GOVERNMENT: Bill would boost crash parts competition

Proposed federal legislation (HR 3889) introduced in early February would significantly reduce the time automakers can use design patents to prevent other companies from producing replacement crash parts; current patent laws give automakers a 14-year exclusivity on parts design, but the bill would reduce this to 2.5 years.
The Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), both members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. They say the bill helps ensure consumers have options when they repair their cars to their original state after an accident.
“Consumers deserve access to high-quality alternative replacement parts,” said Melissa Shelk, vice president for federal affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA), which along with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, are among those backing the bill. “Increased competition means decreased prices and greater choice for consumers.”
LINK: to text of bill (https://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3889)