Italian Clause

Rarely used and dated expression. In August 1914 Italy was a member of the “Triple Alliance” with Austria and Germany – however, that alliance only committed Italy to aid Austria and Germany in a defensive war. Because Austria and Germany declared war in World War I, and Italians perceived them to be in the wrong in so doing, Italy invoked this provision to declare itself neutral.

An Italian Clause in a contract is a limitation on indemnities, especially intellectual property indemnities, which provides that a supplier or licensor’s obligations to defend intellectual property claims made against the indemnitee do not extend to cases where the claims of infringement were made as counterclaims or countersuits in litigation the indemnitee initiated – in other words “don’t provoke a fight and then expect us to defend you!” Because of the prevalence of Sleeping Dog and Tacit Licenses, such clauses make more sense than might at first appear.  It is more commonly called a non-aggression provision or clause in an indemnity.

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