Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedOctober 9, 2023

Revised Product Liability Rules Adopted by European Parliament Committees

Brussels, BELGIUM – The lead Committees of the European Parliament adopted their position on the revision of the EU Directive on the liability for defective products today.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA Europe) applauds the quality of the Parliamentary debates on the Product Liability Directive (PLD) revision, despite the complexity and technicality of this file.

Indeed, the Internal Market (IMCO) and Legal Affairs (JURI) Committees improved the Commission’s original proposal by introducing more safeguards for businesses and adopting an approach with greater respect for technological neutrality.

Improvements include clarification of what counts as material damages, aligning psychological damage’s definition with international standards and narrowing the scope of data loss and corruption. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also aligned the PLD with the Digital Services Act and General Product Safety Regulation for online marketplaces’ liability.

CCIA Europe is pleased that MEPs struck a better balance between consumer protection and businesses’ ability to innovate. Nevertheless, the updated PLD could be further improved.

Including software and AI under the PLD’s definition of a “product” should not increase insurance costs or stifle innovation for example. The revision also needs to make evidence disclosure and the alleviation of the burden of proof more future-proof. Likewise, there should be more safeguards for software developers concerning updates and liability exemptions.

MEPs decided to directly start final negotiations with the Council, which adopted its position back in June. While we regret this decision to skip a plenary vote by the full Parliament, CCIA encourages Council and Parliament to have a meaningful debate on finding the right balance.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe’s Senior Policy Manager, Mathilde Adjutor:

“Parliament’s lead Committees want to ensure that the revision of the Product Liability Directive can stand the test of time, allowing for more innovation in technologies that are beloved by European consumers, such as AI applications and software.”

“That is why the upcoming negotiations between EU co-legislators should focus on delivering a future-proof liability framework that protects European consumers, but also ensures the continued availability of innovative products on Europe’s single market.”