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Video: Collision shop owner shares impacts of design patent abuse

Greg Southwick describes recent challenge replacing a truck hood covered by an automaker design patent resulting in two-month delay while on backorder

Grantsville, Utah—In a new video from the CAR Coalition, independent repair shop owner Greg Southwick, of Falcon Collision and Customs in Grantsville, Utah, sheds light on the real-life impacts of automaker design patent abuse, underscoring the need for federal right to repair solutions to protect consumers and small businesses.

According to the CAR Coalition, OEMs are increasingly using design patents to cover basic replacement parts, such as bumpers and fenders, making it more and more difficult for independent repair shops like Falcon Collision and Customs to provide timely and affordable repairs to their customers.

Southwick describes a recent challenge replacing a truck hood, which was covered by an automaker design patent, for a local construction company. Unable to source aftermarket alternatives, the truck sat in the shop lot for two months while the automaker-branded hood was on national backorder.

“Hoods have been around since the early 1900s. Just because the air flows through it differently doesn’t mean it should have a design patent. We need to have the option of the aftermarket and not just have the manufacturers running freely with these design patterns,” Southwick said.

Southwick added that aftermarket alternatives “fit well” and “function the same” as automaker-branded parts at a fraction of the cost, though growing design patent misuse is squeezing these options out of the car repair market.

He noted that Congress needs to act on commonsense right to repair solutions such as the bipartisan the Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act (H.R. 1707) to protect car owners and independent repair businesses like his.

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