The market for drop-in replacement triggers is big and growing. From the garden variety AR-15 to the venerable Remington 700, there are more replacement trigger manufacturers out there than there were Trump supporters at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville. The original patent on the drop-in trigger surprisingly wasn’t filed until 2007 when Michael McCormick filed patent #7,293,385, and ever since the market has continued to flourish and expand. Some trigger companies made the effort to get a license from McCormick, but others went ahead and made their products without paying a licensing fee. Recently, however, Mossberg purchased that patent from McCormick, and apparently they have started what I’m calling the triggerpocalypse by suing unlicensed manufacturer Elftmann Tactical and possibly a dozen others . . .
The lawsuit, filed May 18th, claims that Elftmann is infringing on their newly purchased patent. Elftmann makes a series of drop-in triggers that Jeremy favorably reviewed last year, precisely the triggers covered by Mossberg’s patent. The suit demands that the court force Elftmann to immediately stop production, pay Mossberg for every trigger they have ever made (plus damages), and pay Mossberg’s legal fees. EDIT: the lawsuit naming Elftmann as the defendant is the only we have seen with our own eyes thus far, but we have received confirmation from other manufacturers that they have been sued as well. Word on the street is about a dozen manufacturers have been served with a lawsuit by Mossberg, and we wouldn’t be surprised if every one of the manufacturers in Jeremy’s AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Roundup have been or will be sued.
We talked to Mossberg at the NRA convention and the following is their official statement:
Mossberg has granted fair and equitable licenses to companies for the drop-in trigger design, and will continue to extend licenses to manufacturers who express interest. As owner of these patents, it is our responsibility to protect our licensees’ rights and those of Mossberg.
Apparently part of the agreement between them and McCormick included assistance in protecting their patent (and license holders) from unlicensed competition, something McCormick couldn’t do effectively on his own. This lawsuit and others like it respresents Mossberg holding up their end of the bargain. That said, to the untrained observer it seems Mossberg is wielding an awfully big stick.