Global Product Liability

Overview

Hong Kong's product liability regime is well-established and systematic. Product liability arises in contract, tort and/or breach of a statutory duty. A consumer can bring an action for negligence against the manufacturer or supplier of defective products when its conduct falls below the standard of care expected at law. Tort liability is fault-based and the liability is extended not only to the buyer, but also to other end-users who come into contact with the purchased goods.

In addition to civil liabilities, various ordinances and regulations impose criminal liability for unsafe products on manufacturers, retailers or suppliers. The main governing statute is the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance which requires manufacturers, importers and suppliers of consumer products to comply with a general safety requirement and any approved standard that applies to that product. There has also been an increasing public awareness of consumer rights in recent years following the enactment of the amended Trade Description Ordinance. The Customs and Excise Department of the Hong Kong Government has taken an active approach in curbing unscrupulous trade practices including misleading advertising and aggressive sales tactics. There are numerous cases where offenders were sentenced to jail or fined.

DLA Piper Hong Kong has extensive experience in the conduct, management and planning of product liability litigation and dispute resolutions. Our Hong Kong product liability lawyers have in-depth experience representing clients in the following core areas: 

Manufacturing

DLA Piper represents national and international companies in litigation and regulatory compliance relating to the manufacturing of products and goods. We have significant experience in defending companies facing allegations that they have manufactured defective products. We also advise our clients on how to anticipate and avoid the risk of product liability. Specific examples of our product liability work in the area of general manufacturing includes representationa German multinational corporation in a Hong Kong arbitration concerning allegedly defective products manufactured by the corporation. 

Food and
beverage

DLA Piper represents a broad range of food, beverage and tobacco companies on the requirement of regulatory authorities and compliance in the context of multi-market, multi-product operations. Our advice extends throughout product development and sales and marketing, including import/export requirements, labeling, promotion and advertising, indemnity agreement with suppliers and insurance issues. Recent example of work done for food, beverage and tobacco clients include advising a global confectionary manufacturer on the Hong Kong competition law implications in connection with exclusive product launches, stock allocation and promotion campaigns of its local retailers. We have also advised an African tobacco company in a Hong Kong litigation claiming for the purchase price of tobacco delivered to its Hong Kong partner.

Consumer
product

DLA Piper represents some of the largest consumer product and electronics manufacturers in a variety of matters, including compliance with local and international standard and regulations, customs regulations, and regulatory investigations. We advise manufacturers of a broad range on manufacturing, distribution and product safety issues. Examples of DLA Piper's recent work in the area of consumer products and electronics include advising a German multi-national in a potential customs infringement case in China and recovery action against its Chinese business partner in Hong Kong. We have also represented a British footwear and clothing brand in a dispute with its Hong Kong distributor regarding the distribution of products in China and Hong Kong. 

Automotive
and transportation

DLA Piper represents vehicle manufacturers and transportation companies in every link in the distribution chain, including parts suppliers, equipment manufacturers, retailers and dealers. Our lawyers have deep experience advising on the requirements of national and regional regulatory authoritiesand ensuring compliance in multi-market and multi-product operations. We have recently represented an American semiconductor company on a product liability claim filed against it by a Chinese parts supplier who has used the allegedly defective semiconductors to manufacture car components. 

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