We asked our contributors to tell us about the most important updates that took place in their jurisdiction and work area in 2022. Here’s what they said.

Aviation

Our contributors to the Aviation newsletter reflected on the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. In Italy, passenger numbers are set to fully recover from the dip caused by the pandemic over the next few years, despite setbacks caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the resulting rise in fuel prices in 2022. Meanwhile, Germany has been busy dealing with passenger refunds resulting from pandemic-related delays – in particular, the courts have been examining the applicability of the EU Flight Compensation Regulation in cases concerning agency fees and connecting flights.

Passenger claims have also been under the spotlight in Spain: a judiciary system reform means that airlines can now be sued anywhere in Spain, while a controversial new alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure has raised questions about the difference in treatment between airlines and passengers. ADR procedures may also be set for further development in the German and Italian aviation sectors following the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in C-561/20.

Our contributors to the Aviation newsletter highlighted that sustainability is high on the agenda for 2023: the Italian Civil Aviation Authority’s National Plan for Airports specifically calls on the Italian air transport sector to address challenges relating to the environment and sustainability, while an increase in the use of sustainable aviation fuel is likely to be seen in Germany due to increasing governmental pressure.

Competition & Antitrust

Merger control was one of the most important topics for our contributors to the Competition & Antitrust newsletter in 2022. While the US government’s plans to issue revised merger guidelines failed to come to fruition, a new merger control regime was implemented in Turkey, introducing new thresholds and exemptions. Despite suffering various high-profile merger litigation losses, the US authorities did see some successes in this area – notably, the Department of Justice successfully blocked the acquisition of publisher Simon & Schuster by its largest competitor, Penguin Random House. Meanwhile, the Turkish Competition Board made a number of notable merger approvals in 2022, and our contributors for both jurisdictions highlighted non-compete agreements as an emerging area of focus for their respective authorities.

Elsewhere, the Czech Competition Authority is set to maintain its focus on large companies in 2023 and, after it completes its investigation into the pharma industry, it is expected that a new sector investigation will soon be on the horizon. The US Federal Trade Commission also directed its attention towards the pharma industry in 2022 – looking in particular at the impact of pharmacy benefit managers – and has begun to apply its policy goals to the agricultural industry as well. Turkey’s competition authorities prioritised e-marketplace platforms in 2022, paving the way for potential new legislation concerning digital markets in 2023.

Corporate Finance/M&A

Our contributors to the Corporate Finance/M&A newsletter reported contrasting outlooks. While Spain’s M&A market appears to have been inhibited in 2022 by factors such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, inflation and the energy crisis, M&A activity in India rose to an all-time high over the first nine months of the year, possibly driven by the Indian government's championing of ideals such as "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" (self-reliant India). The financial services and technology, media and telecoms sectors contributed most significantly to this boom in M&A activity in India, and the jurisdiction also saw an important rise in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

Despite a 10% decrease in the volume of transactions registered in Spain in 2022, the country’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism reported that gross foreign investment flows increased by 87.7% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2021. It remains to be seen how geopolitical factors will affect M&A activity globally in 2023.

Corporate Tax

Our UK contributor to the Corporate Tax newsletter reviewed the changes made to the UK research and development tax system during the course of 2022 as a result of changes in the UK political landscape. The tax reliefs currently available are set to undergo significant further development in 2023. It is hoped that any amendments will prioritise support for small and medium-sized enterprises and investment in green technologies.

Employment & Immigration

The “social” aspect of ESG was a key theme for our contributors to the Employment & Immigration newsletter in 2022, with several reporting on important developments in areas such as diversity, flexible working and employee consultation. In particular, family leave emerged as a source of new developments in several jurisdictions:

The EU Transparent and Flexible Working Conditions Directive, designed to improve the working conditions of employees in the European Union, was transposed into Irish law in December 2022, while a consultation on its implementation in Norway took place in October 2022. The focus on flexible working in 2022 also extended to the United Kingdom, where the government has committed to making the right to request flexible working a “day one” right.

Considering the difficult economic circumstances experienced by many businesses during 2022, several of our contributors discussed employee consultation processes and cooperation with trade unions:

  • in Finland, new rules on workplace cooperation entered into force at the beginning of 2022;
  • a 2022 report in Ireland provided that there should be an obligation on employers to engage in good faith with trade unions; and
  • a trade union reform is taking place in the United Kingdom: the government has brought forward a bill to mandate minimum service levels during transport strikes.

The challenging economic climate is also set to have an impact on 2023’s immigration trends. Given the significant increase in the number of UK businesses that hold a licence to sponsor a worker under the skilled worker and senior or specialist worker routes seen in 2022, UK employers will have to consider the impacts of any corporate restructuring on sponsored workers moving into 2023.

Healthcare & Life Sciences

Our contributors reported significant post-pandemic interest in the healthcare and pharma sectors in 2022. In Portugal, where covid-19 restrictions have largely come to an end, this was evidenced by a new National Health Service statute and an increased focus on promoting access to medicines.

Canada’s life sciences industry also saw major activity, with the issuance of several landmark Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal decisions relating to the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations. The pricing of medicines also came under scrutiny in Canada as controversial amendments to the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board Regulations came into force in July 2022. The industry also found itself the focus of the Competition Bureau’s attention in a continuance of the trend outlined by our contributors to the Competition & Antitrust newsletter.

IP

In the IP space, our contributors reflected on the increasing popularity of the virtual world. A rise in the number of metaverse-related trademark registrations was noted in India, while an important case in the Court of Rome discussed digital playing card non-fungible tokens that reproduced the distinctive signs of the famous football club Juventus.

Improvements in trademark procedures took place in 2022 several jurisdictions:

On the patent side, in updates relevant to the pharmaceutical sector, Canada introduced new claim fee rules and sequence listing requirements, and saw several important case law updates relating to patent claim construction, patentable subject matter and remedies for patentees whose patents have been infringed. Elsewhere, the Italian legislature amended the country’s patent linkage mechanism, and the Indian courts issued decisions on matters including divisional patent applications and the doctrine of equivalents.

Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media

Data protection was a key focus for our contributors to the Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media newsletter in 2022. The Argentinian Agency for Access to Public Information released a draft bill under the Personal Data Protection Law and amended the penalties regime for infringements thereof, and the Turkish Data Protection Authority similarly introduced new administrative penalties for data controllers that fail to comply with the obligation to register with Turkey’s Data Controller Registry.

Both jurisdictions also saw developments in the field of large online platforms following the jump in their usage during the covid-19 pandemic. Argentina’s Supreme Court overturned a ruling that had admitted the right to be forgotten in a claim filed against Google, and various Turkish laws relating to the press and online media were amended. Following the Turkish Competition Authority’s report on e-marketplace platforms, Turkey also saw the introduction of new regulations relating to e-commerce providers.