The Right to Repair: Perspectives from the United States
31 Australian Intellectual Property Journal 98 (2020)
13 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 9, 2021
Repair has entered the national conversation in the United States. Fueled mainly by a strong consumer rights ideology of repair, the social movement has to-date mainly focused its efforts on state-level, consumer protection legislation in an attempt to codify a right to repair. The thought is that this will then bring to the bargaining table all of the various manufacturers that currently oppose such a right – and takes a page from the successful automobile right to repair campaign from 2011-2012. However, the focus on consumer rights can be somewhat myopic and overlooks in some sense how federal intellectual property laws can continue to interfere with a right to repair (even if mandated by some states). This essay will provide an overview of the repair social movement in the U.S. and a look at how the focus in enacting a right to repair should encompass more than consumer rights, but also possible reforms to U.S. intellectual property laws.
Keywords: repair, user rights, intellectual property, exhaustion, consumer protection, replacement parts, copyright, patents, design, trademarks, state legislation
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