Towards a Right to Innovate: DIGITAL SME’s Response to the Right to Repair Directive

  • Digital SMEs participate in all levels of the repair and maintenance value chain

  • Digital SMEs are key in providing essential software and hardware tools in the aftersales markets

  • To make the Right to Repair a reality for European consumers, it is essential that we take into account the views of digital SMEs

The European Commission has issued a proposal on the Right to Repair Directive, with the aim to support the European Green Deal by making it easier for consumers to repair products instead of replacing them.

Sellers of goods will be required to offer repair services on a defective good within the timeframe of the two-year legal guarantee, except from cases when repair is more expensive that replacement. Moreover, the proposal introduces measures that go beyond the legal guarantee for certain products, as well as the establishment of a European Repair Information Form and of online platforms that help match consumers with repairers.

DIGITAL SME welcomes the Directive as a first step towards realising the Right to Repair but highlights the lack of ambition. In this Response to the Right to Repair Directive, DIGITAL SME lays down five key asks that could lead to unlocking the ecosystem of aftersales markets for consumers and for digital SMEs.

To achieve this, it is important that the scope of the Right to Repair extends not only to consumers but also to other businesses. Else, the exclusion of the B2B sector from the scope of the Directive would not allow to unleash to potential of new sustainable digital solutions that SMEs could provide to manufacturers, independent repairers, and consumers. Furthermore, repairability should be embedded in product development by design and spare parts should be widely accessible for a fair price.

Finally, the Right to Repair must take into consideration the developments of the digital transition. The European Commission and the co-legislators must also promote the Right to Repair Software and the Right to Innovate. Therefore, key parameters of openness, such as access to data, and the disaggregation of software and hardware are essential in order to allow for digital SMEs to expand the lifecycle of products and develop innovative and sustainable solutions in the secondary markets.

You can read the full Position Paper here.