The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is praising U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch for bringing up the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act during a recent meeting of the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
The PARTS Act, which Hatch reintroduced in April 2017, would specify that it’s not an act of infringement for an alternative parts supplier to sell an aftermarket collision repair part once 2.5 years have elapsed from the date of the design patent. The previous enforcement period was 14 years.
Last fall, DePaul University College of Law professor Josh Sarnoff published a white paper asserting that the PARTS Act is necessary to preserve a competitive marketplace for aftermarket parts. Hatch submitted the white paper for the record at the April 18 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“PCI applauds Senator Hatch for raising the importance of the PARTS Act to the competitive aftermarket parts industry during today’s hearing,” said Nat Wienecke, senior vice president, federal government relations, for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “Consumers should have the choice between original equipment manufactured parts or alternative sources of non-OEM parts to replace the cosmetic exterior parts of a car that are commonly damaged in an auto crash.”
Stuck in committee since last April, the PARTS Act “would protect the patent law consumer repair right for exterior, non-structural, non-safety-related exterior collision repairs for motor vehicles,” PCI explained.
“Without this right, consumers may be forced to purchase much more expensive parts from the original equipment manufacturers, and the cost of those parts could make repairs not economically viable forcing the consumer to replace their car,” said Wienecke. “As the cost of auto repair is increasing, the availability of quality aftermarket, or new, non-branded automobile collision parts can save families money.”