A proposed new European Union regulation on the legal protection of design could see vehicle after-market suppliers win their battle against car makers over the copyright of spare parts.
Vehicle repairers and car spares suppliers had been lobbying against a draft EU directive that would have allowed manufacturers to insist that only their parts be used to mend their vehicles.
Now Brussels is to ask EU ministers to approve a regulation that `excludes, for the time being, the registration and protection of designs of spare components of complex products (such as visible car spare parts)’.
The ruling has also removed the threat of an EU law forcing repairers of other complex machinery – including computers and factory plant – from being forced to buy manufacturers’ spare parts.
Mike Monaghan, managing director of the Motor Vehicle Repairers Association, said: `It is essential for the motoring public and repairers that independent component makers are able to produce motor parts independent of any motor manufacturer’s influence.’
But a Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders spokesman said: `Our concern is about cheap imports that look like the genuine article but are much poorer quality.’