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About Us

EU law affects all our lives – personally and professionally. Throughout our societies, questions are raised with regard to the implications of EU law and policy. At the same time, there is a need for solutions to issues of a cross-border nature. Spark Legal Network has the knowledge and expertise to facilitate understanding, provide guidance and find solutions to any (cross-border) question on regulation or policy, at both national and European level.

Sparkestablished in 2011, has already demonstrated expertise in a wide range of EU projects. We are uniquely connected to legal professionals throughout Europe and our excellent network of legal experts links you to knowledge which is not restricted by borders; transcending language, distance and culture. We can tailor our services to the specific needs of our clients and, through Spark, you will gain access to accurate and up-to-date information on national and European law and policy in every possible area.

We actively promote the exchange of information, news and ideas regarding all aspects of European law and policy. We therefore invite everyone with an interest in European law and its links to policy to join our network. Comments and questions are also always welcome.

  • Consultancy

    We provide Europe-wide research and consultancy services on a range of legal and policy areas.

  • Legal Network

    Our experts are based at law firms, universities, consultancies, and organisations all over the European Union and EFTA Member States.

  • Current Projects

    At present we are working on a range of studies for the European Commission in collaboration with consortium partners.

  • Team

    Our network coordination and project management is conducted by a professional team based in London and the Netherlands.

  • Get in touch

    Spark is always keen to hear from legal professionals looking for collaboration opportunities

Latest News

Review of current national rules and practices relating to risk preparedness in the area of security of supply

Spark Legal Network, together with VVA Europe have now completed the final report for our study on the ‘Review of current national rules and practices relating to risk preparedness in the area of security of electricity supply’, launched by DG ENER. The study was carried out with the assistance of Spark’s excellent network of national legal experts. The project helps to lay the ground for new EU legislation relating to security of electricity supply in Europe to be proposed by the European Commission in the near future, as part of a broader set of initiatives to reform the EU framework governing electricity markets.

The study provided the European Commission with a complete overview of the various provisions and practices and of the gaps and inconsistencies between the national strategies in relation to risk assessment, risk preparedness and emergency situations in the area of electricity of supply. The conclusions to this study show a relatively fragmented landscape among Member States. Security of electricity supply may, in a number of Member States, still be considered a national issue, although it can be seen that (bilateral and regional) cooperation is starting to develop at the policy level (while this is much more established at a technical level (TSOs, DSOs)).

For further information regarding the legal framework of security of electricity supply, this specific project or other EU law queries, contact us on info@sparklegalnetwork.eu

Legal review on industrial design protection in Europe

The European Commission has published the Legal Review of Industrial Design Protection in Europe, which was conducted by Spark Legal Network, Queen Mary University of London, Time.lex and Indiville.

The report concludes, in respect of several aspects of the design system, that the desired level of harmonization has been achieved, and the functioning of the internal market with regard to goods embodying designs has been facilitated. However, it also identifies those areas of difficulty, which have the potential to negatively influence the accessibility and smooth running of the system.

In general, the report appreciates the need for EU design law to develop organically via judicial interpretation, whether through the EUIPO or the EU courts. In some of these cases, national offices and courts have made considerable effort to align their case-law with EU decisions. Conversely, the report cautions against overestimating the ability of EU institutions to synergise the disparate experiences and practices of 28 Member States.

The study team noted difficulties with regard to the subject matter of protection, which in turn lead to dissatisfaction relating to disparate areas of inquiry, including the definition of design, the concept of functionality, the notion of disclosure, the scope of protection, and the adjacent administrative implementation of legal policies and rules. In these instances, the study team hesitantly champions the ability of the national offices or the EU institutions to change direction, in order to align it across the EU. In light of this, revisions to the Design Directive have been recommended where changes to language, or clarity in approaches are required.

A secondary set of conclusions, which this enquiry elicited concern the future of design law in light of new technologies and market environments, specifically in two areas: spare parts and 3D printing. Regarding spare parts, the stand-still clauses in the Design Directive, and the “must match” clause in the Design Regulation had led to a split in the approaches of the various Member States under scrutiny. The multi-faceted approach that is clearly seen among the Member States calls for some institutional intervention, and recommendations have been made as to how this might be achieved. Conversely, in relation to 3D printing, the conclusion from surveys, interviews and desk research is that this is a fresh area of technology, and as such, conclusions should not be drawn without further empirical, academic and judicial substantiation.

For questions about the study – or more generally about EU design law – please get in touch