Automotive Service Association (ASA)

House members introduce auto PARTS bill

U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., recently introduced H.R. 3889, the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales (PARTS) Act in the House of Representatives. The bill would amend the U.S. design patent law to change the period of design patent protection for automakers from 14 years to 30 months.

Both members serve on the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet. Lofgren introduced auto parts patent legislation in the last Congress.

The new subsection reads as follows:

"It shall not be an act of infringement of such design patent to make or offer to sell within the United States, or import into the United States, any article of manufacture that is similar or the same in appearance to the component part that is claimed in such design patent if the purpose of such article of manufacture is for the repair of a motor vehicle so as to restore such vehicle to its appearance as originally manufactured; and after the expiration of a period of 30 months beginning on the first day on which any such component part is first offered to the public for sale as part of a motor vehicle in any country, it shall not be an act of infringement of such design patent to use or sell within the United States any article of manufacture that is similar or the same in appearance to the component part that is claimed in such design patent if the purpose of such article of manufacture is for the repair of a motor vehicle so as to restore such vehicle to its appearance as originally manufactured."

"Competition is the hallmark of our free market system," Issa said. "Consumers have dozens of choices in electronics, food, service, clothing and other products – this same array of choices, across all price points, should also extend to automotive repair parts."

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