Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Consumer law and product liability in Argentina

The Argentine Consumer Protection Law (Law 22,240), first enacted in 1993, was amended by Law 26,361 in March of this year. This law, which cannot be contracted out of, renders a trade mark owner liable if its activity falls within the scope of a ‘supplier’ and injuries result to consumers from any defects in or risk presented by a product bearing its trade mark. In once recent case a court ordered soda-siphon makers' controlling entity IVESS to pay damages, together with the maker Soda Profesional SA, for injuries caused to a consumer by the explosion of two soda siphons. While IVESS did not make or sell the products, it was held liable under Section 40 of the Consumer Protection Law. Said the court:
"the fact that Soda Profesional SA was expelled from the entity [IVESS] does not exempt the latter from its liability, since in any case the entity should have taken all necessary measures to prevent the improper use of the trade mark from injuring consumer confidence or, at the least, it should have properly advertised its disengagement from the manufacturer".
According to the court, the only way for a trade mark owner to escape liability is to take all necessary measures to prevent improper use of the trade mark by a third party which could injure consumer confidence, or at least properly advertise the termination of the trade mark use authorization.

[source: "Amendment to Consumer Protection Law and its Effect on IP Rights", article written for International Law Office by Daniel R Zuccherino, Obligado & Cia. This article further discusses the concept of 'supplier' under this law].

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