Focus on 3D printing – the legal implications of an emerging technology

In this article published in PLC Magazine June 2016 we consider the effectiveness of the current law to deal with the competition that 3D printing presents for traditional manufacturing as well as the opportunities 3D printing provides for rights holders via alternative business models and the product liability challenges involved. Andrew Moir, Anthony Dempster, Rachel Montagnon, David Bennett and Richard Woods discuss the intellectual property and product liability issues involved. 

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Filed under Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Product recall, Product safety

Challenges to sugar – Health claims relating to glucose tablets not authorised

The General Court of the European Union has supported the Commission's finding that health claims made in relation to glucose tablets encouraged the consumption of sugar, that such encouragement was contrary to generally accepted principles of nutrition and health and therefore such claims could not be made even though the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had confirmed the accuracy of the claims. (Dextro Energy GmbH & Co KG v Commission – Case T-100/15).

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Filed under Food & Beverages

New sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences come into force today

The Sentencing Council has published guidelines to be used by Judges when sentencing corporate manslaughter, health and safety offences and food safety and hygiene offences.

The guidelines will apply to all sentences passed on or after 1 February 2016 irrespective of when the relevant offence was committed.  They are expected to result in significantly larger fines being paid, particularly by large corporate defendants.

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Filed under Food & Beverages, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Product safety, UK

Criminal liability for defective products: a refresher

With the coming into force last month of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, there has understandably been a significant focus on the civil remedies available to consumers who purchase defective products (see our recent blog post commenting on the new Act).  However, consumer businesses should also give close attention to the potential for criminal prosecution where products they supply turn out to be not just defective but unsafe.  In this blog post we discuss the various criminal offences which arise in the context of defective products.

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Filed under Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Food & Beverages, Product recall, Product safety, Retail, UK, Uncategorized

Amended US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure narrow availability of civil discovery and sanctions

Important changes to the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), which govern the conduct of civil proceedings (including product liability cases) in US federal district court, will take effect on 1 December 2015 (absent US Congressional action, which appears unlikely). While various amendments are slated, the most significant amendments will limit the scope of civil discovery  while simultaneously reducing the potential for sanctions for the unintentional loss or destruction of e-mails and other electronically stored information. Joseph G Falcone, a partner in our New York office, and Julia Qi, an associate in New York, review the key amendments on our blog.

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Filed under Class actions, Collective actions, Uncategorized, United States

The UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 – key changes that every consumer business should be aware of

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 represents a significant development in the regulation of consumer contracts under UK law. It consolidates and brings consistency to rules that were previously spread across a wide range of different Acts and Regulations. It also introduces new rules, particularly in relation to digital content, remedies available to consumers and unfair contract terms.

The Act comes into force on 1 October 2015 and will apply to contracts entered into after that date. In this article we consider the most important changes to existing consumer law of which consumer businesses need to be aware.

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Filed under Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Food & Beverages, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Product recall, Product safety, Retail, UK, Uncategorized

ADR for consumer disputes: New obligations on businesses from 1 October 2015

The UK government has now published the principal legislation that will implement the European ADR Directive and the European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Regulation, both of which seek to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution schemes to resolve consumer disputes across the EU. Continue reading

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Filed under Europe, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Retail, UK

ECJ lowers level of proof required to prove ‘defect’ in medical products

In Boston Scientific Medizintechnik GmbH v AOK Sachsen-Anhalt and Another the European Court of Justice gave a purposive interpretation to the definition of “defect” for the purposes of the EC Product Liability Directive 85/374/EEC in the context of medical devices. Continue reading

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Filed under Europe, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Product recall, Product safety, UK

Federal Court delivers a blow to agreed outcomes in civil penalty proceedings

The recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia in FWBC v CFMEU has significant implications for regulators and respondents seeking to agree on a penalty in civil penalty proceedings. The decision is likely to alter the long-standing practice for negotiated outcomes with regulators including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which regulates product safety and related issues in Australia.  Continue reading

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Filed under Australia, Product safety

FDA Empowers Plaintiffs’ Bar with Trans-Fat Ban

Following almost two years of deliberation, and notwithstanding a nearly 80 percent drop in the consumption of trans fats over the past decade (due in part to industry’s movement away from the use of partially hydrogenated oils), the FDA has made “a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils … are generally recognized as safe for any use in human food.” The plaintiffs’ class-action bar will attach itself to this measure like barnacles or pilot fish. Continue reading

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Filed under Class actions, Food & Beverages, United States