The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC) reports that the PARTS Act bill is on the move. The U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property (“IP Subcommittee”) has scheduled a hearing in Washington, D.C. for February 2, 2016 at 1 p.m. on the “Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales Act” (PARTS Act), bipartisan legislation to create a narrow exception from design patent infringement for automotive collision repair parts.
The ABPA, though its membership in the Quality Parts Coalition (QPC), strongly supports the PARTS Act in order to ensure that car company design patents cannot be used to eliminate competition in the collision repair parts market.
If enacted, the PARTS Act would correct imbalances in U.S. design patent law by reducing (from 14 years to 30 months) how long automotive manufacturers can enforce their design patents against alternative suppliers. Major car companies have secured nearly a thousand U.S. design patents over the past 10 years on individual cosmetic collision repair parts such as hoods, fenders and mirrors, and many of these companies have threatened lawsuits or other legal actions to curb competition by alternative suppliers.
Notably, the IP Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is the co-author of the PARTS Act, along with fellow IP Subcommittee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). In addition, several other IP Subcommittee members have cosponsored the PARTS Act: Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Hank Johnson (D-GA).
QPC is promoting the hearing as a means to push for further consideration of the PARTS Act this year in Congress. Identical legislation in pending in the U.S. Senate.
We will update you as soon as witnesses are officially announced for the hearing.