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ASA Opposes PARTS Act

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May 23, 2013—U.S. representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in the U.S. Senate recently introduced legislation titled the “Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales Act of 2013.”

The legislation, known as “PARTS Act,” would provide for an exception from infringing U.S. design patents for certain parts of motor vehicles. The bill would amend current design patent laws to change the period of design patent protection for automakers 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 Automotive Service Association (ASA) has joined a coalition of OEMs, car dealers, labor unions and other trade associations in sending a letter to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, asking that they oppose the bill.

“Manufacturers of unlicensed automobile parts have to meet only one basic threshold, to produce a copy that passes off as an original part,” the ASA said in the letter. “Those who produce such parts incur no costs attributable to original design, research and development and most importantly, product safety testing. Accordingly, the manufacturer of the original product for whom such unlicensed replacement parts are made does not know how these parts will perform with the rest of the vehicle and how their use will impact the quality and integrity of the original product.”

To view the full text of the legislation, visit TakingTheHill.com.

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