American Express Demands the Names of Buyers of Amex Branded LifeCard .22 Pistols

Courtesy Trailblazer Firearms

You’ve probably seen Trailblazer Firearms’ little LifeCard single shot .22 pistol. It folds neatly into the size of a credit card for handy, discreet carry. Trailblazer’s adorned some special edition LifeCard models with custom designs like the one above.

One thing Trailblazer hasn’t done, however, is decorate LifeCards to look like actual credit cards. But some of their retailers have (see this example of one that looks like an elite Amex black card that The Firearm Blog spotted).

As you might imagine, American Express wasn’t amused that someone was using their trademark to sell…guns. Not only have they sent Trailblazer — who, again, didn’t authorized the credit card version — a cease and desist letter, they’ve demanded the names of anyone who’s bought one.

Here’s Trailblazer’s press release about the kerfuffle . . .

Is it a Gun or a Credit Card?

American Express Company (AMEX) issues a ‘cease and desist letter to Trailblazer Firearms for Intellectual Property Misuse.

Asheville, N.C. (April 2019) – Trailblazer Firearms the company setting a new standard for discreet carry with the folding, single-shot .22 LifeCard® pistol, the size of a stack of credit cards, has received a letter from the American Express Company demanding that Trailblazer remove any images or products that feature “the use of American Express’s trademarks including, … the image of American Express’s CENTURION® Card and its component elements, as well as of the AMERICAN EXPRESS® trademark, and on all websites and social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) where Trailblazer Firearms may be advertising, promoting, and/or offering its products.”

Included in the letter dated March 27, 2019 is AMEX’s demand to provide them with the names and addresses of the individuals any products were sold to, plus the address of the individual whose name appears in the image associated with Exhibit 3 of the letter.

Trailblazer LifeCard Pistol American Express

Courtesy Trailblazer Firearms

“The size and surface area of the LifeCard is a perfect platform for a variety of finishes, “Aaron Voigt, founder and president of Trailblazer Firearms, said. “when I saw the LifeCard engraved in the style of an actual AMEX credit card I thought it was really clever since many people don’t believe our marketing efforts that claim the gun is actually the size of a credit card.” However, since their receipt of the cease and desist order from American Express, Trailblazer Firearms has agreed not to use the AMEX image in its marketing and acknowledges that American Express is in no way associated and has not approved of any products being offered using its trademarks.

Trailblazer Firearms offers the LifeCard in two special edition patriotic finishes on their website: “We The People” Special Edition LifeCard .22LR and the American Flag Special Edition LifeCard .22LR.

Founded just five years ago, Trailblazer Firearms formed to develop innovative, American-made firearms. The LifeCard, the first product from Trailblazer Firearms, was launched in 2017. While there was much skepticism pre-launch, when the mighty and tiny pistol finally hit the market, the sales exceeded Trailblazer Firearms owner, Aaron Voigt’s, biggest expectations. Customers and product reviewers hailed the exceptional workmanship in fit and finish. Performance expectations were easily met supporting the challenge that the compact, pocket-fitting pistol would shoot accurately and comfortably, whether for small varmint control or just having fun at the range.

Trailblazer Firearms will be exhibiting the LifeCard®, a folding, single-shot .22 LR and .22WMR pistol at booth 8457 during the 2019 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26 – 28, 2019.

For more information on Trailblazer Firearms, visit www.trailblazerfirearms.com and stay in the conversation on Facebook.

About Trailblazer Firearms:

Trailblazer Firearms, headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, was founded in 2014 to design, develop, manufacture and market innovative American-made firearms. The LifeCard® is available through Ellett Brothers, Jerry’s Sport Center, Hicks Inc., Bill Hicks, Zanders Sporting Goods, Amchar Wholesale, Ron Shirk Shooters Supplies, Williams Shooters Supply, MGE, Orion Arms Corp., Lew Horton Distribution Co., Gunarama, VF Grace, and Chattanooga Shooting Supplies.www.trailblazerfirearms.com

comments

  1. avatar Michael says:

    EDC… don’t leave home without it…12…

    1. avatar B says:

      What’s in your wallet?😛

      1. avatar Elrod Blunk says:

        What’s in your wallet?😛

        Rubbers.

        1. avatar Jake Blatter says:

          What’s in your wallet?😛

          French Letters.

  2. avatar former water walker says:

    Demand?!? That’s some retarded chit😄😊😏

  3. avatar Hugh Staples says:

    AMEX “Demands”? How about NO NO AND HECK NO

    1. avatar gnius says:

      You guys are barking up the wrong tree.

      Amex has not done anything wrong to gun owners, and as far as policies go they are one of the least “woke” financial companies out there. They are a financial services company that’s still focused on… financial services. They’ve repeatedly said they have no interest in pursuing policies for political reasons.

      Amex has a real cause for concern here, because their trademarks and reputation have been clearly misused, and they are doing what they can to try to remedy the situation. Should they sue the people who manufactured or modified the product to use a TM they were not authorized to use, sure. Should they ask for list of customers? Maybe… they can ask for the moon for all I care. Should they actually get that list? Probably not. Will they? I don’t know.

      But telling us all that you’ll boycott Amex because of this is a misguided attempt at the same kind of virtue signaling we’ve learned to despise from the left. There’s plenty of politically-active antagonists to boycott before you get to Amex.

      1. avatar ai338 says:

        The kind of people who’d boycott amex wouldn’t be approved for one in the first place.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          +5

      2. avatar Chad says:

        This guy is right.

      3. avatar JD says:

        Amen. I have 4 Amex’s. I always buy my guns and suppressors with them because the consumer protections are so damn good.

      4. avatar Retrocon says:

        Yup, this is not the right battle. AmEx must protect their trademarks or lose them.

        Sounds simple… none were sold with the logo, some pictures were used for marketing that had it. They are not going to use the pics anymore.

        Notify AmEx of such, done.

  4. avatar FedUp says:

    Dear American Distress, here is a list of the serial numbers of every product we’ve ever produced with your trademarks on it, and the persons/entities that we sold them to.
    .
    .
    Yep, that’s the complete list above.
    Have a nice day.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Exactly; no need to be impolite when giving a deserved “fuck you” to some lawyers.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        Ask Kleenex what happens when you don’t protect your trademark.
        Amex is not only within its rights here, but good business practices demand what they are doing.
        Let’s not follow the road of “triggering” that so many less learned people go down.

  5. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    I wouldn’t have AMEX anything,especially their card,personally I would go with the “We The People” version,that or Don’t Tread the Eff On Me.

  6. avatar Ogre says:

    Seems to me that American Express can pound sand with their demand for a list of owners!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      There is no list of owners since Voight didn’t make then that way–but apparently photos of the Amex version appeared on his website which he has agreed to take down.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Can AmEx legally do anything to the current owners?

        I sure as hell hope not.

        If I owned one and was contacted by AmEx, I’d send them a letter suggesting they can use that as an excellent opportunity to work on their coping skills.

        Hell, I’d be motivated to plaster the internet with high-quality pictures of me shooting it, just to piss them off…

        1. avatar B.D. says:

          It’s a copyright (trademark? Since it is their card?) infringement, since the design was never okayed by them to be used for anything but their card.

          The question is, will they sue? The cease and desist was honored, but that big of a financial institution is only interested in one thing: money. I’d be surprised if there was not a case in the future.

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          As I understand copyright and trademark laws, they can’t demand the product be destroyed or defaced, but they can let the owners of (in this case) the guns know they can’t be used in any way to make money, such as advertising.
          It’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the crux of it, AIUI.

  7. avatar million says:

    considering the Amex version has the guy’s name on it (just like a real cc), i’m left wondering if Amex’s legal department knows a moron has their letterhead.

  8. avatar Wil says:

    I have twice dealt with AmEx.
    Once when I was in the service in Germany and once with their credit card.
    They had a monopoly on US military based and was only giving 1% on savings when they were giving 5% on savings in the US.
    The other was with a credit card and I did not like their “demands” with out any explanations.

  9. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    No matter your opinion of AmEx this is horse hockey we don’t need. Antagonizing people is not bright.

    1. avatar Craig says:

      “Antagonizing people is not bright.”

      I agree. Antagonizing Liberty loving people is not very bright. AMEX can piss off with the demanding the list crap. What does their legal dept think they can do about those items already sold?

  10. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “.. they’ve demanded the names of anyone who’s bought one.”

    Well *I* Demand a dinner date with Gisele Bündchen.

    I think Amex and I both have about the same chances of getting our demands met.

  11. avatar Mad Max says:

    Molon Labe, AMEX!

  12. avatar million says:

    i’ve heard* that DefDist’s next Ghost Gunner iteration has been tentatively branded the Amex.

    *not really

    but this does make me want to engrave a 30-rd mag to look like an Amex card.

  13. avatar GS650G says:

    Yet another reason to not carry Amex

  14. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Da commissar! As you wish.

  15. avatar TomC says:

    Like it or not, American Express will get their head out of their ass and figure out who created the silly LifeCard guns with the AmEx design on them — and they will sue the company responsible — and they will win — and they will get the names of all buyers — who will then be informed that they are required to remove or permanently cover the AmEx trademark.

    Most people will probably ignore that last requirement, but AmEx has every legal right to demand it. Any federal court handling the trademark case would probably order the company that made them to let people return them for a refund or refinishing – but the company would probably be bankrupt anyway from what they will be ordered to pay AmEx so they will just go out of business then reappear the next day with a new business name.

    This is going to keep the AmEx lawyers busy for decades keeping an eye on Gun Broker and other websites where people will try to resell these guns as collectors’ items.

    1. avatar Chad says:

      This guy is right. Whatever your feelings about firearms is, it doesn’t matter. This is a trademark dispute not a 2A situation. AMEX has every right to protect its trademarks as they see fit, just like any other company. If you can look past the ’but muh gunz’ argument, you will see AMEX is actually right in this situation. You cant just slap someone else’s logo on your shit, especially for advertising purposes, even if the intentions were never nefarious.

      Side note: turning this into some kind of pro gun which hunt aimed at AMEX is childish and undermines our ability to demonstrate our understanding of the law and the rights of people/businesses. Just because it is a gun company that is being sued here doesn’t mean that that gun company didn’t do something wrong. I feel many on here see ’gun’ and automatically become irrationally defensive and protective of anything dealing with guns no matter the law or what is right.

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        They (AMEX) can sue for trademark infringement and collect big $$ from Trailblazer Firearms but demanding the customer list is a bit too far.

        Why should AMEX be able to harass Trailblazer Firearms customers? The customers didn’t infringe on AMEX’s trademark. They bought the firearms fair and square.

        If big tech firm X sues big tech firm Y for trademark, patent, or copyright infringement because big tech firm Y used big tech firm X’s intellectual property in their products without authorization, the end users normally have no involvement in the dispute.

        1. avatar Chad says:

          IP and trademark are two different things. A company can request (or legally force) a company or individual to recall and destroy or turn over anything that carries the injured companies trademark. This is not unprecedented as there have been cases where in order to rectify the harm the company that is executing the infringement has to pay for correcting the action and ensure the prevention of further distribution. Given the high resalability of a gun, AMEX is entitled to all current and future money made on any deal pertaining to items with their trademark. To enforce this, they need a list of all customers that purchased the item, not to go after the customers per se, but to force a recall and compensation from the company. It will be on the gun company to compensate their customers for all of this wrong doing. AMEX is doing absolutely nothing wrong.

        2. avatar Mad Max says:

          Well, if the company goes bankrupt during the litigation, who is going to compensate the customers?

          The customers legally paid for a product fair and square. Screw both companies. It’s the customer’s property now.

          Further, getting a list of customers would require tracking the firearms through the wholesalers down to the local FFLs and manual review of the 4473s.

      2. avatar Jim from LI says:

        You’re right as far as the infringing seller is concerned, but Amex has limited authority over the buyer, who didn’t infringe on them.

  16. avatar Coffee Addict says:

    trademark law is such that failure to actively protect your TM can result in losing it. If any gun company used my trademark without license or permission I would have pursued them legally as well.

    Could their lawyers have been more tactful? Well.. tactful lawyers are so few and far between they all probably work for Jack Daniels

    https://mashable.com/2012/07/22/jack-daniels-trademark-letter/

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      The other issue is that if someone gets killed with one of those things, especially in a way that’s a crime of some kind, lawyers like to go after deep pockets and AMEX has far deeper pockets than Trailblazer. That’s a headache a credit card company doesn’t need or want.

      We live in a country where you can order coffee from a drive through, spill it on yourself, sue, win and the company has to appeal the whole thing to avoid paying your dumbass millions. That was some bullshit McD’s didn’t need and didn’t want but that kind of case sets the tone for all the other companies out there to watch their ass so they don’t end up having to defend expensive frivolous suits for bullshit they could have squashed before it happened.

      You can bet that if they did this with Visa, MasterCard, Discover or even Diner’s, the result would be the same.

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        And that’s due to a failure of the judiciary to actually have real judges presiding over cases like the McDonald’s case you cite. It should not have gotten past discovery.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          I agree but that doesn’t change the fact that it did happen and that other companies took note.

          When the legal fees to defend against a bullshit suit get to these kind of numbers it’s no longer about winning on principle but avoid the litigation.

          I often wonder how many businesses don’t get started because of this kind of thing.

        2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “I agree but that doesn’t change the fact that it did happen and that other companies took note.”

          The *original* Mc.D ‘hot coffee’ case was in the late 70s, if memory serves. The elderly woman who sued was greiviously injured in the incident, getting 2nd or 3rd degree burns in her crotch. The thing is, McD was serving coffee that hot because people complained the coffee was cold once they got to their destination. McD responded by cranking up the serving temperature higher. Oops.

          So, thanks to her, serving staff gets to go hoarse repeating “Please be careful, it’s hot!” hundreds of times a day…

  17. avatar Carlos Malden says:

    What if one where used in a hold up that netted a certain amount of cash? Considering the lethality of a single shot 22 in terms of being a deadly weapon, wouldn’t it be considered more like a counterfeit credit card then ?

    1. avatar Ben Counter says:

      If you can get cash with it then all means its credit fraud.

  18. avatar strych9 says:

    I love how people seem to think that AMEX shouldn’t be allowed to protect their trademark. This really doesn’t have to do with guns, it has to do with trademark protections.

    And yes, the letter is OTT, they always are. The last letter I had a lawyer draft for me in a dispute sounded like a declaration of war. It went way, way further than I would have said things if I was saying it in person but that’s how legal desist letters work because their lawyers will always try to chisel you down so your starting position is way further than what you actually want and has to get their attention so that they understand that you’re fucking serious.

    Also, perhaps my experience is unusual but those complaining about AMEX as a compnay probably screwed up and didn’t realize it. If you deal responsibly with AMEX they will bend over backwards to help you. They’ll waive fees, extend payment periods without dinging your credit, extend you a further line of credit, they’ll do whatever they can to help you within their capabilities as a financial institution and even go to bat for you in court. Best customer service in the business, which is why they make up like 25% of all credit card transactions.

    1. avatar RingoMD says:

      Agreed. I’ll never carry a lifecard and I’ll never carry anything but an AMEX.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      ” If you deal responsibly with AMEX they will bend over backwards to help you.”

      Preach it. My experiences with AmEx have been equally positive. A low-bullshit organization. I probably never would have sought them out in the first place, but a company I once worked for handed them out to all the salaried personnel as a way of handling company travel and petty cash. When I exited several years later, I applied for my own and used it with zero problems for a number of years.

      Oh, and the very *best* way to fuck over a credit card company? Be what they call a ‘deadbeat’. Apply for the card. Make large purchases early in the billing cycle. Be extraordinarily diligent in paying that sucker off every month *without fail*.

      You will use *their* money for free for the better part of a month, and they will make *zero* money off of you in interest, etc. They hate that with a passion…

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Bitter people with piss poor credit scores hate Amex. Criminals who’ve defrauded the company hate Amex.

        People who pay their bills and have the credit score to get an Amex card love the company.

        Other credit card companies send you a fucked up bill for tens of thousands. Amex calls you and asks if you ordered 42 high-end laptops sent to Georgia and subscribed to two dozen porn sites 50 times each. When you say “no”, they say “thank you, we’ll send you a new card overnight” with no further questions and prosecute the everliving fuck out of the fraudsters. Your new card arrives before noon the next day.

        Or when someone steals your info and buys $72,000 worth of Brazilian Real a few months later, the company does exactly the same thing. They call at 0300 in the morning and you STILL have a new card by noon THAT DAY.

  19. avatar Chuck says:

    How someone chooses to have the gun engraved after purchase, is not something the company has any control of or over. Other than adding a disclaimer to the purchaser about using copywrite or patented trademarks being illegal and that it’s seriously frowned upon, that would be the limit of liability.

    1. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

      I have to agree with you Chuck.

    2. avatar Hush says:

      This has absolutely nothing to do with guns or 2A issues. It is about trademark protection and every registered trademark holder has to protect their trademark for many reasons including liability issues. You can manufacture a car, truck, boat but you can’t name them as you please; but, you cannot name them Ford even if your name is Ford due to trademark protections. Ask yourself, would you want another company using your trademark name on their products?

  20. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    F you American Express!

  21. avatar Hoppe's Favorite says:

    Here is how lawyers with a sense of humor (and advertising acumen) handle such things—–

    In-N-Out Burger Sends Bayview Brewery Beer-Friendly ‘Cease And Desist’ Letter

    “Based on your use of our marks, we felt obligated to hop to action in order to prevent further issues from brewing.”

    ‘We hope you appreciate, however, that we are attempting to clearly distill our rights by crafting an amicable approach with you, rather than barrel through this.”

    https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/08/14/in-n-out-burger-sends-bayview-brewery-beer-friendly-cease-and-desist-letter/

  22. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Wow that’s too cool, I’d not seen these gunms before, How much? Where, when , why? Why that’s just neater then sht, I want one.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Hilariously you can probably pay for one with an AMEX card.

      If you can’t it’s the seller. AMEX gives exactly zero fuxk how many guns or how much ammo you buy with their card as long as you pay your bills.

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    K… it’s a pretty clear trademark infringement. You shouldn’t be doing that.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Agree. But keep the beef between AmEx and the gun company, not the customers…

  24. avatar Michael says:

    It’s is that annoying winning Season again,winning your vote through Political Correctness And the big one is Gun control.Using emotions to sway you to Illegally Vote America’s Bill of Rights away from the 1st to the Tenth! Moonbat Idiots who get all uppity is worried about its bottom line over Self defense.I see Amex point but to Demand without due Process is wrong.No Felonies were committed,but close to a lawsuit over plagiarism, which TB did not due,purposely,a mistake.Man Up everybody, we are all flawed human beings.Hey AMREX F Q if you can’t take a joke!

  25. avatar Walt says:

    Get with the NRA. Make a version that is an NRA membership card. Sell them through the NRA catalogs. If you are a member, provide your membership number and they will put it on. Not a member, include a membership in the price, and the new member number will be the one put on it.

  26. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    Glad to see some actual sense in the comment threads. AMEX is in the right here. And is legally required to defend their trademark (otherwise they lose it). Trailblazer is stupid for using their trademark, and the few people who bought these have poor taste. If you check the TFB link, you can see the picture of the gun that is literally printed “American Express” and made to look like an AmEx card. Trailblazer could have used a parody design and avoided this whole mess.

  27. avatar Jim L says:

    I appreciate American Express for writing them that letter. I wasn’t aware of this little pistol, I’ll have to see about getting one.

  28. avatar Bufford Lee Bikhowski says:

    Its just the tipacal liberal slime that is trying to find a crack in the constitution to seep throuw. Course its diricted towards Gun Rights, they would not bother if you had it tattooded across your fourhead. I seen it postid in store windows all over the place for most my life. Ive seen it on beech towls, t-shirts, napkins and in my wallit. Its one of these little sneak atacks that are gonna geet us!

  29. avatar Jay Dee says:

    File this one in the Stupid Lawyer Tricks file. Trailblazer lawyers could have great fun with this.

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