Ensuring the Success of Contract Formation in Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce
Electronic Commerce Research Journal, Vol. 1, pp. 183-202, 2001
Posted: 24 May 2005
This article examines a number of contractual issues generated by the advent of intelligent agent applications. The aim of the study is to provide legal guidelines for developers of intelligent agent software by addressing the contractual difficulties associated with automated electronic transactions. The author investigates whether the requirements for a legally enforceable contract are satisfied by agent applications that operate independent of human supervision. Given the relative novelty of the technology and the paucity of case law in the area, the author's observations and conclusions are based on an analysis of first principles in contract law. Additionally, the author provides an analysis of whether proposed and enacted electronic commerce legislation in various jurisdictions is sufficient to cure the inherent deficiencies of traditional contract doctrine. Given the trend towards automated electronic commerce, the author concludes by highlighting the legal requirements that must be met in order to ensure the success of agent technology in the formation of online contracts.
Keywords: Automated electronic commerce, contract formation, e-commerce legislation
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