EU Commission proposes to modernise product liability rules for green and digital transition and global value chains


Current product liability rules, based on the 85/374/EGK Product Liability Directive (PLD), are nearly 40 years old and no longer suitable for the modern digital age. Among other things, the PLD is uncertain about how to determine liability for defective software updates, machine learning algorithms or digital services, and how to address liability for substantially modified products. The new rules set forth in the proposed Directive will ensure that product liability rules are adapted to new types of products and circular economy business models for the benefit of both businesses and consumers.

Key points of the proposed Directive

  • Updated scope of products
  • Extended liability
  • Disclosure of evidence and burden of proof
  • Compensation can be claimed from non-EU manufacturers' representatives
  • Compensation would be unlimited and covers loss and corruption of data

Next steps

The Commission's Proposal is now open for feedback until December 2022. Feedback received during this process will be presented to the European Council and European Parliament to consider while reviewing the Proposal. After the feedback period, the Proposal will be discussed during the legislative process involving the Council and Parliament. Once adopted – based on its current drafting – member states will have 12 months to transpose the new Directive into national law.

For more information on the updated product liability rules, contact your CMS client partner and local CMS experts.

Article co-authored by Daniella Huszar, Lawyer at CMS Budapest.