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When is a manufacturer not a manufacturer?

The majority of CE Marking Legislation defines a number of different types of ‘Economic Operators’, one of those being the Manufacturer. The traditional interpretation of a manufacturer is the person or organisation that manufactures the product, however under CE Marking legislation, the term is defined a little differently. Under the New Legislative Framework (NLF), a manufacturer is defined as “any legal or natural person who manufactures [product] or has [product] designed or manufactured under his name or trade name”. Directives not amended under the NLF may have different definitions, however current guidance suggests that in the absence of a robust definition within the Directive, the above should be assumed.

So, what does this mean? The detail that many people miss is the second clause of the definition; i.e. if you ‘re-badge’ a product with your own trade name, then you take on the responsibility of the Manufacturer, and in most cases this will require you to maintain evidence of a Risk Assessment, maintain a Technical File, demonstrate production control and make a Declaration of Conformity as well, of course, as accepting legal liability for the conformity of the product.

A common example of re-badging is high-street DIY store ‘own brand’ power tools; whereas the chain could conceivably have no input into either design or manufacture of the product, in branding it with their own trademark, under CE Marking legislation, they are the ‘Manufacturer’.

Don’t get caught out, if you market products under your own trade name, whether or not you have physically ‘made’ it and whether or not you have conformity documentation from the original ‘Manufacturer’, you must fulfil the legal obligations of the manufacturer summarised above.

If you need any support with CE Marking obligations as a Manufacturer, then please contact us to discuss how we can help.

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