SMART Act Introduced in Congress

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June 25, 2021—Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reduce the expense of automotive repairs and cost of car insurance, according to a press release. 

The Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation ACT, or SMART, would narrowly amend U.S. design patent law to reduce the time car manufacturers can enforce design patents on collision repair parts (fenders, quarter panels, doors, etc.) against alternative parts suppliers from 14 years to two-and-a-half years. 

The current patent term prevents aftermarket manufacturers from making or selling external collision repair parts, which drives up repair costs by limiting consumer choice, the release says, crowding out competition and leading to higher insurance rates and fees.. 

The Auto Care Association released a statement applauding the bipartisan legislation. 

“The Auto Care Association is happy to support this effort to fine tune the laws around vehicle design patents that have created roadblocks to aftermarket businesses,” Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the ACA, says in the statement. “This legislation keeps in place the ability for vehicle manufacturers to enforce design patents against other vehicle manufacturers and we applaud this effort to bring about better consumer outcomes.”

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