The U.S. House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, under the Judiciary Committee, held a hearing Feb. 2nd on H.R. 1057, the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade and Sales (PARTS) Act. The PARTS Act limits the term of protection for patented designs of automotive repair parts used to restore automobiles. Dan Risley, the Automotive Service Association’s (ASA) president and executive director, testified on behalf of the automotive repair industry.
Other witnesses included:
- Jack Gillis, director of Public Affairs, Consumer Federation of America
- Kelly K. Burris, intellectual property attorney, Burris Law, PLLC
- Pat Felder, owner, Felder’s Collision Parts Inc.
During the hearing, members addressed the costs and benefits of the current time restrictions on design patents for collision car parts. The main point of contention rested on the protection of intellectual property versus the perceived need for increased competition within the replacement parts marketplace.
Following the hearing, Risley said, “A free and open marketplace does not entail enacting a law that states an aftermarket part is equal to an OEM part. This should be decided by the party making the purchase.”