The Auto Care Association applauds the introduction of the bipartisan “Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act,” by United States Representative Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) to reduce the expense of automotive repairs and the cost of car insurance. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) joined Rep. Issa as original cosponsors to this legislation.
According to Rep. Issa’s office, the SMART Act narrowly amends U.S. design patent law to reduce the time car manufacturers can enforce design patents on collision repair parts (fenders, quarter panels, doors, etc.) against alternative parts suppliers from 14 years to two-and-a-half years. 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.
“The Auto Care Association is happy to support this effort to fine tune the laws around vehicle design patents that have created roadblocks to aftermarket businesses,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “This legislation keeps in place the ability for vehicle manufacturers to enforce design patents against other vehicle manufacturers and we applaud this effort to bring about better consumer outcomes.”