Mr. John A. Silva
P. O. Box 766
Grover Beach, CA 93483

Dear Mr. Silva:

This responds to your letter advising us that your company is developing a product in the "automotive safety field," and asking for guidance about how this agency=s requirements may affect your product.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is authorized to issue Federal motor vehicle safety standards that set performance requirements for new motor vehicles and items of equipment. Enclosed is an information sheet, "Information for New Manufacturers of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment,@ describing NHTSA=s regulations for motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment manufacturers. Under the agency=s governing statute, NHTSA does not certify or approve products. Instead, each manufacturer is responsible for "self-certifying" its products to all applicable safety standards.

You did not specify in your letter what type of automotive product you plan to manufacture, and thus our guidance on our standards is limited. Please write to us again when you can provide more details about your product. If you are concerned about maintaining confidentiality about business information concerning your product, this agency has procedures at 49 CFR Part 512, Confidential Business Information, under which NHTSA will consider claims that information you submit to us is confidential business information as described in the Freedom of Information Act.

You also state that your product may require patent protection. For guidance on patent matters, I would suggest that you consult

an attorney with expertise in patent law, who can provide specific guidance about your product.

If you have questions about NHTSA=s requirements or any other matter, please feel free to contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at (202) 366-2992.


Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel

Enclosure ref:571 d:4/3/96