On August 9, 2023, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, signed an Executive Order on Addressing United States Investments In Certain National Security Technologies And Products In Countries Of Concern. The Executive Order is the first step towards a so-called outbound investment control, which is to complement the export control and inbound investment control of the U.S. Can the U.S. outbound investment control serve as a model for the EU?

read more

BLOMSTEIN advised Helsing, as it did on the previous Series A financing 2021, together with YPOG on the recent Series B financing round with a total volume of EUR 209 million. BLOMSTEIN supported with regard to investment control law. A big thank you goes to Helsing as well as to the entire YPOG team for the trust placed in us!

read more

On 17 May 2023, the European Commission has published proposals of significant reforms of the EU Customs Union, describing them as ‘the most ambitious and comprehensive reform of the EU Customs Union’ since its inception 1968. The reforms will create a data-driven vision for EU customs and simplify and enhance the customs procedures. According to the Commission’s press release, the reforms respond to the current pressures under which EU customs operates, including a huge increase in trade volumes especially in e-commerce, a fast-growing number of EU standards, unnecessarily complex customs procedures and shifting geopolitical realities and crises. The reforms are promised to make the customs framework fit for a greener, more digital era and contribute to a safer and more competitive Single Market and to reduce costs significantly. The Union Customs Code will be repealed and a new UCC introduced with a complete rearrangement of articles. The reform is awaited, as especially the national customs administrations wish for cost savings and streamlined and simple processes through digitalization.

read more

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advancing so quickly that experts around the world are warning against the risks of unregulated deployment. Meanwhile, the European Commission (Commission) is trying to catch up by accelerating its plans to regulate AI. After publishing its first draft of an AI Act Proposal in April 2021, the Council adopted its common position (General Approach) on 6 December 2022. Since then, the Proposal has made great strides: the committee work in the European Parliament was completed on 11 May 2023, and the Proposal was adopted already a month later with a clear majority: 499 votes in favor, 28 against and 93 abstentions. Next up will be trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament, European Commission and the Council. If this pace is maintained, the AI Act could be passed before the end of the year, which would make it the world’s first comprehensive AI law.

read more

BLOMSTEIN assists Goodwin with regard to the foreign direct investment law aspects of Summit Partners’ sale of shares in ELATEC group. The shares will be acquired by SGT German Private Equity, a subsidiary of the renowned private equity firm SGT Capital. With a transaction value estimated at approximately EUR 400 million, the deal is expected to close later this year, pending the fulfillment of customary regulatory approvals.

read more

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can be prompted to create wholly novel content, is a hot topic all around, from news and social media to policymakers and businesses. Image-generating AI models that create (digital) paintings inspired by van Gogh or other famous artists in seconds, or text-generating AI models like ChatGPT that pass university exams with ease are fascinating the internet community. Fact is that many generative AI-based applications have been made available to the public in the last months, from machine translations to image recognition and music generation. Yet, this is just the beginning of a ground-breaking technology, which will sooner than later be deployed in a wide spectrum of activities and become a critical infrastructure for many businesses.

read more

After the Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force in November 2022, the European Commission is now hosting a series of workshops to consult stakeholders on specific questions regarding the DMA’s implementation. The first workshop dealt with the prohibition on self-preferencing in Article 6(5) DMA and focused on the interpretation of the provision as well as possible solutions to ensure compliance with it in practice.

read more

On 23 November 2022, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) declared that – for the time being – it does not object to the distribution of Meta VR headsets in Germany. The reason is that Meta has voluntarily refrained from linking its VR headsets to Facebook accounts. This case showcases the first application of Sec. 19a of the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) with the effect that a Big Tech company changed its business conduct. In the meantime, further cases are pending before the FCO with the outcome eagerly awaited.

read more

On the night after Halloween, the long-awaited Digital Market Act (DMA) has entered into force. Should companies be frightened or euphoric about the new EU rules for digital gatekeepers? Although field testing is still some months away – the DMA will only start applying after a further six months, on 2 May 2023 – affected companies are well advised to already familiarize themselves with the mechanics of the DMA. Our briefing outlines how the DMA will work.

read more

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action was able to fend off an attempt by Taiwanese chip supplier GlobalWafers to have the foreign trade law condition for the Siltronic takeover established by means of an urgent appeal. The Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg dismissed GlobalWafers’ appeal against the ruling of the Berlin Administrative Court passed shortly before (OVG 1 S 10/22).

read more