Automotive Service Association president Dan Risley testified at a U.S. Judiciary Committee subcommittee, saying consumers should be the arbiters of quality when it comes to automotive parts.
Risley was addressing the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, which is trying to find a balance between the protection of intellectual property and the perceived need for increased competition within the replacement parts marketplace.
Proposed Bill 1057, the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales (PARTS) Act, would limit the term of protection for patented designs of automotive repair parts used to restore automobiles.
Following the hearing, Risley said, “A free and open marketplace does not entail enacting a law that states an aftermarket part is equal to an OEM part. This should be decided by the party making the purchase.”
Other witnesses included Jack Gillis, director of Public Affairs, Consumer Federation of America; Kelly K. Burris, intellectual property attorney, Burris Law, PLLC; and Pat Felder, owner, Felder’s Collision Parts Inc. based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
During the hearing members considered the costs and benefits of the current time restrictions on design patents for collision car parts. The main point of contention rested on the protection of intellectual property versus the perceived need for increased competition within the replacement parts marketplace.