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Car body panels

Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:41 pm
by Andrewr
Hello copyright guru's
There is an incredible amount of information to look through to find my answer so I thought I'd ask here 😊
So brand new car can I 're manufacture a bonnet wing or bumper exactly original size fitment and shape but make it from a different material for it to be legally okay ?
If not how much should I need to change the shape to not have a copyright problem ?

Thank you

Re: Car body panels

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:37 am
by AndyJ
Hi Andrew,

First up, this has nothing to do with copyright. The relevant law is that of design right, and in particular, registered design right, the details of which are contained in the Registered Design Act 1949, which has been amended by quite a bit of subsequent legislation.

However the relevant part for the purpose of your question is section 7A(5) which says:
(5) The right in a registered design of a component part which may be used for the purpose of the repair of a complex product so as to restore its original appearance is not infringed by the use for that purpose of any design protected by the registration.
This provision was added to the original legislation by the Registered Designs Regulations 2001 which were enacted to reflect EU law, and are mainly intended to cover the after-market for things such as car parts.

The effect of section 7A(5) is to permit the sale and fitting of parts which look the same as the original parts, but which are not made or supplied by the original manufacturer. In other words, exactly what you propose. The material from which the replacement parts are made is not relevant as far as design right is concerned.

However the chioce of materials may be relevant under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 as amended, where safety is concerned, for example with regard to crumple zones and pedestrian safety etc. Obviously that is way outside the subject matter of this forum so you would need to do your own research on that.

Re: Car body panels

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:27 am
by Andrewr
Hello Andy
Thank you for your detailed response I've read the information you sent links for and the only question I can think of to do with design rights in section 7a is.
Do I need to obtain permission from the design proprietor before I start to sell the parts ?
Also as I'm reading is it right I won't be able to advertise the parts I make as the original part like - Ford Escort Cosworth carbon Fibre bonnet ?
This car is only an example not what I intend to work on.


Re: Car body panels

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:06 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Andrew,

No you don't need prior permission from the design's proprietor.

As for marketing your parts, that then comes under trade mark law. You can use the name of the maker eg Ford and the model eg Escort even if they are registered trade marks (as those two particular names are), provided that you are using them descriptively and there is little chance that the buying public would be deceived into thinking that you were selling genuine Ford parts. So if you describe a part as a 'carbon fibre bonnet for a Ford Escort Cosworth' that would be better. Best to avoid using any maker's logos although you will find many after-market sellers do do so.