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Recently published case law from Hungary’s National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition – the Hungarian acronym is OGYEI – deals with various aspects of pharmaceutical promotional activities and interactions with health care providers. The OGYEI investigated the commercial practices of Aramis Pharma Kft., Lilly Hungaria Kft., and Sager Pharma Kft., and imposed fines following the discovery of infringements.

On September 24, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Baker McKenzie’s Prague office had advised Worldline SA/NV on its acquisition of a 53% of stake in GoPay. JSK and Urban & Hejduk advised the sellers on the deal, Pavel Schwarz Jr. and BUDEX Direct.

The amendment to the Act on the Control of Certain Investments (the “Act”) that came into effect on July 24, 2020 has vested the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection – the UOKIK – with broad new powers. The new rules are temporary and will be in force for 24 months. On July 21, 2020, the UOKIK issued 50-page long, detailed procedural guidelines, which unfortunately are not available in English.

All European countries are now facing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and each state is undertaking different measures to limit the spread of the virus. Recently, the Polish government has extended the so-called “export ban list” – a list of, in particular, medicinal products and medical devices the export or sale of which abroad may be subject to the objection of the Chief Pharmaceutical Inspector. This list grew by over a thousand items in the past month and has changed from a list of products subject to parallel export due to price differences to a list of products that we want to keep in Poland. Also, the President of the Office for Registration has asked pharmaceutical companies to consider launching clinical trials in these unique circumstances.

A specific form of cooperation was introduced in Austria in 2018 and will become effective on January 1, 2019: Upon the taxpayer’s request, an enterprise may opt for a “horizontal monitoring” procedure. This new law was introduced after a pilot project in which internationally renowned enterprises such as Red Bull, Shell Austria, and Infineon Technologies participated (although whether these enterprises will also participate in the new “horizontal monitoring” procedure is not yet known).

On July 9, 2018, the German and Austrian competition authorities published joint guidelines regarding the transaction value thresholds of their respective merger regimes.

The commercial real estate market in Poland continues to be on a growth path. In 2017, the market recorded high demand in all major asset classes, breaking records in the hotel and warehouse sectors. The total value of transactions is growing consistently, and in 2017 it reached EUR 5.1 billion – the highest level in the history of the Polish market.

Against the backdrop of the many significant and at times highly controversial changes being made to Polish law at the moment, the country is close to enacting its first ever serious whistleblower protection laws. What will this protection look like, and what does its passage mean for Poland?

After a valuable and information-rich day of panel discussions on important business development and law firm management topics, participants reconvened that evening (and were joined by several dozen newcomers) at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Annual Banquet and Deal of the Year Awards Ceremony – a celebration of CEE’s legal markets and the lawyers who work within them. Awards were presented for 17 qualifying markets in CEE – plus a surprise award for overall CEE Deal of the Year – with many of the lawyers playing key roles in nominated deals joining the celebration.

In Western Europe, offshore wind farms have been successfully used for a long time. Meanwhile, no power-generating installation of this type is currently operating on the waters of the Baltic Sea under Polish control.

The Deal: On June 20, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Esin Attorney Partnership and Baker McKenzie had advised Turkven Private Equity, the Akarlilar Family, and Mavi Giyim Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., the Turkish jeans and jeans-wear company, on Mavi’s IPO, with White & Case advising underwriters Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Is Yatirim. 

On August 17, a gathering of Dispute Resolution experts from many of the leading domestic and international law firms in Ukraine gathered in Baker McKenzie’s Kyiv offices for a Round Table conversation. 

Hungarian lawyer Peter Paroczi is the Director Counsel at Harman International, the US-based consumer electronics company. He joined Harman in Budapest earlier this year, after spending four years in private practice and then another seven in-house, first with Samsung Electronics, then at E.On. He agreed to answer some of our questions about his career.

Pro bono is a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good,” and, in the lawyering context, it refers to legal services provided free of charge, generally to indigent clients or charities or other public interest institutions unable to afford standard legal fees. The practice, which in its current form was developed first in Western legal markets, has seen a significant increase in recent years in CEE as well. Hungary is among the countries leading the way.

The Parties’ Positions

In state court proceedings, Claimant requested indemnity pursuant to Section 24 of the Austrian Commercial Agents Act, basing the Austrian court’s jurisdiction on Section 99 of the Law on Court Jurisdiction, pursuant to which a person who does not have a forum generale in Austria may nevertheless be sued in Austrian courts if he or she has assets within the district of an Austrian court. Claimant argued that Respondent had assets in Austria as it had an outstanding claim against it.

“Parallel proceedings” are disputes between the same and/or related parties in the same or related disputes in different forums. Parallel proceedings usually arise when court and arbitration proceedings are commenced simultaneously to resolve the same case or a case that will in some way affect the other. Disputes arising out of shareholders’ agreements and articles of association, in particular, come under the spotlight in Turkey in the context of parallel proceedings.

Czech lawyers, not known for ebullience, are nonetheless finding it hard to keep the smiles off their faces. After a decade of disappointment and struggle, if the Managing Partners at Czech firms are to be believed, the last remnants of the global financial crisis have dissipated and business is booming. As spring rolls through Central Europe, the sunshine is both meteorological and metaphoric. Prague is basking in the warmth.

Baker McKenzie at a Glance

Baker McKenzie brings insight and foresight to clients across more than 70 global offices. Our team of 13,000 people, including over 6,500 lawyers, works alongside our clients to drive growth that is both sustainable – and inclusive. The global business community is more interconnected than ever before. Opportunities and risks spill across different markets, sectors and areas of law, so a connected perspective is essential in delivering business objectives while mitigating risk. Our integrated client solutions provide seamless advice, underpinned by deep practice and sector expertise, as well as first-rate local market knowledge.

In the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, Baker McKenzie's expansion remains steadfast, with a thriving team of over legal professionals. Our footprint extends across six offices in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Türkiye, and Ukraine. As part of our global network, coupled with well-established partnerships throughout the entire CEE landscape, we proudly stand as one of the foremost international law firms in this dynamic territory. Our reputation as a premier business law firm in CEE is a testament to our extensive experience in advising on a multitude of prestigious projects and nurturing enduring client relationships.

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