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PARTS Act Reintroduced in House

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April 24, 2013—U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and U.S. House Judiciary Committee members Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), this week reintroduced legislation to protect consumer access to alternative collision repair parts, according to the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC).

The bill, known as the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales (PARTS) Act, would amend the current U.S. design patent law by reducing the time period when auto manufacturers are able to enforce design patents on collision repair parts against alternative suppliers from 14 years to 30 months. Before the enforcement period ends, alternative suppliers could manufacture, test, market and distribute alternative parts pre-sale without infringing upon design patents.

The amendment would enable relatively quick access to affordable part substitutions for American car owners, prevent auto manufacturer monopolies on repair parts and preserve competition in the parts market, the QPC said. Australia and various European countries have already passed similar repair clause laws.

Similar legislation was introduced by Issa and Lofgren in the 112th Congress.

The QPC has expressed support for the legislation and urges action on these bills by the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

“The Quality Parts Coalition applauds the bill sponsors for their leadership on this important consumer issue,” said Daniel Morrissey, interim executive director of the QPC. “We urge Congress to move forward with these bills to preserve a 60-year tradition of free markets and fair prices in the collision parts industry.”

The QPC will launch a "Write Congress" widget on its website this week to encourage consumers and industry leaders to tell Congress they support the bill.

The QPC represents the independent parts industry, repairers, insurers, consumers and seniors. The organization’s goal is to develop and secure a permanent legislative change to U.S. design patent law to protect consumer access to alternative replacement parts and preserve competition.

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