Policy brief on the legal obstacles to the Right to Repair

The European right to repair refers to a set of policies and regulations aimed at ensuring that
consumers have the ability to repair and maintain the products they purchase. These policies are
designed to counteract a trend toward products becoming more difficult to repair, due to e.g.,
design choices, software locks, and a lack of access to spare parts and repair information.

There are several intellectual property (IP)-related issues that so far have received too little
attention in the ongoing policy debates. These IP-related issues can be complex and multifaceted,
and finding the right balance between protecting IP rights and enabling the right to repair is an
ongoing challenge. Addressing these IP-related issues however will be crucial to the success of
the right to repair movement.

In this policy paper, three such issues are discussed:

  • The introduction of an EU-wide repair clause in the proposed amendment of the Design
  • Technical protection measures as obstacles to product repair; and
  • The role of device-generated data and the upcoming Data Act.

For each subsection, the legal obstacles are discussed and concrete recommendations for
legislative amendments that can contribute to an effective right to repair for European
consumers are made.