Product Liability and Product Compliance
Product Liability and Product Compliance
Almost every phase in the life cycle of a product and every stage of distribution are regulated by law today. The relevant legal regulations are often complex and inconsistent. Manufacturers must ensure compliance with a wide range of technical and formal requirements. Importers are becoming more and more like manufacturers, and distributors must also comply with numerous obligations. In the event of violations of regulatory law, there is a threat of fines, product liability claims, recalls and, increasingly, claims by competitors under competition law.
Compliance with regulatory requirements is therefore an elementary task for all actors in the supply chain. Last but not least, the necessary obligations and liability must be clearly allocated in the relevant contracts in the supply chain. If damage occurs, action is usually necessary at short notice (identification of legal obligations to act, communication with authorities, measures to secure recourse claims, insurance notification, defence against claims for damages etc.).
We provide efficient, prudent and competent advice on all aspects of product law and product liability. We help our clients identify and implement regulatory requirements and minimize liability risks – including in the relevant contracts. If product safety defects or non-conformities occur, we guide our clients safely through the crisis. This also includes securing and enforcing recourse claims against suppliers and defending against claims for damages by customers or injured parties.
We regularly work closely and efficiently with technical staff and experts. This interface between law and technology is of great importance and often causes friction losses if not handled properly. Hartmannsberger Franke advises manufacturers (suppliers and OEMs) and importers as well as dealers and distributors.
Our Services at a Glance
- Regulatory product requirements (including ElektroG, BattG, RoHs)
- Product labeling and accompanying documents
- Contract drafting (purchasing, supply contracts, general terms and conditions, QM, QS agreements)
- Advice on product crises (RAPEX assessment, product liability law, recall)
- Administrative fines and criminal proceedings for violations of Regulatory Law
- Securing and enforcing recourse claims in the supply chain
- Defence against /settlement of claims for damages from customers or injured parties
- Enforcement of and defence against claims under Competition Law for regulatory non-compliance
- Recall management and product compliance systems
- Recall/product liability insurance (insurance notification; monitoring of settlement)
Turning point in EU law for genetic engineering in agriculture – liability situation in Germany in urgent need of adjustment
After green genetic engineering had been practically dead in the EU for almost 15 years due to the strict regulatory framework, there are now signs of a fundamental change of dogma at EU level. The proposal for an NGT regulation recently presented by the EU Commission is tantamount to a revolution.
Shortly before the EU Market Surveillance Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2019/1020) comes into force, the EU Commission’s proposal for a replacement of Directive 2001/95/EC (Product Safety Directive, “PSD”) was published on 30 June 2021 (COM(2021) 346 final). Fundamental changes and innovations are planned.
One of the most significant changes introduced by the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (“MSR”) concerns import controls by customs authorities. The EU Commission (rightly) sees import controls as an important instrument for reducing non-compliant products from third countries and thus also for reducing security risks.
Almost two years after the adoption of the Market Surveillance Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (“MSR”), the national implementation is now imminent. This is one of the most significant changes in product and market surveillance law in the last ten years. The MSR will apply in its entirety from 16 July 2021.
On 25 November 2020, the Representative Actions Directive (EU) 2020/1828 (“RA-Directive”) was adopted. It must be implemented by the member states within two years and applied by mid-2023 at the latest.
In its judgement of 11.3.2020, the Essen Regional Court (Case No. 44 O 40/19) granted a claim for injunction and damages under competition law on account of the sale of electrical products to which only English-language instructions for use and English-language safety information were attached.
After several attempts and many years of negotiations, the EU Market Surveillance Regulation was published on 25 June 2019 (Regulation (EU) 2019/1020, OJ EU L 169, 1 ff.). This is probably one of the most fundamental legal developments in the non-food sector in the last 20 years.