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Three congressmen join in support of PARTS Act

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June 18, 2012—Three new congressmen have endorsed the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales (PARTS) Act, a piece of proposed legislation that the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) said would preserve American consumers’ rights to benefit from competition in the automotive replacement parts industry.

U.S. House of Representatives members Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) joined House Judiciary Committee members Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) in support of the PARTS Act, also known as H.R. 3889.

The QPC said American drivers currently have access to alternative replacement automotive parts that can save up to 50 percent off repair costs. But car companies have been acquiring U.S. design patents on exterior repair parts—such as hoods, bumper covers and mirrors—and enforcing them against independent suppliers to eliminate competition. The QPC said reduced competition in the replacement parts industry could cost drivers an additional $1.5 billion annually.

The proposed PARTS Act would prevent car companies from growing their monopoly in the market by reducing the time period during which they can enforce design patents against alternative suppliers from 14 years to 30 months. The alternative parts industry would be permitted to manufacture, test, market and distribute parts during that 30-month period without infringing on the design patents to prepare to enter the market, the QPC said. If approved, the QPC said the bill would save money for consumers and protect thousands of jobs across the country.

“The Quality Parts Coalition applauds the new bill co-sponsors for fighting for motorists’ rights when it comes to repairing the cars, especially during these tough economic times,” said Eileen Sottile, executive director of the QPC. “We’re urging Congress to pass this bill to stop car companies from growing their profits at the expense of budget-conscious consumers and the independent auto repair parts industry.”

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