I am currently trying to get firmware from a company called Sunfire a formerly Washington State corporation, which makes home theater products. They have a discontinued line of products, and have since been acquired by Nortek Security and Control, a California company.

Are companies under any legal obligation to provide firmware for their devices at all, or is this just something many do out of the goodness of their heart?

Without their firmware, I have a once $3,000 19"x18"x9" paperweight. If I had the firmware, I could replace a $9 chip and restore it to working order.

In many other industries, like computer motherboards, wireless routers, video cards, etc., even if they halt development, discontinued a product, or go through an acquisition or merger, they still keep the downloads for those products available, which prevents a lot of expensive paperweights. Even if there was no formal legal obligation, if they ever stopped providing those downloads, that company would be universally despised and, I assume, probably taken to court.

Are there any relevant court cases that have been adjudicated in this respect, ideally in the United States but perhaps also in the EU? Is there any leverage from which I could use to try and push a little harder for them to provide firmware for my product?

  • 1
    I've seen coffee tables made out of Silicon Graphics servers which were $200k+ when they were 1st purchased. Unless there is a support contract, obsolescence is a fairly expected occurrence in the tech world.
    – grovkin
    Sep 15, 2020 at 22:25
  • @grovkin So if ASUS or Gigabyte or NVIDIA decided tomorrow to stop offering any downloads or firmware or BIOS files for all of their products, there would be absolutely no legal recourse or case law to leverage against them?
    – Ehryk
    Sep 15, 2020 at 22:31
  • 2
    How old is it? Did you buy it originally, or did you buy it used? A friend once told me that the US does have some requirements about how long a company has to support devices but I don't remember the details.
    – mkennedy
    Sep 15, 2020 at 23:53
  • @mkennedy I did not buy it originally; my stepfather did somewhere around 2003/2004.
    – Ehryk
    Sep 16, 2020 at 9:55

1 Answer 1


Up to a point

Under the Australian Consumer Law, one of the statutory consumer guarantees is that:

have spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise.

"Reasonable time" depends on the particular type of product but for consumer electronics, 3-6 years would be reasonable with more expensive items towards the upper end of that range.

To be clear - they are under no obligation to supply firmware or any other specific item but they are obliged to have the capability to repair it or replace it with an equivalent item if it breaks within that reasonable time.

  • Ah, well then my 'resonable time' has expired, it was launched in 2003.
    – Ehryk
    Sep 16, 2020 at 9:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .