European commission considers new civil liability rules for the digital age and artificial intelligence

February 03, 2022

In October 2021, the European Commission launched a public consultation (Consultation) on adapting liability rules to the digital age and artificial intelligence (AI). The Consultation, which was closed on 10 January 2022, received feedback from 189 respondents with regard to: (1) confirming the relevance of issues identified in the course of evaluating the Product Liability Directive in 2018 (in particular, in relation to its application to products in the digital and circular economy), as well as gathering views on how to improve the Directive; and (2) collecting information on the need and possible ways to address the specific challenges of AI in terms of the Directive and national liability rules.

With regard to European and national product law, businesses face multiple challenges when it comes to assessing the extent of their liability for products and services, particularly in the digital sphere. Emerging technologies as well as outdated and unclear EU and national liability rules and divergent national approaches put producers, service providers and operators as well as consumers in a state of legal uncertainty. The Consultation seeks to address these concerns.

In this article we consider the implications of the Consultation (and a related impact assessment) in terms of AI, the digital age and product liability more broadly.

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