Penn State International Law Review


Norbert Reich

First Paragraph

The traditional legal mechanisms of consumer protection are usually limited to national law and, to some extent, to the law of supranational organisations like the European Union ("EU"). There may be trends to extend the sphere of application or to make sure that EU nationals can always refer to the protection of their home country, but this will be difficult to implement in a globalised market with transactions easily crossing borders, especially by the use of the internet. This is particularly obvious in cases of software transactions: there is not a national marketplace, only a virtual marketplace, not determined by space and time. The partners may not know each other's residence, only their IP address; the payment and the download-delivery is done via the internet, without any personal contact of the parties being a necessary or usual prerequisite of the transaction. It seems impossible or at least very complicated under existing conflict rules to determine jurisdiction and applicable law.