May 25, 2023
Primer: An Update on Right to Repair
In May, Minnesota signed into law its own right to repair legislation, the Digital Fair Repair Act. In an update to a previous American Action Forum primer, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jeffrey Westling summarizes Minnesota’s approach to right to repair legislation and walks through how it differs from New York’s approach.
The legislation applies retroactively to devices sold on or after July 1, 2021, rather than after the law goes into effect. The provision is designed to ensure that third-party services can repair consumer devices currently in the market rather than just new devices, meaning that the benefits of a right to repair law will extend to devices consumers currently use. Requiring manufacturers to provide support retroactively comes with significant costs, however, as companies never envisioned mandated support for these types of products. Supplier contracts, repair processes, and tool development will all need to be readdressed, and the legal and IP protections governed by commercial contracts will likewise be jeopardized. These additional costs will make it difficult for manufacturers to comply, while setting bad precedent for future retroactive laws.