Can ‘Things’ Be Defective Products? The Applicability of the Product Liability Directive to the Internet of Things

(2020) 3 Revue européenne de droit de la consommation / European Journal of Consumer Law, 589-611

19 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2022

See all articles by Federica Giovanella

Federica Giovanella

University of Udine - Dep. of Legal Sciences; University of Udine - Dep. of Legal Sciences

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to assess the applicability of the Product Liability Directive concerning the liability for defective products to the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT).

This Directive has proved to be an effective tool both in addressing cases of defective products and in balancing the interests of consumers and producers, but the advent of the IoT could jeopardize the Directive’s effectiveness. Indeed, Things have a dual nature comprising tangible and non-tangible components. This can make it difficult to classify them as “products” under the Directive. The definition of defect plays a crucial role as well, as it is often challenging to understand whether the intangible part of a product is defective and whether the producer could remedy the defect after the placing the product on the market.

The paper analyses the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the definitions of “product” and “defectiveness”, taking into account the lively scholarly debate on those definitions. It concludes by affirming the applicability of the Product Liability Directive to Things by means of a teleological interpretation.

Keywords: IoT, Defective products

Suggested Citation

Giovanella, Federica, Can ‘Things’ Be Defective Products? The Applicability of the Product Liability Directive to the Internet of Things (2020). (2020) 3 Revue européenne de droit de la consommation / European Journal of Consumer Law, 589-611, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4023266 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4023266

Federica Giovanella (Contact Author)

University of Udine - Dep. of Legal Sciences ( email )

Via Treppo 18
Udine, Udine 33100
Italy

University of Udine - Dep. of Legal Sciences ( email )

Via Treppo 18
Udine, UD 33100
Italy

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