FTC recognized business injury and reputation may be reasons for restrictions
While the FTC said there may be legally recognized explanations for repair restrictions, which could include preventing injuries and reputational concerns with non-authorized replacement parts or services, it also said manufacturers may be held liable to the extent they have market power and refuse to provide consumers or aftermarket service providers with "key inputs" such as parts, manuals or diagnostic software and tools.
Next steps remain undetermined
So what does all of this mean, and in particular, what does this mean in the context of some existing medical device repair restrictions? Well… my crystal ball is somewhat cloudy and the overall blunt report on manufacturer practices did not offer in its conclusion a plethora of insight as to the next steps that the FTC actually plans to undertake. We may have to wait until the FTC commissioners offer further public comment. Reportedly, the FTC commissioners will include one new commissioner with a strong background in antitrust, if approved by the U.S. Senate.
About the author: Robert J. Kerwin is the general counsel for the International Association of Medical Equipment Remarketers and Servicers (IAMERS).
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