25 Oct 2017

Introduction of a lifespan guarantee in the proposed online sales and digital content directives: Impact assessment of substantial amendments

Stefan Van Camp / Sylvain Bouyon / Antonella Zarra

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This study carries out an ex-ante impact assessment of substantial amendments put forward by the IMCO and JURI Committees of the European Parliament, which would introduce a commercial lifespan guarantee in the proposed online sales and digital content Directives. It analyses the impact of these proposed amendments through the development of specific policy options. Two non-legislative options, implying that none of the amendments are implemented, are first assessed: an Option zero and a soft law approach (Option 1). Three distinct legislative options are also defined, by integrating specific aspects of the amendments: Option 2 (subjective duration of lifespan), Option 3 (normal duration of lifespan) and Option 4 (binding technical standards for the determination of the lifespan) For each legislative option, two sub-options are developed by considering liability solely on the manufacturer (2a, 3a and 4a), or joint liability with the trader (2b, 3b and 4b). The key findings of the impact assessment reveal that the preferred options are Options 2 and 4. The former is certainly less ambitious than the latter and would result in less benefit overall, but it would also involve less cost and, contrary to Option 4, could be implemented within a relatively short period of time.

This study was requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) as part of the Parliament’s general commitment to improving the quality of EU legislation, and in particular in undertaking to carry out impact assessments of its own substantial amendments when it considers it appropriate and necessary for the legislative process. This study can also be downloaded from the European Parliament’s website.

Stefan Van Camp is an attorney at law at time.lex, a law firm specialised in technology, intellectual property, media and e-business. Sylvain Bouyon is Research Fellow and Head of banking, fintech and consumer protection at CEPS. Antonella Zarra is Research Assistant at CEPS.