Diagnostics: Scanning & Calibration: What’s the Confusion?
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has joined other major associations in distributing a letter to both the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in opposition to legislation that would create an exception from infringement of design patents for certain component parts, including automotive parts, used to repair another article of manufacture (Access to Repair Parts Act, H.B. 3059/S.B. 1368). The group has questioned the quality of aftermarket parts and believes they can pose safety risks.
A group opposing the Access to Repair Parts Act is made up of OEMs, intellectual property organizations and other broad-based business associations. In its letter to legislators, the coalition wrote:
Manufacturers of unlicensed automobile parts have to meet only one basic threshold, to produce a copy that looks similar to an original part. 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 and how their use will impact the quality and integrity of the original product. Automotive collision repairers are very concerned about the quality of replacement crash parts. Permitting this intellectual property infringement also exposes consumers to significant safety, performance or durability risks.
Supporters of the Access to Repair Parts Act believe that without exceptions to design patent infringement law, OEMs can unfairly inflate crash part prices. The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) says it strongly supports the legislation.
“At a time when consumers are keeping their vehicles longer, it is incredibly important that we stop any attempt to curb availability of high-quality, low-cost alternative collision repair parts,” QPC Executive Director Eileen Sottile said recently. “The increase in expensive collision repair parts could lead to higher insurance premiums for consumers, more vehicles being declared as total losses and ultimately less business for independent repairers.”
Along with ASA, the coalition opposing the Access to Repair Parts Act includes: Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM), Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association (MIPLA), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), United Automobile Workers of America (UAW), United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).