well as public and private agencies, involved in the agri-food supply chain on food law, competition law, intellectual property law and customer protection matters. The group has considerable knowledge of European and international regulations and is able to provide advice from a global perspective. Highlights included advising Spanish food delivery company Foodinho on Italian rules and regulations concerning food and IT-related law.
‘Deep knowledge of the subject, great business partner, solution oriented.’
‘Very available to find solutions within legal boundaries.‘
Castello di Roncade
Del Monte Italy
- Advising Spanish food delivery company Foodinho on Italian rules and regulations concerning food and IT-related law.
- Assisting a major Italian bakery with the compliance assessment of 700 labels and claims related to its food products.
- Advising Castello di Roncade on the negotiation of an international distributor agreement and on its participation in a tendering process, worth €8m.
The 'fast, efficient and business-oriented' food team at Nctm Studio Legale is headed by Bernard O'Connor, a trade specialist and expert in EU and WTO law, who assists international clients that are expanding their food business in the EU or in Italy. The practice, which is well respected for its 'high level of competency and expertise', mainly assists Italian food clients with M&A, corporate matters and procurement. Italian clients include Salumificio Fratelli Beretta, which the firm assisted with a number of labour, corporate law and M&A matters. Paolo Lazzarino, Raffaele Caldarone and Lucilla Casati are also noted.
‘The team is well-prepared and always available to provide support when requested.’
‘Paolo Lazzarino is able to read the customer’s needs and provide a customised opinion very quickly.’
‘The individuals I work with are well-prepared and competent; they are also nice to work with and happy to support us.‘
‘Raffaele Caldarone understands our needs very well and very quickly and always provides high quality advice. Another member of the team is Lucilla Casati (Milan office); we have appreciated her responsiveness and skills.‘
Jackson Family Wines
Acqua Minerale San Benedetto
Salumificio Fratelli Beretta
Tate & Lyle
AB Inbev Italia
Associated British Foods
Istituto Biochimico Farmaceutico Fassi
- Advising Jackson Family Wines on authorisations for its winery in Siena, Italy, in an ongoing matter worth €100,000.
- Assisting Acqua Minerale San Benedetto with the agreement and signing of a new multi-year strategic collaboration contract with Ferrero.
- Handling several matters involving corporate and employment law issues for the Italian subsidiary of Tate & Lyle.
CMS acts for a number of major multinational companies in the food sector, including Deliveroo, which it advised on commercial contracts, advertising and data protection issues in Italy, and Diageo. Team head Paola Ghezzi has notable expertise handling product labelling and recall campaigns. Other areas of advice include commercial, data privacy, corporate and competition issues. The team is also active in product compliance and import/export-related issues.
- Providing Diageo with comprehensive legal assistance.
- Advised Deliveroo on commercial contracts, advertising and data protection issues in Italy.
Well respected for its 'extensive' knowledge, the team at Trevisan & Cuonzo works for clients in the food industry, providing assistance with IP and trade mark matters in Italy and abroad. Headed by Luca Trevisan and Gabriel Cuonzo, the practice is particularly experienced in bringing cases before courts relating to the protection of different food varieties (especially fruit, vegetable and cereal varieties). Vincenzo Acquafredda, head of the Bari office, is also known for his expertise in food law, which he brought to bear on a matter for Sicasov, a French cooperative which defends breeders' rights over their plant creations.
‘I usually work with Mrs Daniela Ampollini. She has deep knowledge in the intellectual property field.‘
Grape & Grape Group
- Acting for Planitalia in two proceedings before the Court of Potenza for the protection of a new strawberry variety.
- Representing O.P. Secondulfo in legal proceedings before the Court of Milan regarding plant breeders’ rights in relation to a protected seedless white table grape variety.
- Defending Agridè in trade mark infringement and unfair competition proceedings before the Court of Bari.
The food team at Withers Studio Legale is particularly active in the wine space. Notably, it advised Casa Vinicola Zonin on a €65m investment from Capitoloventiquattro and a €145m debt restructuring in late 2018. The firm is known for providing corporate and commercial assistance to clients in the food industry as well as its considerable expertise in IP (labelling, e-commerce, and multi-jurisdictional sale and distribution). Practice head Roberta Crivellaro specialises in corporate and commercial cross-border transactions for luxury brands and food clients.
Casa Vinicola Zonin
- Assisting UK hospitality company Soho House with the opening of two new hotels in Rome, its first investments in Italy.
- Acting for Goglio in proceedings brought against suppliers for breach of sale contracts.
- Handling the sale of hospitality company Foodball’s shares in order to make it possible for a new shareholder, an expert in sports and entertainment, to join.