CCL President Robert S. Peck told conference attendees at Hastings Law School in San Francisco to expect a new revolution in products liability because technology changing the relationship between a manufacturer and buyer. The presentation was part of a two-day academic symposiums, "The Internet and the Law: Legal Legal Challenges in the New Digital Age," cosponsored by the Pound Civil Justice Institute and the UC Hastings Center for Litigation and the Courts.

     Peck described today's "smart" or connected products as providing a continuous connection between the manufacturer and the product. Through data retrieval, security updates, and other over-the-air connections that occur without intervention by the user, the manufacturer maintains contact with the device. In many instances, while the purchaser owns the hardware, the software remains in the manufacturer's name and is merely licensed to the user. This co-ownership arrangement, Peck said, has the potential to change standards for personal jurisdiction and reinvigorate strict liability. He further described the historical development of products liability, which has taken several revolutionary leaps in response to changing technology, first with the development of railroads and, most prominently, with the invention of automobiles.

     Papers from the academic symposium will be published in a future issue of the Hastings Law Journal. For more information on the symposium, see The Internet and the Law.