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Quality Parts Coalition Announces Support for PARTS Act

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Feb. 26, 2015—The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) has announced its support for the “Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales Act,” also known as the PARTS Act, companion legislation that was reintroduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate and House.

The legislation aims to fight for and preserve American drivers’ access to alternative auto replacement parts.

Over the past 10 years, major car companies have secured nearly 1,000 U.S. design patents on individual cosmetic collision repair parts such as hoods, fenders and mirrors, according to a QPC release. The number has dramatically increased since the 1990s, after failed attempts to get Congress to grant them special copyright-like protection for repair parts. The PARTS Act would adjust U.S. design patent law by reducing how long car companies can enforce their design patents against alternative suppliers from 14 years to 2.5 years.

Similar legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress.

Enacting this legislation would put the U.S. in line with the U.K., a number of other European countries and Australia, which have already passed similar repair clause laws to benefit consumers.

“For decades, consumers have benefited from competition in the collision repair parts marketplace between car companies and alternative parts suppliers,” Ed Salamy, executive director of the QPC, said in a release. “Even though car companies already control more than 70 percent of the collision repair market, they are using a little-known patent maneuver to grow their monopoly and stifle competition at the expense of consumers.”

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