Ann Arbor attorney testifies in Washington

Kelly Burris, a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, served as an expert witness in Washington, D.C. on August 1 at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet regarding H.R. 3889, "the Promoting Automotive Repair, Trade, and Sales Act" ("PARTS Act") by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

Burris spoke in opposition of H.R. 3889 (PARTS Act), a bill that would reduce Original Equipment Manufacturers' (OEM's) design patents on automotive repair parts from 14 years to less than 30 months. PARTS allows for the blanket manufacture, testing, importation and pre-sale distribution of repair parts that would otherwise infringe a design patent for automotive "component parts" 30 months after the patented part is offered for sale.

Burris provided testimony on behalf of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 12 OEMs, including the Detroit 3, and was selected for her technical background, legal expertise on intellectual property and design patents and previous writing she had done opposing the legislation.

When asked by Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) during the hearing's question and answer session if the automobile industry could support the bill if revisions were made to it, Burris responded that the industry could not support the bill under any circumstances.

Burris also noted that the legislation goes in the opposite direction from the recently enacted America Invents Act; the bill is retroactive and could impact design patents already in place; and a study conducted shortly after the enactment of the "Designs Act of 2003" in Australia concluded that the "provision was yet to have a significant effect on industry and consumers."

Published: Thu, Aug 9, 2012


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