Directive on Liability of Defective Products

On September 28, 2022, the European Commission published its long-promised proposal for an AI Liability Directive.  The draft Directive is intended to complement the EU AI Act, which the EU’s institutions are still negotiating.  In parallel, the European Commission also published its proposal to update the EU’s 1985 Product Liability Directive.  If adopted, the proposals will change the liability rules for software and AI systems in the EU.

The draft AI Liability Directive establishes rules applicable to non-contractual, fault-based civil claims involving AI systems.  Specifically, the proposal establishes rules that would govern the preservation and disclosure of evidence in cases involving high-risk AI, as well as rules on the burden of proof and corresponding rebuttable presumptions.  If adopted as proposed, the draft AI Liability Directive will apply to damages that occur two years or more after the Directive enters into force; five years after its entry into force, the Commission will consider the need for rules on no-fault liability for AI claims.

As for the draft Directive on Liability of Defective Products, if adopted, EU Member States will have one year from its entry into force to implement it in their national laws.  The draft Directive would apply to products placed on the market one year after it enters into force.

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