Veronica Pinotti

Partner, Milan

Biography

Veronica has a wealth of experience in Italian and international competition matters. Clients report “she is an experienced professional and proactive in finding the best solution for the client”
Chambers and Partners Europe

Overview

Veronica Pinotti has more than 25 years of experience in the area of EU competition and regulatory law, including unfair commercial practice rules and interplay with data privacy laws. Veronica regularly advises European and international clients before the European Commission, national competition regulatory authorities, as well as civil and administrative courts. Veronica provides strategic advice on the feasibility and authorization of complex joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions. She brings cutting-edge technical skills and creativity to propose tailor-made solutions, coordinating with advisors in various jurisdictions who are involved in international transactions. Veronica assists with the management of distribution networks, cartels, abuse of dominance, state aid and issues related to regulated markets, antitrust audits and risk assessments of potential antitrust liabilities within judicial proceedings and alternative dispute resolution. She also assists clients on consumer protection, unfair competition and misleading advertising, including any potential criminal aspects.

Veronica is ranked in Band 3 in Competition European law by Chambers & Partners Europe 2021 and she is also recognized as leading individual in EU and Competition by The Legal 500 2021. According to Chambers & Partners Europe "She is an experienced professional and proactive in finding the best solution for the client". Veronica is also recommended by Global Competition Review's GCR 100 country survey on Italy and has been recognized by the Italian legal publication TopLegal as one of the most influential Italian lawyers under 50 of age. Veronica has been awarded as "Best Woman Professional of the Year" by the same publication in 2015, being "one of the most prominent competition & regulatory lawyers in the country." Veronica has been included in Women in Business Law Guide, 10th Edition, published by Legal Media Group in 2020.

Veronica is a member of the firm's Diversity & Inclusion and Pro Bono committees.

Veronica is a lecturer for the Master's Degree in Antitrust e Regolazione dei Mercati – Economia della Concorrenza e Regolazione delle Public Utilities at the University of Rome Tor Vergata and at the Master of International Business at the University of Milan Cattolica.

Bars and Courts
Italian Bar
England and Wales
Brussels Bar
Education
JD
University of Turin

Italy

JD
Université de Lyon
Languages
Italian
English
French

Experience

Antitrust

  • A leading international scrap lead battery recycler, in connection with a cartel proceeding initiated by the Italian Competition Authority for alleged collusive conduct in violation of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  • An international leading manufacturer of PET containers machines, in connection with a proceeding initiated by the Italian Competition Authority for potential breach of abuse of dominant position rules under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 
  • A leading international water meters producer, in connection with a cartel proceeding initiated by the Italian Competition Authority for alleged restrictive agreements on competition, allegedly put in place during public tenders for the supply of water meters to the operators of the integrated water service, in violation of Article 2 of Law no. 287/90 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  • A leading packaging producer before the First Instance Administrative Court in connection with the appeal of the fining decision of the Italian Competition Authority in the cardboard cartel matter for alleged breach of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  • A leading Norwegian producer of textile snow chains in the proceedings before the First Instance Administrative Court, securing the annulment of a decision preventing the use of the company's snow chains, on Italian roads displaying the "mandatory snow chains" sign, as well as in the following appeal proceedings before Italy's higher appeal court (Consiglio di Stato).
  • A leading American film and television production company in connection with the sector enquiry of the Italian Competition Authority on the status of competition in the film distribution sector in Italy, under Article 31(4) of Law no. 220 of 14 November 2016 laying down rules on cinema and audiovisual.
  • A leading American film and television production company in connection with the sector inquiry of the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) aimed at assessing whether any of the market players might be found holding a dominant position or otherwise detrimental to pluralism in the audiovisual media services sector in Italy.
  • A major international player in the radio technology sector on a complaint to the Italian Competition Authority, the Italian Communications Authority, the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) and other Italian public authorities concerning potential restrictions to competition, as a result of one of its main competitor's request filed in a pending private litigation, in order to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent the sale of our client's products to public entities and businesses around the world (including Italy).
  • A leading pharmaceutical company in connection with the assessment under applicable EU and national competition laws of proposed commercial arrangements for the supply of specific products in the context of public tender procedures.
  • A leading baby food and medical nutrition producer in connection with national and EC competition matters concerning pricing, industry association activities, distribution arrangements and compliance training and audit.
  • A leading pharmaceutical company in connection with a potential antitrust complaint against a supplier of medical devices for alleged abuse of dominance position and abuse of economic dependence.
  • A leading global information and communications technology solutions provider, in connection with all aspects of EC and Italian competition law in relation to the assessment of new projects and distribution issues.
  • A leading brewing company in connection with all national and EC competition matters, in particular on complex activities, daily assistance on the review of all horizontal agreements with antitrust relevance, all their distribution arrangements and complex merger and potential acquisitions and JV projects; compliance training and audit, review of industry association activities.
  • A leading worldwide alcohol beverage player, in connection with cross-border complex antitrust advisory activities as well as audit and compliance activities for all group companies.
  • A major international pharmaceutical company before the Italian Competition Authority in the alleged vaccine cartel investigation under Article 101 TFEU, where we obtained the dismissal since the early stage of the procedure of any potential involvement of the client in the alleged anti-competitive arrangements.*
  • A leading international provider of freight forwarding services in connection with the investigation of the Italian Competition Authority on the alleged international logistics cartel under Article 101 TFEU, as well as in the appeal court proceedings.  We obtained a significant mitigation of the fine as the Authority accepted our arguments on the limited involvement of the client in the alleged infringements and for the implementation of tailor made audit and compliance measures.*
  • One of the major insurance agents association in Italy as intervening party in the investigation of the Italian Competition Authority concerning exclusivity and other restrictions to insurance agents, under Article 101 TFEU, where we obtained the removal by insurance companies of all the above mentioned restrictions.*
  • One of the leading companies active in the manufacturing of pasta, in the Italian alleged pasta cartel investigation under Article 81 of the EC Treaty (now Article 101 TFEU), as well as in the appeal court proceedings.*
  • An Italian company active in the production of train timetable booklets, on a complaint to the Italian Competition Authority against the primary train operator in Italy for abuse of its dominant position concerning exclusionary conducts that restricted the client's ability to competitively operate in the Italian market.

Merger control

  • Nestlé S.A. in connection with EC notification and clearance of the acquisition through its joint venture with competitor Lactalis named LNPF, of certain assets of Parmalat primarily located in Italy.
  • BC Partners and its portfolio company DP Group S.p.A (the holding company of the DentalPro group), in connection with the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of the entire share capital of Dental Franchising S.r.l., the holding company of the Vitaldent group, including notification and clearance by the Italian Competition Authority.
  • Independent UK investment firm Peninsula Capital in connection with the antitrust aspects of its acquisition, through an investment vehicle jointly controlled by Peninsula and Azimut Libera Impresa SGR S.p.A., of a 75 percent stake in D.M.O. Pet Care s.r.l., a leading Italian pet food and care retail chain operating under the brand 'Isola dei Tesori', including notification and clearance by the Italian Competition Authority.
  • The Hungarian international group MOL, in connection with the substantive merger control assessment, notification and clearance by the Italian Competition Authority of the acquisition of certain oil assets of the Chevron group pertaining to the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field off Azerbaijan in the landlocked Caspian Sea, as well as the regional pipeline which helps bring the oil to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.
  • Energean Oil & Gas plc in connection with the antitrust/merger control aspects of its conditional Sale and Purchase Agreement to sell Edison E&P's UK and Norwegian subsidiaries to Neptune Energy Group Holdings Limited.
  • Pastificio Rana and Nestlé Italiana in connection with EU and national merger control rules in relation to the sale and purchase of a business unit dedicated to the production of stuffed pasta and sauces operating under the Buitoni brand, including substantive assessment of the transaction and notification and clearance by the Spanish competition authority.
  • PFH – Palladio Holding in connection with EU and national merger control aspects in relation to the acquisition of Unigasket.
  • Kedrion, a leading Italian biopharmaceutical player, and its joint controllers (Sestant S.p.A. and Fondo Strategico Italiano S.p.A. (FSI) / Cassa Depositi e Prestiti) in connection with a major project of expansion through acquisitions and JVs with competitors, including notification and clearance by the Italian Competition Authority.*
  • A leading American film and television production company in connection with the acquisition of interests of a key Italian media and audio-visual TVOD – EST platform.*
  • A leading American film and television production company on the acquisition of the home video division of Medusa Film (Mediaset Group), including notification and clearance of the transaction by the Italian Communications Authority.*
  • ALCATEL S.A. in connection with the acquisition of Native Networks Inc., in the optical networking segment, including multi-jurisdictional merger control advice, notification and clearance by the Italian Competition Authority.*
  • Two leading worldwide companies operating in the medical devices sector, on third parties' complaints before the European Commission against the merger between Boston Scientific, Guidant and Abbott.*
  • A leading chemical group in the merger control procedure before the European Commission and coordination of other jurisdictions involved, for the proposed acquisition of a major competitor, in one of the few cases of referral ex Article 22 Regulation EC 139/2004.*
  • A major private equity fund, in connection with notification and clearance by the European Commission of the acquisition of Giochi Preziosi, in the wholesale and retail sale of toys.*
  • Iberdrola on the notification and clearance by the European Commission of a JV agreement between Iberdrola and API in the wind power sector.*
  • Norsk Hydro in connection with the acquisition of the German aluminium producer VAW from E.ON, including notification and clearance by the European Commission and more than 20 other international authorities.*
  • Barclays Bank in connection with merger control advice, notification and clearance by the European Commission of the acquisition of Banco Zaragozano.*
  • Interbrew on the notification and clearance of the acquisition of the UK brewer Bass, before the European Commission and the UK OFT, following the referral of part of the transaction ex Article 9 of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 4064/89.*
  • Barclays Bank on the notification and clearance of the £5.4 billion acquisition of Woolwich (the largest acquisition of Barclays' history), including representation before the Italian Competition Authority, the Bank of Italy and other international competition authorities.*

Unfair commercial practices

  • One of the main European car manufacturers on compliance with EU and Italian legislation on vehicle emissions, including the adoption of measures aimed at minimizing the risks of potential claims for damages and class actions following alleged violations of the rules on unfair commercial practices.
  • One of the main worldwide social networks in connection with a matter before the Milan Civil Courts on alleged  abuse of dominance and economic dependence claims following the provisional suspension of a third party app from the social network platform.
  • One of the main worldwide social networks in the preliminary phase of the class action procedure launched against it by one of the most active Italian consumer associations. The proceeding was initiated before the Court of Milan following (follow on) a fining decision by the Italian Competition Authority regarding alleged unfair commercial practices, with particular regard to issues related to the interaction between consumer protection, antitrust and data privacy laws.
  • One of the leading producers of alcoholic beverages on compliance with the rules on unfair commercial practices and misleading advertising in relation to the launch and marketing of a new product, with particular regard to the accurate indication of information relating to the place of production.*
  • Regular assistance and representation for many years to an international online travel group on litigation and threatened class action proceedings by major consumer associations, concerning alleged commercial malpractice (duty of information, duty to warn, unfair term, misleading advertising). We successfully defended the client in a high number of proceedings before Italian civil and commercial courts and assisted in preventing threatened class action proceedings and minimizing associated compliance risks.*
  • A major creator, manager and promoter of interactive contents for mobile phone users, controlled by one of the main Italian private equity investors, in connection with a de facto class action concerning alleged antitrust, consumer protection, unfair competition and misleading advertisement issues. We defended the clients in both civil and criminal proceedings and assisted on complex regulatory issues related to the agreements with the main Italian mobile phone operators, for the supply of ringtone and other interactive contents for mobile phones. We also successfully defended the client in two unfair competition, and one misleading advertising proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority, obtaining a significant reduction of the fine and building-up a more constructive relationship with the Authority. The team also assisted the client in connection with complex regulatory issues before the Italian Telecom Authority.*
  • An international online travel group in connection with antitrust and unfair commercial practices, audit and compliance and successful defense in several proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority and appeal courts.*
  • A major Japanese car manufacturer in relation to self-reporting on compliance with safety regulations, as well as before the competent Italian authorities.*
  • A major Italian group owner of several e-commerce websites, in connection with a complaint against a leading hosting platform, against restrictions on users' access to the web hosting service owned and managed by the client. As a result of an initial cease and desist letter and following negotiations, the platform owner stopped the alleged abusive conducts and committed to refrain from putting in place similar conducts in the future.*

Data Privacy

  • A leading international pharmaceutical company on the implementation of a process for the voluntary COVID-19 vaccination campaign for essential workers within the company's Italian plants and their relatives, including assessment of the applicable legal basis under the GDPR, involvement of company doctors bound by professional secrecy to collect and process such data and assessment of applicable data retention periods.
  • A leading pharmaceutical company on the collection of medical/health information of customer facing employees included in the current public COVID-19 vaccination campaign and security measures to be implemented to protect confidentiality of the data (e.g. retention period, deletion of certain data, etc.).
  • A leading pharmaceutical company in a proceedings before the Italian Data Privacy Authority in order to obtain a mandatory opinion on the processing of health data for the purpose of a study requested by the Italian Medicines Agency on the consequences of the improper use of one of the company's drug.
  • A leading pharmaceutical company on the response to a request for information from the Italian Data Privacy Authority, concerning the processing of personal data of healthcare professionals.
  • A leading pharmaceutical company in connection with data privacy advice under GDPR and Italian law in relation to the constant review of their current GDPR compliance system and governance, including improving existing notices and procedures and data privacy roles.
  • A major international chain on extensive data privacy advice under GDPR and Italian law in connection with the proposed changes in the privacy roles with regard to the digital platform provided by a service provider and utilized to collect and process customer information in Italy.  In particular, we have advised the client on whether the proposed reorganization would have resulted in a transfer of personal data between the players involved and which legal bases would have been applicable for the change in the privacy roles deriving from the reorganization.
  • A major international insurance group on extensive data privacy advice under GDPR, Italian and German law on complex assessments related to the qualification of the roles as autonomous data controllers or joint controllers, with regard to the management of the group whistleblowing platform established to manage reported concerns in relation to breaches of external and internal regulations, under EU, Italian and German data privacy rules.
  • A leading worldwide alcohol beverage player in connection with GDPR and Italian data privacy law compliance activities coordinating with the French group HQ, including review of the personal data mapping, gap analysis and assistance in implementing the recommended remedial measures, compliance training.
  • One of the main worldwide social networks in the preliminary phase of the class action procedure launched against it by one of the most active Italian consumer associations. The proceeding was initiated before the Court of Milan following (follow on) a fining decision by the Italian Competition Authority regarding alleged unfair commercial practices, with particular regard to issues related to the interaction between consumer protection, antitrust and data privacy laws.
  • A leading company in the hemoderivatives sector, in connection with the review and GDPR compliance assessment of their data processing activities and implementing the measures identified in order to comply with the GDPR.
  • The Italian branch of a leading company active in the executive search & recruitment sector, in the review of their current processes and risks assessment under the GDPR and other data protection legislation applicable in Italy.
  • An international online travel group during inspections by the Italian Data Privacy Authority in connection with alleged misuse of users' data and technical and organizational security measures in place. We successfully defended the client during the dawn raid, preventing the opening of the investigation and therefore avoiding the risk of follow-up court claims.*

* Veronica worked on these matters prior to joining White & Case.

Publications

Veronica regularly contributes to the ABA section of Antitrust Law’s Consumer Protection Committee's publications.

Awards and Recognition

Competition/European Law
Leading lawyer (Band 3): Chambers and Partners Europe 2021
Leading Individual: The Legal 500 2021