For obvious reasons we’ve been keeping on top of any developments in this lawsuit by Mossberg against effectively all of the manufacturers of drop-in AR-15 triggers (comparison review of every drop-in on the market). Yesterday, I posted about some “prior art” that these manufacturers may likely use in their defense — attempting to prove that Mossberg’s patent isn’t valid because the invention already existed, and/or it was not novel and didn’t “teach” anything. Today, we’ve found something significantly more interesting: a current re-examination of the patent that appears to have rejected all of its claims . . .
Now, there’s a heck of a lot of legalese and long-winded technical discussion in this Ex Parte Reexamination Communication (click to download as a PDF) and I am not a lawyer. Nor do I play one on TV, nor have I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express for many years, and I probably suffer from lead exposure. However, from what I gather a few of the patent’s claims have been officially canceled (1, 2, and 4 most recently, and 10 a while ago), and almost all of the rest (3, 5-9, and 11-15) are pending a final ruling but are, at current, “rejected.”
As it has been made clear, Mossberg’s patent and related lawsuits are not about “drop-in” triggers. It’s much more specific than that, and centers around the concept of a replacement, self-contained fire control unit that employs hollow bushings through which the factory receiver pins pass and on which fire control group parts (e.g. hammer, sear, trigger) rotate. In this patent reexamination, it appears to me that both the novelty of this invention (its status as non-obvious) and the claim that the patent was the first to teach the invention are both being rejected. Basically, it’s saying that this idea existed already — prior to the patent being filed — and that anyone of ordinary skill in the art would have found it to be obvious anyway.
A bunch of screen shot snippets from the PDF that may be of interest:
This is all public information on the USPTO website, but unfortunately I can’t link directly to the relevant documents. You’ll have to go to the Public Pair search section and search by Reexamination Control Number 90013341 if you’d like to see all of the information available.
Watch this space for any further developments. According to the doc, Mossberg has or had 30 days to reply from when it was mailed, which appears to have been just over a month ago. I do not know if they replied and the final ruling is underway, or what the exact, current status might be.
What say you?