As the pace of innovation increases at an ever faster rate, many products that traditionally may not have been thought of as involving computers or software are incorporating these elements. In 2007, the iPhone revolutionized the public’s conceptions about what a phone should be. Ever since, there has been a growing trend toward increasing connectivity and computing power in the products that we use on a day-to-day basis. Today, toasters connect to our wireless networks. Some automobiles now incorporate over 100 million lines of computer code into their onboard computer systems.
Purchasers of consumer goods are more discerning than ever before, and thanks to the internet, have access to more choices and more information every day. Manufacturers that are perceived as producing high-quality products have an advantage in the markets of the future. One way manufacturers have long signaled their quality is through providing product warranties against failure, breakage, or other problems. Increasingly, however, manufacturers have recognized that traditional warranties are a cost center, rather than a profit center. As a result, more and more manufacturers are offering extended warranties or service contracts that buyers purchase separately from the actual product. Every reader who has made a major appliance, automobile, or electronics purchase recently will be familiar with the sales pitch for extended warranties and service contracts, and may even have purchased one for themselves.
One of the fundamental components of a mediation is, of course, the mediator. Continuing the Manufacturing Industry Advisor’s series on mediation, we discuss how to select the right mediator for resolution of your dispute. Selecting the right mediator may well mean the difference between a great settlement or facing continued, expensive litigation.
In a major change in air permitting policy, on January 25, 2018 U.S. EPA reversed its longstanding “once in, always in” policy governing what sources are subject to major source regulations for the emissions of air toxics under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. Under a 1995 policy memorandum issued by the agency, sources that had the potential to emit above the major source thresholds at the time a standard applied to a particular source category were “always in,” and had to forever comply with that standard—even if the source subsequently installed emission control equipment or switched to non-hazardous air pollutant substances, and took enforceable limits to keep emissions below those limits. The January 25 memorandum reverses that policy, and authorizes the reclassification of a major source to an area source at such time as the source takes enforceable limits on potential to emit below the major source thresholds.
Those racing to fill the streets with driverless and shared vehicles are weighing their competitive pursuits and market moves against the new regulations and industry standards coming down the pike.