Editorial Director: Giusella Finocchiaro
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posted by admin on luglio 18, 2017

E-commerce and contracts

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The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (the “MLETR”) on 13 July at its fiftieth session in Vienna.

The MLETR legally enables the use of electronic transferable records that are functionally equivalent to transferable documents and instruments including bills of lading, bills of exchange, promissory notes and warehouse receipts.

The use of electronic transferable records may bring a number of benefits to electronic commerce including speed and security of transmission as well as the possibility of reusing the information contained therein. Electronic transferable records may be particularly relevant for certain business areas such as transport and logistics and finance (fintech). Moreover, their use allows for the establishment a fully paperless trade environment.

The MLETR sets forth the requirements for the use of an electronic transferable record. In particular, it defines control as the functional equivalent of possession of a transferable document or instrument. The MLETR also provides guidance on the assessment of the reliability of the method used to manage the electronic transferable record, on change of medium (electronic to paper and the reverse), and on cross-border aspects, among other items.

The MLETR builds upon fundamental principles underlying existing UNCITRAL texts in the area of electronic commerce. In particular, the adoption of the principle of functional equivalence allows the MLETR to operate without affecting the substantive law applicable to transferable documents and instruments, and the adoption of the principle of technology neutrality allows to accommodate the use of all methods and technologies, including distributed ledgers (blockchain).

The MLETR is accompanied by an Explanatory Note that provides background information to assist States in enacting its provisions and to offer guidance to other users of the text.

The work on the preparation of the MLETR was undertaken by UNCITRAL Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce) from its 45th session in 2011 until its 54th session in 2016. The final version of the MLETR will be made available at UNCITRAL website.

 

 

posted by admin on luglio 16, 2017

E-commerce and contracts

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At its fiftieth session the UNCITRAL Commission adopted the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records. This is the result of work done by Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce.

The Model Law represents a significant further step forward in the development of electronic commerce and removes the legal obstacles to the international circulation of electronic transferable records. The Model Law is based on the UNCITRAL technology neutrality principle and on the functional equivalent approach.

Professor Giusella Finocchiaro is the current Chair of the Working Group on Electronic Commerce.

The Working Group has dealt with the definition and regulation of electronic transferable records from 2011 to 2016. On the 13th of July 2017, the Commission approved and adopted the Model Law.

 

 

 

The 50th annual session of the UNCITRAL Commission will be held in Vienna from the 3rd to the 21th July 2017. During the session the Commission will consider the deliberations and decisions of its Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce regarding the finalization and adoption of a Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records.

In 2011, the Commission mandated the Working Group IV to undertake work on electronic transferable records. The Working Group has worked on that subject from its forty-fifth session (Vienna, 10-14 October 2011) to its fifty-fourth session (Vienna, 31 October-4 November 2016). At its fifty-fourth session, the Working Group asked the Secretariat to revise both the draft model law on electronic transferable records and explanatory materials contained in document and to transmit the revised texts to the Commission for consideration at its fiftieth session. For these reasons, the Working Group invited the UNCITRAL Secretariat to forward the text to all Member States and international organisations for their opinions, in order to submit their comments to the UNCITRAL Commission at its 50th session.

Meanwhile, in 2016, the UNCITRAL Commission assigned to the Working Group a new project regarding new identity management and trust services, as well as cloud computing, underlying that it would have been premature to prioritize between the two topics. Therefore the Commission asked the Secretariat and the Working Group to continue updating and conducting preparatory work on the two topics, assessing their parallel execution and reporting back to the Commission so that it could make an informed decision at a future session, including the priority to give to each topic. In that context, it was mentioned that priority should be based on practical needs, rather than on how interesting the topic was or upon the feasibility of work.

 

 

 

The 54th session of UNCITRAL Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce brought to a close work on the regulation of “Electronic Transferable Records”, following which a new Working Group on Identity Management was formed.

During the last session in Vienna, Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) produced a final version of the International Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records and invited the UNCITRAL Secretariat to forward the text to all Member States and international organisations for their opinions, after which the text will then be submitted to the UNCITRAL Commission in Vienna in July 2017.

Over the last five years the Working Group’s activity focused on the definition, the rules and the use of these particular electronic financial data. As its President, Giusella Finocchiaro chaired the Working Group from 2012 until the termination of its work.

In its activity concerning ETRs, the Working Group drew inspiration from a number of fundamental principles such as those of technology neutrality and of non-discrimination between paper and electronic documents, keeping the impact on national substantive legislation to a minimum.

At the same time as they brought to an end their analysis of Electronic Transferable Records, the Working Group initiated a discussion on the new Identity Management project assigned by the Commission, which is currently an issue of significant national and international interest.

The new Working Group will be required to focus both on Digital Identification systems with a diversity of subjects and on bilateral systems and will have to take into consideration the identities of both natural persons and legal persons, without at the moment excluding digital objects. There was a reminder that the Commission’s mandate also concerns “Trust Services” the detailed study of which will be made in the future, but which will immediately be taken into consideration working out their definitions.

Therefore a group of experts has been created for the elaboration of first drafts. Given that the European Regulation on this subject has recently come into force, the European approach, which the Commission strongly supports, will be most significant.

 

The Italian Government has signed an agreement with the Chinese e-commerce giant in order to promote the excellence of Italian agricultural products and to fight against the phenomenon of counterfeit produce.

The agreement will enable Italian producers to satisfy the increasing demand for typical Italian products on the Chinese platform, which counts over 430 million consumers. The agreement aims at guaranteeing our Italian brands with a high level of protection against the counterfeit products market. This is also an important result in light of the fact that for decades the WTO has been searching for an adequate form of protection, which in this case has been achieved with a private company in the space of just a few months.

Since last year it has no longer been possible to find counterfeit Italian agricultural produce and foodstuffs on the Chinese website, which has prevented the monthly sale of 99 thousand tonnes of counterfeit Parmesan cheese, 10 times more than the production of the authentic cheese itself, and the sale of 13 million bottles of Prosecco which did not originate from the Veneto Region (in Italy). Italy is currently the only country on Alibaba, which has granted the same level of anti-counterfeit protection to DOP and IGP products as that provided for commercial brands. A level of protection which under this agreement is extended from the b2b platform, accessible solely to companies, to the b2c platform, consequently assuring that those 430 million Alibaba website users will be able to purchase genuine “Made in Italy” products.

The Ministry of Agriculture has set up an operational task force at the Anti-Fraud Inspectorate with the aim of identifying and reporting counterfeit products on a daily basis. The ads are removed within 3 days and the vendors are informed that they are violating Italian geographical indications and designations of origin.

We should point out that Italy has also invested in the promotion of Italian wine and food on the Chinese e-commerce platform. With this agreement Alibaba has undertaken to instruct both vendors and consumers on the importance of geographical indications and designations of origin in the food industry.

 

 

On the 2nd of May 2016 a draft law was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, which aims at “regulating digital platforms for the sharing of goods and services”, and at “promoting an economy based on mutual sharing”. The purpose is to regulate the so-called sharing economy through an across-the-board approach to different professional areas.

Italy would be the first country to regulate this booming economic sector, which includes such by now notorious services as Uber (now prohibited in Italy) and AirBnB.

The draft text is the result of eighteen months’ work carried out by the Parliamentary Intergroup for Technological Innovation. Article 1 lays down the law’s objectives, while Article 2 clarifies the definition of “sharing economy”, establishing that services for which providers determine a fixed charge are not to be included. Article 3 calls for sharing platforms to register with a national electronic register kept by the Italian Antitrust Authority. With the creation of an electronic register, platforms will have to obtain the approval of the Authority, whose task it will be to evaluate inconsistencies and possible infringements (or acts of unfair competition against the traditional sectors).

However, it is principally the fiscal aspect, which the draft law aims to regulate. The new regulation provides for 10% taxation on the revenue generated by platforms, up to a maximum of 10,000€ per year, which can also comprise sums for different services. The obligation for payment of the taxes would lie with the platforms themselves, which would be required to withhold the amounts due from the takings of registered customers, thus acting as withholding agents. On exceeding the threshold of 10,000€, the income made by platforms will be considered as actual earnings, to be added to those already made. New rules have also been provided for payments, which must henceforth only be carried out by digital means.

The signatories of the draft law expect this operation to raise tax revenue from 150 million € to 3 billion € by 2025.

The draft law has started its approval procedure at the Joint Parliamentary Commissions of Transport and Productive Activities.

posted by admin on maggio 9, 2016

E-commerce and contracts

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The fifty-third session of the Working Group on Electronic Commerce of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) will be held in New York, from 9th to 13th May 2016.

The Working Group’s activity will once again focus on “electronic transferable records”, with particular reference to current operating practices and related legislative issues. During the session there will be an analysis of the international draft provisions on the matter, which have been drawn up by the Secretariat on the basis of the deliberations of previous meetings.

As usual, the session was attended by Full Professor Giusella Finocchiaro as President of the Working Group and representative of the Italian Government at UNCITRAL. For further information please consult the section covering Working Group activities on the UNCITRAL website.

 

 

Digital identity management and trust services will be the main themes discussed at the colloquium convened by the Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), that will take place on the 21st and 22nd of April 2016 at the Vienna International Centre.

During the meeting, Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce will focus its activity on legal issues related to identity management and trust services with a view to compiling information on the scope and methodology of future work in that area. The session will be attended by Full Professor Giusella Finocchiaro as President of the Working Group and representative of the Italian Government at UNCITRAL.

For further information please consult the section covering Working Group activities on UNCITRAL website.

 

 

posted by admin on dicembre 15, 2015

E-commerce and contracts

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In the European scenario, e-commerce is regulated by Directive 2000/31/CE on electronic commerce which provides a bare minimum of rules applicable to contracts finalised on the Internet.

With regard to contracts finalised online by consumers, certain uniform rules are provided concerning unfair terms, the obligation to inform and termination. Specific procedural protection is also provided for.

When a consumer finalises a contract with a professional operator without having any say in the terms of the contract, (for example in the case of those pre prepared contracts on Internet websites, where the only choice the consumer has in order to conclude the purchase is to click a button), Directive 93/13/CEE, as modified by Directive 2011/83/EU, is applicable.

According to this Directive, Member States must provide that any unfair terms found in a contract are non-binding on the consumer. Any such terms are those which have not been negotiated between the consumer and the professional operator and cause a significant imbalance in the rights of the two parties. For example, this occurs in Italy, where the Consumer Code of Rights (D.lgs. 206/2005) provides that such clauses, also in those contracts finalised online, are totally null and void unless the professional operator is able to demonstrate that they have been individually negotiated with the consumer.

In B2C contracts finalised online, the professional operator has the added obligation of providing the consumer with information about the state and conditions of the contract. For example, Directive 2011/83/EU requires the professional operator to provide consumers with information about the main characteristics of the goods or services purchased in addition to the identity of the trader and the geographical location from which they operate.

As additional protection for consumers who purchase goods on the Internet, Directive 2011/83/EU provides the possibility for them to withdraw from the contract within fourteen days without giving reasons.

With regard to procedural protection, Regulation 1215/2012/EU states that the court competent to rule on legal disputes concerning B2C contracts may differ depending on whether the legal action is brought by the consumer or by the professional operator. In the case of legal action brought by the consumer, they may choose whether to start the proceeding before the court of the place in which they are domiciled or, alternatively, to start it before the court of the Member State in which the other party is domiciled. On the contrary, if it is the professional operator who brings the legal action, they will only be able to start the proceeding before the court of the Member State in whose territory the consumer is domiciled.

 

 

posted by admin on novembre 6, 2015

E-commerce and contracts

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The fifty-second session of the Working Group on electronic commerce of the United Nations Committee on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) will be held at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna from the 9th to the 13th November 2015.

The Working Group will work on notes by the Secretariat presenting the draft provisions on electronic transferable records.

In addition, the Working Group will hear an oral report of technical assistance and coordination activities undertaken by the Secretariat, including the promotion of UNCITRAL texts on electronic commerce.

During the previous session the Working Group deliberated on notes by the Secretariat presenting the draft provisions on electronic transferable records.

Session documents are available on the Working Group web page.

 

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