House Judiciary Subcommittee to Host Hearing on Right to Repair Issues


Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has scheduled a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing for July 18 on the need for a federal law that will protect the right to repair vehicles.

Currently, there are two bills in Congress that target the issue of right to repair: The REPAIR Act and the SMART Act, which was introduced by Congressman Issa.  

The July 18 hearing is expected to focus on The SMART Act (H.R. 1707), which seeks to narrowly amend patent law to reduce from 15 to 2.5 years the time that automakers can enforce design patents against alternative parts manufacturers on vehicle parts like side mirrors, quarter panels, and bumpers.

It is anticipated that during this hearing lawmakers could discuss The REPAIR Act, H.R. 906, which NATSO supports. 

H.R. 906, which falls under the jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would level the playing field for independent repair shops, including NATSO members, by providing them with access to the diagnostic information needed to identify and repair mechanical issues with commercial motor vehicles. The REPAIR Act would promote choice and competition.

NATSO in May 2023 testified before the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee in support of Right to Repair and the need for the independent repair industry to access critical repair tools and information so that owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles will have access to affordable and quality vehicle repair.

Multiple events in recent days have promoted the Judiciary subcommittee to host this hearing.

  1. On July 11 the Auto Alliance announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the Automotive Service Association, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and Alliance for Automotive Innovation affirming a 2014 national agreement on automotive right-to-repair which states that “independent repair facilities shall have access to the same diagnostic and repair information that auto manufacturers make available to authorized dealer networks.” Many groups working to advance federal legislative fix to the Right to Repair issue think this pact undermines the ongoing efforts in Congress to pass a comprehensive bill that would provide greater protection for consumers.
  2. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on June 30 said it would hear a challenge by LKQ Corporation v. GM Global Technology Operations LLC, which questions the current standard of non-obviousness that is applied to design patents.

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