We are happy to share a new Auto-Motives episode! This time, Álvaro de la Cruz hosted Louis Shakinovsky to discuss the Repairs Clause under the European Design Directive.
Mr Shakinovsky, with over 50 years of experience in managing positions at Belron, explained how crucial this piece of legislation would be for the automotive aftermarket. With 275 million motorists, the EU has partially harmonised national laws on design protection under the Design Directive (98/71), which ensures equivalent protection to right holders in all EU Member States. However, the Directive does not address the case of must-match visible spare parts (e.g., car body panels, windscreens), which must exactly match the design of the original component.
Unlike its effects on the market for new cars, applying design protection to "must-match" spare parts gives the vehicle manufacturer a product monopoly on parts registered for design protection, deprives vehicle owners of any choice, and makes them captive consumers. Extending design protection to visible spare parts is an abuse of the rule's intent: instead of fostering competition, it leads to product monopoly and monopoly pricing.