Reference : Product Liability Ramifications for Erroneous GNSS Signals: Is an Alternative Approac...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Paper published in a book
Law, criminology & political science : European & international law
Product Liability Ramifications for Erroneous GNSS Signals: Is an Alternative Approach Possible? in 2013 Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law
Loukakis, Andreas mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Law Research Unit >]
Eleven International Publishing
Eleven International Publishing
The Hague
the Netherlands
64th International Astronautical Congress, 56th IISL Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space
from 23-09-2013 to 27-09-2013
International Astronautical Federation-International Institute of Space Law
[en] Product Liability ; Defective information ; Signal Defect
[en] The liability regime for erroneous signals provided from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is a topical issue. There is already certain legal analysis relating to this matter which suggests the adoption of an international convention which would subject GNSS operators to a strict liability regime with a limitation on the amount and furthermore supplemented by a compensation fund. This paper will try to address the issues of liability for erroneous GNSS signals from a different perspective, namely that of product liability. Interestingly, someone could argue that in case of an erroneous GNSS signal, the GNSS provider could be considered liable for defective product, if the GNSS signal were qualified as a product. In some legal systems, this would lead to strict liability of the provider. In order to reach such a conclusion, it would be necessary to qualify the GNSS signal as a product. Thus, a number of particular questions need to be further explored: First, would the concept of product liability be relevant for GNSS activities? Furthermore, can a satellite signal be qualified as a product or as a service? What would be the legal consequences for GNSS signal providers if satellite signals were qualified as products? The basic aim of this paper is to give answers to the aforementioned questions. In doing so, the paper will base its analysis on two GNSS systems; the current system of GPS and the forthcoming system of Galileo. After briefly describing the basic elements of these systems and some hypothetical scenarios of damage, the paper will address the issue of whether satellite signals could be considered as products or services. In doing so, analogies from other fields as for instance electricity or defective information stemming from aeronautical charts, will be drawn. Electricity has been recognized as a product in a number of legal systems, within the EU for example. Defective information stemming from aeronautical charts has been qualified as a product by some American Courts. Given the fact that satellite signals share a number of common characteristics with electricity as well as with information derived from aeronautical charts, by analogy, one could reach the conclusion that satellite signals might be qualified as products. In addition, the legal consequences of recognizing satellite signals as a product will be examined by reviewing product liability provisions in selected legal systems, namely the USA and the EU. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn from the aforementioned analysis.

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