Insurance Europe: EC should remove the transition period and vehicle spare parts exclusions from its Design Directive proposal

2 February 2023 — Daniela GHETU
The harmonization of the provisions on design protection for visible and replaceable spare parts in complex products, such as vehicles, could be beneficial in terms of fair competition, consumer choice and lower prices, Insurance Europe commented on the EC's proposal for a recast of the Design Directive.

Another positive outcome would be its contribution to the objective of developing the circular economy.

However, the text of the proposal as currently drafted risks diminishing the effectiveness of the repair clause as it imposes a 10-year transition period and excludes some key components from the scope. This could lead to:

  • Legal uncertainty - It will be difficult for consumers, independent parts producers and repairers to know whether a particular car, model or spare part is protected.
  • De facto price discrimination - Owners of older vehicles will be penalized with high-priced visible spare parts, while new vehicle buyers will benefit from lower prices thanks to the new competitive market of visible spare parts.
  • Limited benefits for consumers - The deflation effect of the liberalization of the spare parts market could be deterred as most of the repairs will still be subject to the old design regime or directly excluded from the scope of the Directive.
Insurance Europe, therefore, believes that the repair clause should apply to all designs that are already registered as well as to all future designs without spare parts exclusions. This would avoid market fragmentation, ensure fair and effective competition as well as enhance consumer choice.

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