SIG SAUER P320 modular steyr patent
Nick Leghorn for TTAG
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SIG SAUER is riding high following the announcement that their P320 handgun has been accepted for service by the U.S. military to replace the aging Beretta M9. Naturally everyone else in the gun manufacturing world, especially those who were their competition during the selection process, are trying to throw spanners in the works and keep the guns from actually being delivered.

Today’s complication comes from Steyr Arms, who claim that they have a patent on the removable chassis system that makes the P320 (and P250) series handguns unique.

The complaint filed May 3rd in U.S. district court for the northern district of Alabama references Steyr’s patent US6260301 (filed in 1999 and approved in 2001), which is for a handgun with a removable chassis. From the patent:

A pistol comprising a housing; a barrel slide movably mounted on the housing for movement in a firing direction with respect to a barrel; and a trigger mechanism located, at least in part, within the housing, the improvement which comprises a multifunction metal part removably insertable within said housing, said multifunction metal part being provided with guides for the barrel slide and means for supporting the trigger mechanism, said multifunction metal part and housing are each provided with a transverse hole which receives a shaft for connecting the housing and the multifunction metal part together, the housing has a rear wall which is provided with a recess for receiving a projection on the multifunction metal part the multifunction metal part includes control means for locking said barrel in the barrel slide.

That does, in fact, sound a whole lot like the P320/P250 chassis system that SIG SAUER uses in their handguns. That’s the secret sauce that makes the P320 so modular and perfect for the Army’s competition.

So Steyr Arms claims that they had the idea for a modular chassis first, SIG SAUER infringed on their patent without a license, and they want it to stop. Steyr Arms is demanding a prelimenary and permanent injunction against SIG SAUER selling any of these firearms.

It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the military adopting the P320 handgun, and how much of the lucrative contract award might be funneled off towards Steyr Arms as a license payment.

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  1. Here we go again. They didn’t have a problem with the Sig P320 until it wins a big contract. If they really thought this was a patent infringement, why didn’t they sue when it was first released?

    • Most likely the case that new contract made it profitable for Steyr to file the suit. If this kills the contract Beretta is the ultimate winner because the M-9A3 is going to be the next pistol. The Army has been down this road before with the 1903 Springfield. The US Government paid royalties Mauser until. WWII.

      • Beretta won’t be the winner, they’ll be sued too since they just released the APX.
        it’s just like the Sig 320, hey why not sue Ruger as well since we’re at it since they have the RAP which is just like the p320 also (but ugly).
        While we’re at it let’s sue Springfield and RRA HAHA

        • They can’t reaward the contract to someone else and Glock is non compliant anyway. They would need a new competition and since Steyr holds the patent nobody has a pistol. However, Beretta is still under contract and they can do a contract mod which is an order of magnitude easier. Sorry Glocksters, it isn’t happening.

        • The APX chassis is removed in a different manner than the 320. No patent infringement.

      • Beretta’s a no go. There’s no politics to save it now. If anything Glock’s 19 will win if Sig gets injuncted.

  2. How long has the P320 been on the market ? (January, 2014)
    Why hasn’t Steyr opened their mouth before now ?
    Just sayin’

    • Or any of the other modular pistols with a chassis, like the Beretta 9x19mm single stack subcompact… I have one and a bunch of color “frames” that can be swapped out.

    • The big pay day is here with the .gov contracts.
      Patent trolls like to sit as long as possible hoping somebody else makes it rich off of their “idea” before they swoop in and take what isn’t theirs.

        • Not necessarily, often times companies will buy up patents from inventors, never intending to make said item, and then just sue the daylights out of a company that takes the item to market. There’s even whole companies that do nothing but buy up patents and sue people while never actually making any products. This happens all the time in the tech space, wouldn’t be surprised if Steyr just bought up someone else’s preexisting patent, just so they could sue Sig.

        • “There’s even whole companies that do nothing but buy up patents and sue people while never actually making any products.” – There are, and selling patents to such companies is one way for inventors who don’t have the resources to market a product successfully to get some return on their expense for development and obtaining a patent. Since U.S. law has no mandatory licensing provisions, this is an entirely legal and ethical practice (as long as they make sure to only threaten to sue products that actually infringe the claims). Companies that gripe about this could reduce the problem if they’d be more open to buying or licensing inventions from independent inventors if they think there’s value in the claimed invention.

      • Well it’s steyrs they owned patent since 2001 so that’s been 16 years ago. so don’t think they just swooped in and bought up patents to just wait and sue years down the road.

    • I imagine they were waiting for an opportunity like this: hundreds of thousands of pistols and $millions (billions?) in contracts are now on the line. If Steyr can force Sig to pay royalties once the contracts are secured, it means a lot more revenue. If steyr had acted in 2007 when the p250 was released, Sig may have never developed the p320. Steyr didn’t do crap with their patent, but opportunity just knocked. Leeches.

      • Well, all C,M,S, and L series pistols have the chassis system. Practically though, you have no ability to take advantage of it other than cleaning. I’ve swapped frames from original 99 M9 lowers since I like that frame for carry, better than any other 15 round compact, but like the newer trigger and roller upper. If you call Jeff at Steyr, you may be able to order the parts as one offs, but you can’t just pick one up. It’s nice to pop the lower chassis out and drop it into a sonic cleaner, hose it down with WD40 and CLP and be done. I just wish the striker assembly was a bit more friendly (not a Steyr issue). VP9 seems to be the best for that.

        The patent expires next year, and having looked at the actual patent, it would be hard for Sig to argue with it. I don’t know of any other system that predates the Steyr, the Glock system isn’t, Bubbits was with Glock then Caracal, so he didn’t borrow anything (sic), and theirs have expired by more than a decade. There hasn’t been enough sales to actually sue and have a positive impact after attorney’s fees until now. If I were Sig, I’d delay until after the patent expires, then just pay off Steyr for actual sales, which would be prior to MHS delivery, and structure the payment over the course of MHS, so their cash flow pays for it simply.

        I did chat with another MHS competitor that didn’t have the chassis system, and they specifically cited the Steyr patent as being an issue until 2018. I wonder if the other non chassis competitor saw it the same way.

        • Excellent additional info. It would be a simple move to delay until the patent expires.

        • I’d imagine the fact that they didn’t bother defending it until now will weigh against their case as well.

        • ozzallos, you’d think so but actually you can selectively defend a patent all you want; it’s how patent troll companies exist make their livings. Trademarks (and copyright?) have to be vigorously and consistently defended or you risk losing protection, but with patents you have carte blanche to ignore or prosecute violators.

          Source: a couple business courses I took in college a long time ago

        • Even if SIG delays until the patent expires, they’re on the hook for every gun made so far, and it will likely include the US military contract even if they don’t supply the guns until after the patent expires.

        • I don’t see patent infringement damages including sales after expiration of the patent (next year). Pre-expiration, sure. But the bulk of the military firearms will be sold later. Of course, that depends on the definition of “sold”, of course…

        • It’s unlikely this is a sour grapes suit about the competition, it’s more because their plausible licensing numbers just increased exponentially.

        • With the MHS proposal, you are providing systems; Handgun (multiple configurations), Ammo, silencers, various other accessories. So for Steyr they’d have to partner with many other companies, and also be a validated US bidder with facilities to manufacture in the volume required. Or more to the point, they’d have to build a large factory in country where they have, to date, been a pure importer. They just don’t have domestic scale, or experience with government IDIQ type of work submissions.

          Caracal, later Bubbits design is actually manufacturing in the US, or should be in their partner facility, so they actually could have.

          But again, if you look at the bidders, even S&W had to team up with General Dynamics to gain the experience in what a bid process looks like.

          I’ve been doing these for 20 years, and I know what I’m doing, and its still a giant PITA. Having the right product isn’t even half of the work, probably not even a third. If your entry is 100% with no mods, you still have to deal with the political aspects (not just gov regs, but organizational inertia and laziness) plus then have to be able to prove you can delivery (usually with penalties if you can’t) and then have a financial position that allows you to aggressively price per unit when you are paid on a unit basis. Can you afford to lose money on the first million, break even somewhere in the second, and hopefully become profitable sometime 6 years from now. Or is you money better spent on lower risk propositions.

          In programs I work on the average cost of just responding, and presenting a complete entry can run $5mil, going up to hundreds of mil. Typically on an IDIQ, you get no R&D money to recoup that initial outlay for prototypes, employee time (I’ve had 60 people working on just the paper for a proposal) So if your going to bid, you have to be confident, because you may get canned if you spent $10mill trying to sell a few million pistols and fail, when the company doesn’t generate enough margin on existing sales to cover that hit.

      • Leeches? LOL, sure until it’s your time, money and intellectual property that someone else is profiting on without compensating you.

      • Noooooo, Steyr been making and selling this design since 1999. I own 3 of them and they are one heck of a pistol.

    • Companies don’t have the resources to analyze every other product on the market for possible infringement on every one of their patents. It’s only done when they lose out on a bid like this one. despite popular belief, gun companies aren’t rolling in cash. Heck, Colt recently shut down their AR-15 operations because it was a loss leader.

  3. “a barrel slide movably mounted on the housing ”

    I don’t see any rails on the housing, I’m, not sure it meets that part of the patent description.

    • Doesn’t have to be exactly that. So long as the patent includes a trigger mechanism that is removable, Sig is infringing on the patent.

      • It’s not infringement if it’s an improvement, although most require some sort of notation that the design is based upon prior art.

        • Say what?

          If the accused device reads on at least one independent patent claim, it’s infringing. The fact that the accused device might be an “improvement” is immaterial to infringement analysis. (I think you may be confusing infringement with whether or not an improvement might itself be patentable over the prior art.)

        • Agree with LKB. Improvements are irrelevant in terms of infringement. What is relevant are the claims read in relation to the specification.

        • “I don’t see any rails on the housing…”

          The rails are on the chassis in the Steyr design and in the SIG products and all of the other ones I’m familiar with (Beretta, Ruger, etc).

      • “Doesn’t have to be exactly that.”

        Then how does one explain the proliferation of multi-blade replaceable heads for shaving razors? There was a “first” unit, with all the others follow-on. Why did the patent holder of the “first” replaceable razor head not sue all the others out of existence? Once you file a patent, everyone can see what you have done, and make a small change, then patent the change. FWIW, the company that produces legitimate “Polartec” fleece for outerwear does not hold a patent because the company does not want competitors to save the R&D cost by copying Polartec, but just a little changed.

        Indeed, review in your mind all the “look alike” items legally sold today that are almost entirely indistinguishable from the original. Decads ago, Rolex lost the fight to protect their case and bezel from patent infringement. Taurus (and others) sell a virtual direct copy of the Beretta M9. Everyone makes a 1911 clone. The list goes on.

        The matter of Steyr waiting so long does not work in their favor, either.

      • To infringe a patent, the device has to have EVERY limitation of the claim or its functional equivalent. Just having several features in common is not enough.

        • +1 – and notable the Doctrine of Equivalents has been narrowed a bit in recent years. But the critical analysis is to read the claim, element by element, and find that element, or its functional equivalent in the infringing device. Missing a single element means no infringement.

      • If patent law was anywhere near as straightforward as this comment suggests there wouldn’t be more than half a dozen contract lawyers in the country. There are at least tens of thousands.

        There are many defenses do patent infringement suits. The one that comes to mind with regard to this statement is obviousness. That doesn’t mean thwy won’t win thwir suit. But it is nowhere near as simple as “if/then.”

  4. If there is legitimacy to this, I expect to see a quiet out of court settlement or royalties. If Steyr is blowing smoke, I expect Sig to take them on and win. we shall see.

  5. Doesn’t Beretta have a removable chassis on their little guns(Nano)? As well as Kahr? I know Kahr has a whole bunch of patents. I guess we’ll see what transpires…

      • And they’ve sold dozens of hundreds of them so the value of a suit against them is nearly zero. Depending on how the APX does, that may change things.

        In all of these, the companies better be able to prove in good faith that they got legal cover for an opinion that it didn’t infringe. If they have internal docs that talk about it then they’d better settle as fast as possible for whatever Steyr will take, because going to court without cover and showing intent to infringe, might just be catastrophic. Although from Steyr’s perspective, if they get licensing, they’d rather having them be as successful as possible, suing them out of existence only helps with a short term payout.

  6. Some things never change–the intersection of guns; history; technology; business; profits; money; and law–it all hearkens back to the days of the the Colt/Smith/RollinWhite patent fights; the 1870 Colt/Smith Russian contract deals; and the huge Curtiss/Wright patent lawsuits that stymied the early growth of American aviation !!! DMD

  7. I understand why they waited…$$$$. The Sig P250 was introduced in 2007and the P320 was introduced in 2014…now that Sig has the M17 contract if found to be an infringement Sig will have to pay a lot of money…

    • That will work against Steyr in court. A patent, long undefended, is very hard to claim damages from. The defense can basically claim that they gave up interest in the patent by not bothering to claim infringement for 10 years after the initial violation from Sig.

      • Nope. Supreme Court ruled a couple of months ago (SCA Hygene case) that there is no laches defense in patent cases.

        • STEVEM:

          SCOTUS votes 7-1 (with that idiot Breyer dissenting) to tell the Federal Circuit that when there is a specific Statute of Limitations written into the law, the courts don’t get to make up a shorter statute of limitations and throw out a suit that was timely filed under the law, and you think it isn’t controlling precedent because Scalia wasn’t alive to vote on it????

  8. P250, P320, APX, Nano, Pico, Ruger American, etc. all have a firing control type of unit. Hard to believe that ALL of their lawyers missed this patent. Especially Ruger who seems to have 10 lawyers for every gun designer. I am betting it will go away or maybe… Steyr will get a check and then drop the suit.

  9. That description would seem to fit quite a few guns. Is this simple abandonment? It also seems to describe the lock on my flintlock quite well.

  10. Gilbert–you are entirely correct–IIRC–the Sig 250 (father of the 320) has been on the market almost 10 years–where was Steyr all this time?? The words “laches” and “statute of limitations” and “cashing in” come to mind—DMD (just an old country lawyer)

    • I disagree (IP litigator here):

      No laches defense — see recent SCA Hygene case from Los Supremos.

      6 year statute of limitations lets then seek damages all infringing acts occurring in the six years before the date of suit. Earlier infringements are in the clear, but they don’t provide a defense to acts within the s/l.

      “Cashing in”? Of course. That what patent owners are allowed to do.

      • Yeah, IP law is one of those issues that defies typical legal left/right opinions. Tech money has thrown all of that out the window depending on if you are an innovator or “innovator”.

        • I don’t think that very many people have any conception of the money involved here. Tens of millions of dollars were spent lobbying for “patent reform”, the goal of which is to greatly reduce patent infringement damages. Money is being spent by some of the biggest tech companies in the country, which have very weak patent portfolios in comparison to their sales. One company alone is rumored to have spent more than $100 million lobbying for increased H1B visas, patent “reform”, and a couple other issues, over the last couple years. Because the tech industry’s (and these companies) were so obviously backing Clinton in the last election (and Trump remembers that sort of thing), they appear to be funneling those millions through a whole bunch of brand new non-profits. So, when you start hearing again about the evils of patent trolls, keep in mind that the companies behind the legislation are the same ones who supposedly have hundreds of billions of dollars overseas that the Trump Administration wants to bring back with corporate tax reform. They are some of the richest corporations on the planet. And part of how they got there was by stealing technology of others without paying reasonable royalties for its use.

  11. With so many companies using this concept for so long without so much as a letter from Steyr, it’ll be an uphill court fight for them. If you don’t defend a patent it’s not enforceable.

    • You can only go back 6 years + future, but a patent is valid for the full period. Lots of people are confusing patents with trademarks, trademarks must be actively defended to be valid. Patents and copyrights are for the term, period.

      In this specific case, I’m sure Steyr knew the patent was infringed from Sig’s P250 initial press release. But, there are lots of cases where a patent holder can’t easily know that an infringement has occurred in something like software or complex manufacturing. Sometimes a patent has no actual monetary value until it is incorporated into something with significant value. Plus, remember that the P250 was a hammer fired gun, and Steyr would have to convince either a judge, or a jury, that there isn’t a difference. We’re gun folk, so we know, but 12 people that don’t have a good excuse to not get excused for jury duty is iffy, and Sig sold very few too, even when the price dropped through the floor

      • +1. As the recent SCA Hygene (patent) and Petrella (copyright) Supreme Court opinions make clear, it’s A-OK to wait and see whether it will be worth the coin to sue for copyright or patent infringement, as long as you bring suit within the statute of limitations. The mere fact that you choose not to sue on a patent or copyright doesn’t abandon or waive them. (As you correctly point out, trademarks are a different kettle of fish.)

    • So patent trolling… I work in tech, and it’s rife with this kind of bickering. I look at it this way;

      I have a “no trespassing” sign in my yard. It gets violated by neighborhood kids and pets pretty much constantly. I let the offenders know it’s my perogative to be solitary, but the intention of the violators isn’t to harm me or degrade my property, so sueing the violators won’t help me or them. It would end up costing me a lot of money, and I’d get nothing but the satisfaction of winning something. The sign is there primarily to prevent gross negligence on someone’s part, like some kids deciding to use my shed to cook meth. If someone decided to park their motor home on my property, or tear my fence down so they can make a quick escape… the sign, and the law help protect me legally.

      If I developed a patentable device or process ( that my employer didn’t immediately seize ), I would pursue violators similarly. If it would cost me more to sue than I would get from it, then what’s the point? Sure, I would send them a nastygram saying that they’re violating my patent, but unless they were dominating the market with the offending device, I don’t see how sueing them would benefit me.

  12. That’s the funny thing with patents you don’t have to to everyone that violate your patent you have the choice not to sue a company that may not be making a ton of money off of your product. It’s totally up to the patent holder to decide who if and when they wish to in French on the production of such project that violates their patent. To be quite honest I do believe Steyr would win this lawsuit if it goes to court which I don’t see it going to court I see six lawyers offering a license fee and possibly even a fee per unit they sell. But they could go back to win the P250 I believe was Bill and get back payment this is a real thorn in the side of Sig Sauer.

  13. Ya know, I was thinking about trying to patent an ED Prosthetic that matches that exact description. Damn you Steyr Arms!

  14. JD–beware typos–auto spelChek will sabotage you every time–no error or mistakes on your part–we POTG understand your meanings–but speChek made a real mess of your post !!! Best, DMD

  15. my 2 cents, didn’t tokarev use a removable firing module in their pistol? Woldn’t this affect other designs like the hudson? would’t eh argument be made a housing can also be considered a frame as well? and wouln’d the mossberg patant debacle also be included as well?

  16. Hate to burst everyone’s bubble but HK G3/HK 91 rifles have a removable trigger group that slides into a trigger housing just like these pistols. The trigger housing is either a metal frame or a polymer frame. Dont know what year HK started using the polymer but the rifle went into production after WW2. It may not matter because its not a pistol but the concept is not new.

        • You are correct that HK bought the design from CETME. CETME got the design from a bunch of Mauser engineers that escaped to Spain at the end of the war. CETME is the descendant of the STG45 designed by those same Mauser engineers. HK was founded by a bunch of Mauser engineers. Those same Mauser engineers later went to work for HK. Lets just say its all in the family 😉 .

          Regardless the drop in trigger group is not new. Frankly though I think the govmt is throwing away money like the normally do.

  17. Plus the SIG P210, one of the French pre-WWII 1935A or S (can’t remember which) and every Tokarev Type 33 and clone used a drop-in firing control group for over 50 years. I expect SIG will simply argue that adding the frame rails to the drop-in unit was “obvious to one of ordinary skill in the trade”.

    • Proper terminology is a “A person having ordinary skill in the art” (PHOSITA), or a “person of (ordinary) skill in the art” (POSITA). But essentially as you suggest. The defendant can presumably argue invalidity under 35 USC 103(a) (Obviousness) if it would have been obvious for a person having ordinary skill in the (relevant) art could have made the claimed invention, given the prior art at the time,

      Typical patent infringement suit has two forks: validity and infringement. Both are usually contested. And, then if you get to valid and infringed, the next big question is damages, which typically means a reasonable royalty. But before either validity or infringement can be determined though, the claims have to be formally interpreted by the court in a “Markman Hearing”. So, you typically have a three step process: interpret claims; determine validity and infringement; and determine damages.

  18. Well, no wonder, I like both the Steyr and now the P320!

    As long as you have a hard holster and no loose clothes to tangle with the trigger!

    Glock, I wouldnt touch with a stick!

  19. This is a widely used tecnique and really no different in concept than drop in triggers on an AR. Even small outfits like Kel-tek use it (pf-9). In the end, I predict this will turn out the same way the Mossberg drop in trigger assembly lawsuit did.

  20. Copyright infringement or not…Sig now has the US govt on their side..this will “go away” soon

    • Patent infringement, not copyright infringement. Those are two totally unrelated things.

  21. Another couple of imports for our Army even if manufactured in USA, Profits go to overseas Companies!
    the Armed services clothes and equipment is made over sea’s, TP imported from Canada, Engine parts from Mexico, electronic components from Asia, etc American companies put out shoddy products that last a month then have too be replaced
    S&W F’d themselves, Rugar makes Bricks, Colt hasn’t made a decent any thing in 20 Years! there are a few more but they are too small! Any way pretty soon the Army is going to put out bids for Cheap parts that last only four years so each recruit can make their own firearm,

    • But you have no problem with selling M16, tanks, jets, helmets, … overseas, right?

  22. The big thing is the request for an injunction. That would hold up Sig Saur from fulfilling the military orders, which would mean leveraging them for higher damages. But that is also why an injunction is somewhat unlikely – this used to be common practice in patent litigation. But the Supreme Court stepped in and reminded everyone that an injunction is an equitable remedy, and, as such, requires a showing that monetary damages are not sufficient. There is no presumption any more of irreparable damages with patent infringement, and, instead, the presumption (that must be overcome here) is that monetary damages (presumably of a reasonable royalty) are sufficient.

    And, don’t forget, the patent expires in a year or two, which means that the reasonable royalty, as damages, is likely to not be that onerous over the term of the entire military contract (and, hence, Steyer asking for an injunction).

    • Agree with you that the eBay case has pretty much neutered injunctive relief in IP cases (except when dealing with fly-by-nights, serial infringers, or overseas defendants). But even ignoring that weakening of the law, I question whether there is really an effective threat of a preliminary injunction.

      Even if Steyr establishes likelihood of success and the other routine elements for injunctive relief, the size of the potential damages to Sig from a wrongful injunction (losing/delaying the ability to meet the USG contract) would be gargantuan. I thus suspect the injunction bond required would be larger than Steyr would able/willing to post.

  23. To bad Sigs patent US6234059 [pistol including a removable structure unit] was filed on Feb 23,1999 and published on May 22, 2001. This predates Styers [pistol, whose housing is composed of plastic] which was filed on Aug 13,1999 and published on Jul 17, 2001. I am not a patent lawyer but Styer is suing Sig for using their own patent.

    • Well, Sig’s patent actually references Steyr’s, and the design of the P320 is not very similar to their patent, much closer to Steyr’s.

    • Also, prior to the America Invents Act, priority was based on the first to conceive and diligently develop the invention, not the first to file an application. If the USPTO felt there were a conflict between the claims of the two patents, they should have had an interference proceeding where both parties would present their claims to being the first.

  24. Thank God that Sig Sauer didn’t copy Steyr’s patent on feed ramps and double feeds…

    • Never had those problems on any of mine. Weak, 6oclock extraction is a problem on every gen since 99. I’ve never actually had a malfunction, but one of my original M9s is getting up there, 30k rounds probably and I’ve only replaced the extractor and spring once. That one just needs a complete re-spring, new barrel, and I’m thinking of having the slide cut for an RMR too. They’ve been the most reliable pistols I’ve had over the last 20 years, easily a 100k rounds through multiple 5 M9s, an S9, and an L9. I did have an issue after doing fighting pistol 1-2 in a row without cleaning, it wouldn’t always lock into battery, but I hosed it down with SLP and ran a rag around it, and that 20 sec cleaning fixed it fine for the last couple days. But that’s my beater with a Gen 4 frame, gen 1 chassis and slide. I would love to find a gen 1 S9 or C9, but they only imported a few dozen.

  25. They should have awarded Glock.

    (There, I said it, so the comment stream has the usual Glock comment)

  26. They should have awarded a Colt 1911 in .45ACP.

    (There, I said it so the comment’s reflect a curmudgeonly take on the whole Military handgun’s legend should be big bore, single action, thumb safety, grip safety and, blue steel and wood). Full stop.

  27. It still seems as though modularity is the bell or whistle that the military didn’t really need. Do many troops need to change from full size to compact? Will they do this themselves? Or do they need to change from foliage to desert? It seems like a superfluous requirement designed to make Sig the eventual winner.

    Now we find that there may be a real cost associated with this “need.”

  28. Well, today we’re learning about patents, and some other IP law. Who says guns don’t belong in schools?

    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the interweb. BUT, let me pass on some stories I heard. Make of them what you will…

    Not yet mentioned is the “novelty” requirement for a patent is sometimes pretty haywire. There are yuuuge collections of software patents for any idiot’s first swipe at a particular problem. Except, it seems, any idiot who works at the patent office, who all seem to think every line of code is a patentable innovation. Big, cash rich SW companies treat it exactly tbat way, creating reams of junk patents to threaten people with, from pretty much every line of code.

    Our local lawyers mentioned the legal terms for people who would know to just do some thing, any skilled practitioner would do. It seems the patent office doesn’t have any of those, for SW anyway.

    So, you vet B S patents with tons of money n lawyers behind them. Amazon’s “one click ordering” is pretty well known. Another exampls is making a thick line on screen from a rectangle of the edges, then fill it in. That one helped derail an early tablet startup.

    Big boy fights make the news, but little guys with shallow pockets can’t afford the fight. There’s arsenals of bad patents out there you can’t afford to defend against. So you cut a deal with someone who has a bunch, for protection from the others. Pick which gang will be your patrons.

    So, for instance, you build on somebody’s platform. You’re paying protection. You get to use their patents, n the ones they’ve licensed. But if somebody else comes at you for stuff related to the platform, the fight is with the platform guys, not you: “My enforcer can come at you with as many bad patents as you have … and will.”

    Guess what’s worth more, the patents or the protection?

    These guys don’t like fighting each other. This is why Google boughr Motorola, and the mobile device patent fights w/ Apple n Micro$oft went away. Shocking. Extended to people building on & using Android. Shocking.

    Your novel work is your problem, but, in SW that’s surrounded by tons of other stuff people with money might claim was novel and non-obvious & come at you. As long as someome among them gets a taste they’ll leave you alone. Patent law in SW creates a cartel. Some samrt economists are wrestling with whether this MUST happen with technologies tbat integrate with other stuff.

    The cartel zay “portfolio” like a collection of working stuff that throws off money, like stocks. “Arsenal” is closer. And it’s a portfolio of revenue for the protection they extract, not from use by any conventional meaning.

    For these guys, filing patents is claiming turf, where they can extract a slice from anyone who tries to do something real there. Or nearby. Or looks like nearby.

    Why should gun patents be any different?

    • One difference is that software was long considered to be unpatentable, so much of the prior art that would be in the examiners’ search files wasn’t there.

      Another difference is that software can be less distinct as to what piece is providing a particular function and/or in how the various parts interact to achieve the overall result. Firearms are tangible, physical objects where each piece functions in a clear and unambiguous manner.

  29. So which of these manufacturers should we add to SA and RRA? Streyer for failing to do due diligence, or Sig for trying to make money?

  30. Let Steyer put there head in the noose…of the American Gun Owner.
    It’s plain to see this is strictly a Money Move!
    Greed pure and simple.
    If i was Sig, I’d see if Glock and Steyer had any communication.
    Watching the Spoiled Children have temper tantrums is amussing

    • Of course it’s a money move. Firearms manufacturers are in the business to make money; they are not charities. If they undertook the expense to develop and patent the technology (assuming their patent to be valid), they have the right to make money off that investment. Simple capitalism at work.

  31. P250 predates steyer. They can show that the concept was in production prior to any patent and therefore a concept that had developed and produced. So that should triumph Steyers claim. I lost a case very similar with a patent I had due to another company producing three models before my patent was granted even though their patent was filed after mine. Legal bs will kill ya

    • Steyr rolled out their pistol in 99, I have one from 99. Sig released the P250 in 2007. Steyr,s patent was issued before and referenced in Sig patent application, and the Sig patent clearly has an enhanced design specifically for hammer fired pistols. So even a generous reading shows Steyrs patent was infringed.

      • The patent also describes the SIG Pro that was released in 1998. Before Steyr even filed for the patent. That would be a pretty strong prior art case.

    • America Invents Act switched us to first-to-file. Of course, this is an advantage to large companies that can afford to quickly file provisional applications for every tweak and new development, and thus get ahead of an independent inventor who waits until they’ve got it fully developed before they file.

  32. The USPTO never should have issued this patent. Modular trigger groups date back to the 1930s if not earlier.

    • USPTO relies heavily on applicants to fulfill their duty to report relevant prior art. Applicant who fails to, and manages to get a patent that covers pre-existing technology ends up with an invalid patent which is great for browbeating small companies that cannot put the money into fighting it, but is not much help against a determined company with a huge military contract to defend.

  33. The article mentions the description NOT the claims of patent, which is what it all hangs on. Descriptions mean little in deciding patent case.. In practice very hard to get patent infringement judgement. To get a claim you have to show CLEARLY that potentially infringing part does exactly the same thing as claims, close doesnt countj. What’s worse is individual judges have wide latitude in deciding, then and can be over ridden by another judge. Patents dont protect like the average person thinks. I know from personal experience. I have Utility patent on part that major company copied and basically hardly got time of day. AND patent suits typically start with millions of dollars in legal fees
    One other thing, the description describes a part, not a mechanism, do without seeing the rest of patent, you have no idea if they are claiming a mechanism or method

  34. Berretta was and is a better pistol for the military but not by much… The reality is sig sauer is a a great gun. The real problem with the pistol is the shit cheap ass Ammunition, configuration and grains of projectile.

  35. Ever since all the gun control people started their efforts against the Stoner-designed family of semi-automatic rifles, calling them “AR-15”, I have been advocating that Colt vigorously defend their “AR-15” Trademark¹ and sue all those who have effectively slandered and libeled Colt by calling the non-Colt rifles “AR-15”.

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