Avante Health Solutions announced a significant turning point in the right to repair, specifically concerning the right to access, service, and maintain diagnostic imaging medical equipment manufactured by Philips Medical Systems for Avante’s customers who own the equipment.

In April, under North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, a jury in the Western District Court of North Carolina (case 3:20-cv-00021-MOC-DCK) awarded Avante a verdict finding that Philips engaged in unfair and deceptive practices by refusing to provide key information necessary to perform service, maintenance, and repair of Philips’ Allura and Azurion cath labs and Philips CT systems. The monetary award, which is to be finalized by the Court, is expected to be in the millions. Further, the jury concluded that Avante’s advanced methods for servicing medical equipment do not misappropriate any of Philips’ trade secrets. 

Related: Inside the Right to Repair

The only findings for Philips related to activities that occurred prior to the issuance of the “DMCA Exemption” by the U.S. Copyright Office in October 2021. The jury’s verdict affirmed Avante’s long-held “right to repair” position that Philips aggressively targeted independent service organizations (ISOs) and sought to limit their access to information needed for service and maintenance of Philips’ medical systems.

The DMCA Exemption now permits owners of medical devices, such as hospitals and healthcare professionals, and ISOs to access system software for the purpose of diagnosing, servicing, and repairing such devices. It specifically eliminates liability for accessing controls to copyrighted software and related data files on lawfully acquired medical devices or systems when access is a necessary step in maintaining or restoring a device to work in accordance with its original specifications.

“The right to repair medical equipment is central to patient care, safety, and competitive, lower-cost service alternatives to reduce overall healthcare expenses in the United States,” says Jim Leitl, chief executive officer and president of Avante Health Solutions.

“Avante has the most skilled and well-trained service technicians in the industry, ensuring state-of-the-art services to all customers,” Leitl added.