Not long ago, a shade-tree mechanic with average skills could fix whatever was wrong with your car. These days, cars are far more advanced. On-board computers allow cars to diagnose themselves for most common problems and make engines run more efficiently while squeezing out more power than ever before.
All this advanced technology has put the shade-tree mechanic pretty much out of business. Working on a car today requires advanced training and technical ability. The technology inside and outside the car consists of patented software, chip designs and proprietary systems. But the benefit to consumers has been enormous. These inventions are covered by patents to encourage and reward innovation.
American innovation is dependent on the protection of intellectual property. It encourages innovation by discouraging theft. But there are those who are philosophically opposed to intellectual property protection. Left-leaning public interest law firms and activist groups led by U.S. PIRG, an association of public-interest law firms, have been trying for years to undermine intellectual-property protection through “right to repair” campaigns in state legislatures. During this legislative session they are pushing their anti-innovation agenda in the guise of a “right to repair” advanced medical devices.
In my state, Texas, Rep. Thresa Meza has introduced a bill this session titled the Medical Device Right to Repair Act. This bill would require manufacturers of highly advanced medical devices like MRI machines, CT scanners and PE-scan systems to disclose confidential and patented design and service information.