Members of the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) have joined with national consumer advocates in lauding the introduction of House Resolution 5638, known as the repair parts design exemption.
The legislation, introduced and championed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), would assure that the American motoring public would still have a choice when it comes to the selection of crash replacement parts in the free marketplace. H.R. 5638 would provide an exception from design patent infringement for alternative repair parts used for the purpose of restoring a vehicle to its original appearance.
According to ABPA, the European Union recently placed its stamp of approval on such a design exemption measure, and Australia and New Zealand have had this "spare parts" exemption in force since 2003.
The ABPA says that If the bill or a similar one doesn’t pass, carmakers will have a monopoly on crash replacement parts, which the association believes would financially burden an already over-taxed driving public.
"This purposeful manipulation by the major auto manufacturers is
damning to consumerism and the free marketplace…Because if there is no
repair parts exemption, it’s the American consumers who will ultimately
bear the price of a marketplace devoid of high-quality, lower-cost
replacement collision parts,” said Stanley A.
Rodman, ABPA Executive Director.
ABPA says the number of design patents awarded to the major automobile manufacturers has grown to about 20 to 25 percent of the total U.S. patents awarded to those manufacturers.
For more information on ABPA, visit www.autobpa.com.