- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Counterfeiting is a pervasive and dangerous practice. Unsafe and unreliable automotive replacement products not only undermine the automotive aftermarket but also represent a serious danger to the consumer.

However, consumers also must be wary of Mr. Esper’s attempt to defend car companies’ efforts to quash competition by pitting intellectual property rights against the scourge of counterfeiting.

In fact, Ford Motor Co. is locked in a battle over intellectual property rights with a thriving and legitimate automotive aftermarket. Unlike counterfeiters, America’s automotive aftermarket represents a legal, legitimate business with a 60-year history of providing consumers with high-quality, low-cost alternative replacement parts.

If Ford gets its way, competition will be eliminated on parts such as bumpers and fenders, those that we need most after an accident, and consumers will be paying up to $1.5 billion more each year for collision replacement parts and another $3 billion annually in increased insurance premiums.

Consumers should have the maximum number of choices possible for the repair and maintenance of their vehicles after the purchase. The Quality Parts Coalition is committed to stopping this monopoly attempt by the car companies and is working to secure adoption of “repair clause” legislation that would ensure free competition by creating a limited design patent exception for collision repair parts while allowing car companies to patent the overall design of the vehicle.

American consumers should not be forced to repeatedly pay monopoly prices for parts such as mirrors, head lamps, bumpers or taillights - first when they buy the car and then again whenever it needs repairs - under the cover of intellectual property protection.

EILEEN A. SOTTILE] ]>

Quality Parts Coalition

Washington

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