Press Releases

Press Releases

Issa, Hatch Introduce Legislation To Reduce Car Repair Costs

Press Release
Apr 4, 2017

Today, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee for Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet along with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) - member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce the cost of automotive repairs and help control the cost of car insurance.

The Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales Act of 2017 (PARTS Act) would expand consumer choice for automobile collision repair parts, cut costs paid by drivers and insurers, and increase competition in the automobile repair parts market.

The bill was introduced the same day that AAA released a new survey showing that one in three Americans would be unable to afford an unexpected car repair without going into debt. 

Rep. Darrell Issa: “Purchasing an automobile is one of the biggest investments a family will make. Yet according to AAA, one-in-three American drivers would be unable to cover the costs of an unexpected car repair bill without going into debtAs car insurance rates rise at their fastest rates in more than 13 years, families deserve access to as many options to make these fixes as possible. The PARTS Act increases consumer choice, encourages competition, fosters innovation and will be a big win for consumers by driving down the costs of these often very expensive repairs.”

Senator Hatch: “There is no reason why Americans should have to pay unreasonably high prices to repair their cars. Drivers and insurers should be able to shop around for the best deal rather than being locked into a small number of options. The PARTS Act will encourage competition in the marketplace by providing consumers with a greater choice of affordable, quality alternatives to repair their cars.” 

Background 

The PARTS Act narrowly amends U.S. design patent law to reduce—from 14 years to 2.5 years—the period of time during which car manufacturers can enforce design patents on collision repair parts (fenders, quarter panels, doors, etc.) against alternative parts suppliers. The current 14-year design patent term prevents aftermarket manufacturers from making or selling external collision repair parts, which drives up repair costs by limiting consumer choice, crowding out competition, and leading to higher insurance rates and fees.

Under the PARTS Act, it would not be an act of infringement for an alternative parts supplier to sell an aftermarket collision repair part once 2.5 years have elapsed from the date of patent. The Act would also allow alternative parts suppliers to research, develop, make, and test such parts on a not-for-sale basis during the 2.5-year patent period.

The Act would not, however, affect the ability of car companies to enforce design patents against other car companies for up to 14 years. It would impact only aftermarket repair parts.

For further background on the PARTS Act, click [here]. For a copy of the bill, click [here].

 

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