GOVERNMENT: Change in crash parts patent protections being sought

Eileen Sottile, executive director of the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC), urged attendees at the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA) conference in late April to contact Congress to support the coalition’s legislation (HR 3889) that would reduce the time automakers can use design patents to prevent other companies from producing replacement crash parts.

Sottile said the bill would reduce the patent protection from 14 years to just 2.5 years, and the 2.5-year clock would start ticking when the automaker introduces the car, even if that is in another country months before it is introduced in the United States.

She said the QPC wanted to eliminate all design patent protection on the parts, as called for in earlier bills the QPC backed in Congress previously, but settled for 2.5 years because Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), who is sponsoring the bill in the U.S. House, “felt very strongly that we had to find a balance between protecting intellectual property and allowing competition.”

Sottile said a sponsor is being sought to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.

More information about the QPC, automaker design patents and the bill is available at the Coalition’s website (www.KeepAutoPartsAffordable.org).

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