Houston, TX – The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) both applauds and supports the Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The SMART Act is being championed by Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet in the House Judiciary Committee. Original co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation are Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Stephen Cohen (TN-9), Scott Perry (PA-10), Dave Joyce (OH-14), and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18). The SMART Act will reduce the costs of collision repair for consumers as well as help in reducing their insurance premiums.
“The ABPA proudly supports the introduction of the SMART Act,” Edward Salamy, Executive Director of the ABPA, said. “As outlined in the FTC Report released just last month, consumers are paying too much for auto repair due to the various methods the car companies utilize to stifle competition on repair parts. The abuse of design patents on repair parts is one of those methods and the SMART Act will be a huge win for consumers.”
According to Congressman Issa’s office, the Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act, will expand consumer choice for automobile collision repair parts, decrease costs to both drivers and insurers, and enhance competition in the automobile repair parts market. Specifically, the legislation narrowly amends U.S. design patent law to reduce from 14 years to 2.5 years the time car manufacturers can enforce design patents on collision repair parts (fenders, quarter panels, doors, etc.) against alternative parts suppliers. The current patent term prevents aftermarket manufacturers from making or selling external collision repair parts, which drives up repair costs by limiting consumer choice, crowding out competition, and leading to higher insurance rates and fees. Under the SMART Act, it would not be 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 patent. The Act would also allow alternative parts suppliers to research, develop, make, and test parts on a not-for-sale basis during the new patent period. The Act would not alter the 14-year period that car companies can enforce design patents against other car companies. It would impact only aftermarket repair parts.
In addition to support from the ABPA, the SMART Act is supported by: Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Coalition, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), CARE, Retiresafe, Consumer Federation of America (CFA), American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), Autocare, LKQ, Autozone, and AARP.
About the ABPA
With more than 150 members, the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) occupies over 400 distinctive locations including collision parts distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and parts recycling plants. ABPA’s members are responsible for distributing more than 80 percent of the independently produced aftermarket crash replacement parts sold to the collision repair trade. For more information about the ABPA, visit autobpa.com. To find out more about how the car companies are stifling competition in the repair market, visit mypartschoice.com.