CAR Coalition Applauds Reintroduction of SMART Act

CAR Coalition Applauds Reintroduction of SMART Act

The CAR Coalition believes the SMART Act will empower consumers to choose quality, safe and affordable aftermarket car parts, while respecting the intellectual property rights of automakers.

The CAR Coalition, a growing group of independent automotive parts and repair companies, associations and insurers committed to preserving consumer choice and affordable vehicle repair, applauds U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA-48), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18), David Joyce (R-OH14), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Laurel Lee (R-FL-15), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-3) for reintroducing the “Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act”.

As car repair prices continue to climb, the CAR Coalition believes the SMART Act will empower consumers to choose quality, safe and affordable aftermarket car parts, while respecting the intellectual property rights of automakers.

“Legislative reform is critical to lowering auto repair costs, restoring consumer choice in the car repair market and encouraging industry competition,” said Justin Rzepka, executive director of the CAR Coalition. “The bipartisan SMART Act will put the power of choice back in the hands of consumers and local businesses, providing much-needed relief in the face of rising prices and supply chain breakdowns.”

Added Congressman Issa, “According to AAA, a third of American drivers can’t afford the costs of an unexpected car repair bill without going into debt. As repair costs continue to rise, consumers deserve access to as many auto part repair options as possible. The SMART Act will increase consumer choice, encourage competition and foster innovation to drive down the cost of expensive repairs.”

Over the past two decades, the CAR Coalition states that automakers have increasingly applied for design patents to restrict consumer access to basic functional parts, including headlamps, doors and fenders. The CAR Coalition calls this practice “anticompetitive” and believes it hurts vehicle owners’ ability to choose from a variety of brands and products when making repairs and costs American consumers more than $1.5 billion per year, according to recent research from the CAR Coalition and DePaul University College of Law.

“The SMART Act will put an end to automakers’ unfair use of patents by reducing from 15 years to 2.5 years the time that automakers can enforce design patents against alternative parts manufacturers on collision repair parts, including common parts like side mirrors, quarter panels and bumpers,” the CAR Coalition states.

For more information on the CAR Coalition, visit carcoalition.com.

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