Product Documentation Case Study: Sony

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Product liability can arise from a “defect” in the product literature, sometimes also known as “failure to warn” or a “failure to instruct.” Sony, an international consumer electronic company, was introducing a new product to its United States market and was concerned about meeting product liability regulations. The company asked Dashe & Thomson to help them.


Dashe & Thomson’s Product Liability Prevention Attorney worked with a senior technical writer specializing in product liability to perform an audit of the company’s product literature. The product liability audit addressed these issues:

    • Does the product literature conform to the general principles of United States product liability law as to instructions, warnings and claims of performance?
    • Is the writing clear and understandable?
    • Is the material organized in accordance with generally accepted principles of technical presentation?

The company’s product literature was then evaluated according to the Dashe & Thomson 100-point scale. The senior technical writer produced a prototype for the company, which included the recommendations in the evaluation.


The company was able to assess how closely its existing manuals conformed to United States regulatory requirements and to incorporate the recommendations into user guides for other products. The prototype itself was used to develop the user guide for the new product as well as to revise the other user guides for that product line.

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