The Court of Torino recently issued two interesting judgments (an order ex parte dated November 10 – 13, 2012, and an order inter partes dated November 26 – 30, 2012, both in case no. 28011-1/2012, Judge Dott.ssa Silvia Vitrò) ordering the preventive attachment and freezing of bank account according to art. 144 and 144 bis of the Italian Code of Industrial Property (Legislative Decree no. 30 of February 10, 2005) and art. 162 ter of the Italian Copyright Law (Law no. 633 of April 22, 1941).

The cited judgments represent an unusual manifestation of the forms of precautionary measures a court may order. Indeed, in only rare cases has a plaintiff successfully argued to freeze the defendant’s bank accounts in this manner.

This remedy is specifically provided for under Italian industrial and intellectual property law in particular cases of possible failure to pay following the proceedings on the merits. Likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable injury are essential requirements for issuing this kind of precautionary measure.

The bank account freeze is undoubtedly a forceful way to put pressure on the other party. For example, as an outcome of negotiations following enforcement of the freeze order, in this case the bank account freeze forced the opposite side (a limited liability company without liquid assets or landed properties) to grant a bank guarantee as security for the payment of damages to be liquidated on the merits.