Since 22 February last, disputes in which a company based abroad is a party, even if it has a branch within the Italian territory, and which are, ratione materiae, under the jurisdiction of the specialist sections in relation to companies (Art. 3 of Italian Legislative Decree dated 27 June 2003 no. 168) may only be brought before the specialist sections constituted at the following judicial departments: Bari, Cagliari, Catania, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Rome, Turin, Venice, Trento and Bolzano.

This is due to: (i) the entry into force of Art. 10, Paragraph 1, Letter “b” of Italian Decree Law “Destination Italy” (no. 145/2013, converted into Law no. 9/2014), which amended Italian Legislative Decree no. 168/2003, instituting the specialist sections in relation to industrial and intellectual property and (ii) Italian Decree Law 24/1/2012 no. 1 on the specialist sections in relation to companies.

The criteria of jurisdiction set out above are applied where the company based abroad is the claimant or defendant. It is more difficult to understand if the action in warranty or the voluntary intervention of the foreign company causes a shift in jurisdiction.