Product liability litigation and product safety regulatory activities often become intertwined. Product liability claims and lawsuits can generate reports to the government and recalls in the U.S. and around th... Read More...
In 2011, Australia and Canada adopted new product safety laws that require manufacturers and others in the supply chain to monitor their products in use, and to report safety issues and take appropriate corrective actions in certain situations. In addition, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has become more aggressive in levying civil penalties on companies who do not report safety problems in a timely fashion.
Product liability has created problems for manufacturers and product sellers for many decades. These problems have been exacerbated by the expansion of product liability laws throughout the world. In addition, there has been a proliferation of safety regulatory requirements, starting in the United States and then moving to the European Union. In addition, countries such as Japan, China, Australia, Canada, Brazil and South Africa have all recently established or strengthened their product safety regulatory regimes and requirements.
As manufacturers design new products and update the design of old products, many times they sell and offer for sale different designs with differing levels of safety and quality. There are many reasons for the differences including multi-functional uses of the product, different price points (e.g. good, better, and best), requests by customers, adoption of safety improvements, and inconsistent regulations and standards between the U.S. and foreign countries.
This article will explore the legal and practical risks in selling products with these differences and what manufacturers can do to minimize the risk.