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?