New York Law Will Regulate Consumer Device Repair Options: What the Digital Fair Repair Act Means for the Consumer Electronics Industry | Wiley Rain LLP

As 2022 draws to a close, New York Governor Kathy Hochul Occurred The Digital Fair Repair Act (Act), the first state law relating to what advocates call the “right to repair” that applies broadly to consumer electronics. the The latest version of the law, signed Dec. 29, includes new amendments to the version approved by the state legislature over the summer. The law generally requires original equipment manufacturers of certain electronic devices to make certain parts, tools, and documentation available to independent repair providers and owners of digital electronic equipment, on “fair and reasonable” terms, with the goal of expanding the consumer’s repair options. Companies will need to consider the practical implications as the law takes effect on devices manufactured after July 1, 2023.

The Digital Fair Repair Act requires that digital electronic equipment be made available on “fair and reasonable terms.” As noted above, the law requires OEMs to provide parts, tools, and documentation to independent repair providers and owners of digital electronic equipment on fair and reasonable terms. The law defines “digital electronic equipment” as “any hardware product first manufactured, sold or first used in New York on or after ‘July 1, 2023’ and whose operation is based, in whole or in part, on the digital electronic devices embedded in the product.” or attached to it and for which the original equipment manufacturer provides tools, parts, and documentation either through authorized repair providers, its employees, or any other authorized third-party providers.” “Fair and reasonable terms” are defined in the legislation as follows:

  • In respect of parts, such parts are provided by the manufacturer, either directly or indirectly through an authorized repair provider or an authorized third-party provider, to independent repair providers and owners at reasonable costs and terms;
  • With respect to the Tools, such Tools are provided free of charge and without the need for you to obtain permission to use or operate such Tool, or to create barriers to access or use of the Tool, except for reasonable costs associated with purchasing and physically setting up the Tools. appearance; And
  • With regard to the documentation required for the repair, such documentation is made available by the manufacturer free of charge, except for reasonable costs associated with the presentation of the documentation in printed form.

The legislation does not cover certain categories of equipment. While the law is broad, it makes exceptions for certain types of devices and equipment. Specifically, the legislation does not apply to:

  • public safety equipment for emergency response use or prevention purposes by an emergency services organization;
  • home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, air conditioning, and heating units;
  • the cars;
  • Medical devices;
  • Off-road equipment such as farm equipment, utility equipment, industrial equipment, and utility equipment;
  • commercial and industrial electronic equipment, including any accompanying tools, technology, accessories, accessories, components and repair parts;
  • Products that are sold under business-to-business or business-to-government contracts and are not offered for retail sale; And
  • E-bike manufacturers, distributors, importers, retailers or dealers.

Despite the exemption, many consumer electronics remain covered and subject to the requirements of the law.

Enforcement and next steps. The law will become effective one year after it is passed into law, and as mentioned above, it applies to devices that were first sold or used in New York after July 1, 2023. Once the law goes into effect, the law gives the New York Attorney General power to file claims against the companies. Manufacturers or authorized service providers to bar violations of the legislation and obtain compensation, although the attorney general is required to give notice and an opportunity to respond in writing before proceeding.

New York’s upcoming compliance deadline comes against the backdrop of other “right to fix” initiatives that would impose additional obligations if successful. At the federal level, President Biden Executive Order on Protecting the Economy Encouraged by the FTC to be active on the “right to fix,” the FTC voted unanimously to issue Policy statement Noting that the FTC will devote more enforcement resources to matters related to reform (we summarized the policy statement here). And the Federal Trade Commission is, too Comment request regarding a proposed change to their energy labeling rule that would require companies to provide repair instructions for covered products. At the state level, states have considered legislative proposals similar to the New York law in recent years and will continue to do so.

Some aspects of New York law, including provisions that were included in the late 2022 amendments, give manufacturers additional leeway to comply. For example, manufacturers are not required to provide repair passwords or security codes, they are not required to disclose trade secrets, and they are not required to provide batteries separately if there are safety concerns at installation, although they are still required to provide replacement components. Batteries included. In addition, the law excludes original equipment manufacturers or authorized repair providers from damage or injury to any digital electronic device, person, or property as a result of repair performed by an independent repair provider or owner.

With that said, manufacturers of covered products must still plan for changes in how parts, tools, and documentation are provided in New York, including evaluating how best to protect safety and security when complex electronic devices are repaired by personnel who may not have been trained in the same way as authorized repair providers. With New York law applicable to devices manufactured after July 1, 2023, manufacturers and others involved in device reform will need to plan now to assess whether current practices meet the requirements of the law and whether additional changes are necessary.

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