Product liability

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The product liability refers to the liability for damages against the manufacturer for damages arising out of their end users as a result of a defective product. Product liability in the EU countries is based on EC Directive 85/374 EC.


As early as the summer of 1968, the EC Commission began preliminary work to standardize the intra-Community regulations on product liability. After being interrupted in 1970 because of negotiations on the first enlargement of the community, they were resumed in the summer of 1973.

The first preliminary draft was presented in August 1974 and the second in July 1975. The proposal submitted to the Council on September 9, 1976 met with much criticism. It took three years for the opinions of the EC Economic and Social Committee and the European Parliament to be available. A new proposal was made in 1979. On 23 May 1980 the Council asked the Commission to withdraw it. A consensus was only passed on July 25, 1984.

In Article 19 (1) of the Directive, the deadline for transposition into national law was set at three years from notification. The announcement took place on July 30, 1985. The EC directive has now been implemented in national law in all 27 member states, so that there are product liability regulations in the other EU states that are comparable to the regulation in Germany.

Country reports


Product liability is regulated in Germany in the Product Liability Act.


In Austria, product liability is regulated by the Federal Act of January 21, 1988 on liability for a defective product ( Product Liability Act ). In 1988 Austria was not obliged to implement the EC Directive of July 25, 1985 "on the harmonization of legal and administrative provisions of the member states on liability for defective products" (EC 85/374) (due to lack of membership in the EU) Even then, the national legislature was strongly oriented towards this. The Austrian PHG has since been amended several times and is now in the version of Federal Law Gazette I No. 98/2001.


  • Renate Schaub : European product liability: How far does harmonization go today? In: ZEuP 1/2011.

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