The Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Association sent a letter to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director John Dudas indicating that they did not support new legislation that would create an exemption for design patent infringement liability for component parts (also known as a "repair clause") used to repair automobiles and other articles of manufacture (H.R. 5638).
IPO based their lack of support on what they say are four flaws in the legislation: the undermining of the policy rationale for IP rights; the targeting of only replacement parts; the removal of existing rights; and the creation of an uneven playing field.
Supported by AAIA and introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., S 5638 would leave in place patent protection for the first sale of the vehicle, but would permit the production by aftermarket companies of replacement cosmetic parts that needed to be the same as the OE part it was replacing. Similar legislation already has been enacted in several countries, such as Australia, and has gained approval in the European Union (EU) Parliament, with action expected soon from the EU Council of Ministers. AAIA has told Congress that failure to enact this legislation will mean that car companies will obtain a monopoly in the sale of replacement collision repair market, thus raising repair costs for car owners.
For more information on the repair clause and the legislation, visit www.qualitypartscoalition.com.