New Study – Evaluation of the Ten-E Regulation and assessing the impacts of alternative policy scenarios

Spark will perform a quality assurance role on an evaluation and impact assessment concerning the TEN-E Regulation, which was recently awarded by DG ENTR to a consortium led by Trinomics. The general objective of the study is twofold. First, it is to provide the Commission with an independent evaluation of the Regulation, in particular collecting evidence where the PCI framework may not be delivering as expected. Second, it is to assist the Commission in assessing the impacts of a number of alternative policy scenarios in the framework of Trans-European Energy Networks. The study is expected to last 12 months.

 

Support study for impact assessment concerning the review of Merger Regulation regarding minority shareholdings

The European Commission has published a study conducted by Spark Legal Network and the University of Queen Mary concerning the review of the Merger Regulation regarding minority shareholdings. The study involved the assessment of the features of a certain number of national merger control regimes, which provide for the control of minority shareholdings´ acquisitions; and research on rights attached to different levels of minority shareholdings. On the basis of the data collected, the study analyses the modalities of merger control of minority acquisitions in the various jurisdictions, in order to present important considerations which any EU regime being designed should consider. Finally, the study considers whether it is possible to define a level below which shareholding might be generally considered to be passive.

For further information please see the link:  http://ec.europa.eu/competition/publications/reports/KD0416839ENN.pdf

Study on data protection issues related to anti-doping in sport

Spark, in collaboration with Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT) has begun a study on data protection rules related to anti-doping in sport. The goal of this study is to assist the Commission (DG EAC) in providing guidance to Member States to adopt or revise existing national legislation on anti-doping in sport to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. This objective will be achieved through an inventory of current legislation in all EU Member States, an analysis of personal data processing practices in Anti-Doping in sport, the identification of gaps with respect to the lawful processing of personal data in this context and provide guidance in closing these gaps through regulatory action. The results of the study are expected in Spring 2017.

For further information on data protection issues at the EU or Member State level, or to enquire about the contract, please get in touch via email.

Our DG Ener study on risk preparedness is published!

Good news! Our final report for the study on risk preparedness of electricity supply (ENER/B4/2015623), conducted by VVA Europe and Spark Legal Network, has been published. It can be found and downloaded here (DG ENER website).

For any questions or comments, please contact the Spark team at info@sparklegalnetwork.eu.

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

Study on compliance-check of national regulatory practise with Article 13 of Regulation (EU) 347/2013

Spark is excited to announce that we have kicked off a new study on compliance-check of national regulatory practises with Article 13 of Regulation (EU) 347/2013 for DG Energy. Together with our partner VVA Europe and with our network of experts, we will assess the 28 Member States’ revised methodologies and criteria, evaluating whether the risks of the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) are higher than comparable projects and deserve appropriate incentives.

For questions about the study or any other energy law related issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Spark starts DG ENER study with VVA

We are excited to announce that we have just kicked off our new study on risk preparedness in electricity security of supply for DG Energy. Together with our partner VVA Europe and our excellent team of legal experts, we will identify and map the current legal framework and practices in the 28 Member States with regard to security of electricity supply in the short term. The study will focus on how the EU countries identify, prevent, prepare and respond to security of supply risks and emergency situations and how the cross-border dimension of electricity outages and disconnections is taken into account.

For questions about the study or any other energy law related issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Final report published on Spark’s cloud computing SLAs study

The final report for our study on standards terms and performance criteria in service level agreements for cloud computing services (SMART 2013/0039), conducted by Spark Legal Network and Time.lex, has been published. It can be found here on the Digital Agenda website, or alternatively downloaded here from the EU bookstore.

The study was conducted with the participation of our excellent team of legal experts and the final report contains an overview of the legal landscape, rules and policies with respect to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in each of the EU/EFTA countries. In addition, we provide a model that can be used to create new SLAs for cloud computing, a checklist to assess the adequacy of SLAs, and explanatory comments that clarify which choices were made in the drafting, why, and when a user may wish to choose certain options over others. The checklist and the model SLA provisions along with the explanatory comments can raise awareness among cloud users about the legal specificities of a cloud offer and help them to understand and assess these offers. For further information about the legal framework of cloud computing, the study, or other EU law queries, contact us on info@sparklegalnetwork.eu

 

Single framework contract on DATA PROTECTION awarded to Spark consortium

As part of a consortium including Civic Consulting, Time.lex, TNO, and Tilburg University, Spark has been selected for a single framework contract on data protection with DG JUST. Visit http://goo.gl/aZRfmE for details.

The contract is for “research services in relation to issues pertaining to the protection of personal data”. The purpose of the framework contract is to do legal and technical research and analysis:

1. monitoring the current acquis (transposition, implementation, and application)

2. examining the transition to the new framework and adoption in the Member States

3. responding to new challenges and developing solutions utilising technological solutions

4. covering the issue of transferring data from the EU to third countries.

As always we are looking forward to coordinating our network in this field, which features academics and lawyers across the EU28 who will leverage their expertise and practical knowledge to add value to our work.

For further information on data protection issues at the EU or Member State level, or to enquire about the contract, please get in touch via email.