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Italy-US alliance against the pandemic: innovative anti-Covid projects, 9 Emilia-Romagna companies in the spotlight

Masks and rapid tests, innovative sanitization systems and special bio-containment stretchers to move patients, these are some of the solutions offered by 25 Italian companies, 9 of which from Emilia-Romagna, which, through a US-Italian project, will concretely cover various aspects related to the Covid-19 pandemic, from personal prevention to the treatment of the disease.

These companies have been selected for the Invest project, promoted by the U.S. government through the federal agency Usaid, United States Agency for International Development, which aims to support the Italian private sector engaged in the front line in the fight against the pandemic.

The project was presented in an online event organized by the American Embassy in Rome, in collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna Region. The virtual meeting was an opportunity to present the 25 Italian companies selected for the project and to officially start the technical assistance provided to them by Roncucci&Partners, the business consulting firm that won the Usaid call for proposals.

For Emilia-Romagna, the United States represent an irreplaceable destination country with 10% of total exports, worth over 6 billion euros per year. Emilia-Romagna represents a very important share of Italian exports to the USA: 97% of tiles exported from Italy come from Emilia-Romagna, as do 57% of meat, 40% of dairy products, and over 30% of machinery and wiring equipment.

Amazon and Salvatore Ferragamo File Two Joint Lawsuits Against Counterfeiters

Amazon and Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A., jointly filed two lawsuits against four individuals and three entities for counterfeiting Ferragamo’s products. The defendants attempted to offer the infringing products in Amazon’s store, violating Amazon’s policies, Ferragamo’s intellectual property rights, and the law.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and alleges the defendants conspired to use Ferragamo’s registered trademarks, without authorization, to deceive customers about the authenticity and origin of the products and the affiliation with Ferragamo.

Amazon strictly prohibits counterfeit products in its stores, and in 2019 alone, invested more than $500 million to protect customers and brands from fraud and abuse, including counterfeit. Amazon’s proactive investments in preventing counterfeit include robust seller vetting, advanced machine-learning based technologies, and industry-leading brand protection tools like Project Zero, Brand Registry, and Transparency. As a result of Amazon’s efforts, 99.9% of all products viewed by customers on Amazon have not received a valid counterfeit complaint.

In June 2020, Amazon launched its Counterfeit Crimes Unit, a global team dedicated to pursuing bad actors and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, including working with law enforcement. Amazon has filed a series of lawsuits against counterfeiters, including a suit against individuals using social media to promote and facilitate the sale of counterfeits, as well as joint lawsuits with Italian luxury brand Valentino, cosmetics brand KF Beauty, family travel accessory brand JL Childress, and YETI.

Over the years, Ferragamo has implemented a series of offline and online anti-counterfeiting measures to protect its customers and the value of its brand, achieving significant results. In 2020, its online monitoring activities enabled the brand to intercept, block, and remove 3 million illicit profiles from the main social media platforms worldwide and approximately 94,000 counterfeit products were blocked and removed from online auction sites. Ferragamo has also filed actions against hundreds of illegal websites through civil proceedings in New York federal court, and was recently awarded $2.8 million in damages.

As a part of its policy to fight counterfeiting, Ferragamo also carries out numerous offline investigations and pursues infringers through civil litigation and out-of-court proceedings. In 2020, 240,000 products bearing Ferragamo’s counterfeit trademarks were seized worldwide thanks to joint efforts with law enforcement authorities.

“We do not allow counterfeit products in our store, and we have made it crystal clear that we take aggressive action to hold accountable bad actors who attempt to evade our proactive protections,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President, Customer Trust and Partner Support, Amazon. “Through our Counterfeit Crimes Unit, we are working closely with luxury and cosmetics brands, small businesses, and brands with global name recognition. We will continue to fight to protect intellectual property from small family-owned businesses through Fortune 500 companies.”

"The actions we implemented with great determination in recent years in the fight against counterfeiting have allowed us to achieve good results in protecting the brand. Made in Italy, our brand’s quality is based on values such as research, innovation, sustainability and craftsmanship are fundamental for us and for this reason our commitment to safeguarding the brand and our community of consumers is at its highest,” added Micaela le Divelec Lemmi, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo. “The joint action with Amazon underlines how the protection of intellectual property is a priority for Ferragamo and how the company is pursuing the fight against counterfeiting with full awareness and resolution.”

Azimut completes the acquisition of Sanctuary Wealth, creating an integrated platform and reaching almost $ 10 billion in total AuM in the USA

Azimut Group, one of Europe’s largest independent asset managers, via its U.S. subsidiary AZ US Holdings Inc. , completed the acquisition of a 55% stake in Sanctuary Wealth Group, a leading US independent wealth management firm for financial advisors who seek to build and manage their own practices, but want the support of an advanced platform to achieve their full potential. 

Azimut first entered the United States in 2015, with a greenfield initiative in Miami focused on the Latam-RIA space called AZ Apice, subsequently reinforced by another partnership with Genesis Investment Advisors. In November 2019, the Group set up Azimut Alternative Capital Partners (“AACP”), seeking to acquire minority stakes in mostly U.S.-based alternative asset managers focused on Private Equity, Private Credit, Venture Capital and Infrastructure, while providing them permanent capital to grow and achieve their greatest business potential. AACP completed it’s first deal in July 2020 with the acquisition of a minority stake in leading Private Credit manager Kennedy Lewis, with over $2.5bn in AUM, and is actively working to complete more transactions in the near future.

Today’s deal with Sanctuary represents a significant milestone for the Group, reaching an integrated platform in the US with both private markets and wealth management partners representing excellencies in their respective sectors.

As announced on November 2nd, 2020 Sanctuary Wealth, founded in 2018 by Jim Dickson, established itself as the leading platform for the next generation of wealth managers in the U.S., who are breaking away from traditional wirehouses and brokerage firms to own, operate and grow their own businesses. Since announcing the deal, the total billable AUM rose from ca. $7 billion (equivalent to ca. €6bn) to $ 8.4 billion (€6.9bn), on top of further assets under advisement from institutional clients. The partnership will focus on the development of a best in class network of breakaway advisory teams, adding on to Sanctuary’s national community including today 43 partner firms in 17 states while employing almost 100 advisors.

With this acquisition, AZUS acquires a 55% stake in Sanctuary through a reserved capital increase in order to finance the mutually agreed business plan. The remaining stake will continue to be in the hands of senior management as well as financial advisors. The agreement contemplates that Azimut and Sanctuary’s current management team will cooperate and grow the business in the US over the medium-long term and provides for call/put option rights over the next 10 years as well as a further investment in the business linked to certain achievements.

Vincenzo Arcobelli, interviewed by Catania's newspaper "La Sicilia"

Vincenzo Arcobelli
was born in Sicily, in Catania and lived in Paternò up to 1993 when he moved to Texas, following his desire to know a different culture and a world definitely more advanced.

Arcobelli, today instructor pilot commander of commercial civil aviation, has met Italian Americans of great cultural, entrepreneurial and political depth as the chairman emeritus of Niaf, Frank Stella, the judge of the Supreme Court, Anthony Scalia and many others. He was able to increase the institutional relationships with various government leaders and Texan and American representatives. His commitment in the field did not go unnoticed, so much so that Mirko Tremaglia asked him to work side by side to advance the civil rights battles of our compatriots scattered throughout the world.

Today Arcobelli is a point of reference for Italians living in Texas and he has recently been interviewed by the newspaper "La Sicilia" to which he has released some interesting statements.

"After a careful consideration - said Arcobelli - of what is happening, we councilors have made a reasoning on the health evolution of Covid and on the consequences that lead to face still with uncertainty a future full of difficult conditions. The General Council, together with the grassroots representative bodies, the "Comites", and the Associations, have been committed to supporting the interventions of prevention and protection of the essential rights required by our compatriots in the US and around the world. The active collaboration with the Crisis Unit of the Farnesina, with the Dgit of Maeci, the embassies, and the consular diplomatic network, has been in many cases essential to bring back home Italians eager to return home. This experience has allowed Cgie representatives to exercise some of the prerogatives aimed at assisting communities through information and communication."

On the reactivation of the regional council of Sicilian emigration, which has not been operating for several years, Arcobelli said: "In my opinion it is a moral duty and a political and institutional will, especially in a moment like this one of widespread economic crisis, accentuated by the pandemic. You see, Sicilians in the world, Sicilian associations actively working abroad and their representatives are a great resource for Sicily and as such they deserve respect: they carry out with dignity initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting the island identity and culture. In the meeting that took place 13 months ago in New Jersey, the President of the Sicilian Regional Government Nello Musumeci asked us for help, affirming that Sicily needs Sicilians abroad. Of course, we of the Confederation of Sicilians in North America (Csna) gave our availability as long as there was a solid concreteness. "

Read full "La Sicilia" article, in italian, click here