Tort liability for standards development in the United States and European Union

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Standards development is celebrated for providing a wide range of important benefits to individuals, firms, and society at large. Sometimes, however, it may harm the interests of specific individuals and firms. Tort law may offer remedies to those who suffered a loss because they relied on incomplete, outdated or otherwise inadequate standards, or used a product that was manufactured in conformity with such bad standards. This chapter discusses different theories of tort law that govern civil liability for private standards development in the United States and the European Union. It analyzes which factors courts in those jurisdictions consider significant when assessing civil liability for harm caused by negligent standards development. The chapter concludes that the liability exposure of standards-development organizations is principally determined by (i) the legal or de facto control such organizations have to direct compliance with their standards; (ii) the intended purposes of developing standards; (iii) the public representations organizations make about their expertise in standards development; (iv) whether there is a commercial benefit for the organization in developing standards and related activities; and (v) the observance of accepted principles of good governance in the adoption and revision of standards.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge handbook of technical standardization law
Subtitle of host publicationFurther interactions of public and private law
EditorsJorge Contreras
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781316416785
ISBN (Print)9781107129719
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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