An article means an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition (Article 3(3)). ECHA guidance applied this definition to show a product made up of many parts to be interpreted as ONE article. Dissenting member states did not agree and made their own interpretation of “once an article, always an article.” This led to a requested ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The question posed to the ECJ was “Where an article within the meaning of [the REACH regulation] is composed of several elements which themselves meet the definition of article given by the regulation, are the obligations resulting from Article 7(2) and Article 33 of the regulation to apply only with regard to the assembled article or with regard to each of the elements which meets the definition of article?”
The court ruling issued in September 2015 provided that “the classification as an article remains applicable to any object meeting the criteria in Article 3(3) of the REACH Regulation and forming part of the composition of a complex product unless, following a production process, that object becomes waste or ceases to have the shape, surface or design which is more decisive in determining its function than its chemical composition.” The ruling aligned with the original dissenting member states opinions.