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Car in workshop: repairs could cost less in the future

Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa

Consumers in the EU are to have better and cheaper access to spare parts for defective products in the future. For this purpose, these parts are to be excluded from the so-called design protection, as the representation of the EU member states announced after negotiations with the EU Parliament. The potential savings for consumers are estimated at 340 to 544 million euros over a period of ten years.

According to the information, the planned new regulation affects spare parts for cars, among other things. However, these must only be designed for repair purposes and must look exactly like the original part. As examples, a damaged door or a broken light were mentioned in the communication.

Until now, the reproduction of visible spare parts has been prohibited for suppliers, as the original manufacturers can invoke design protection. Consumer advocates and organizations such as the ADAC accuse manufacturers of exploiting this monopoly position and charging excessive prices.

The initiative is part of a new design protection package that also aims to improve the legal protection of intellectual property against counterfeiting. It was proposed by the EU Commission in November 2022. The agreement that has now been reached between Parliament's representatives and those of the Member States still needs to be approved by Parliament's plenary and the Council of the Member States. However, this is considered a formality.