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Word comes that Alex Bosco over at SB Tactical is suing the guys behind the Shockwave pistol arm brace for patent infringement. Shockwave produces a rigid plastic “blade” that they claim improves accuracy when firing a pistol (in the non-ATF enraging “proper” manner), and does so with a single rigid vertical blade instead of the two floppy rubber-y affairs that SB Tactical’s brace uses. You might think that this distinction would be enough to make the design unique, but SB Tactical seems to think that Shockwave’s design is shockingly similar to their own patent. So much so, in fact, that they have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Shockwave to get them to stop selling the thing.

From Shockwave’s blog:

I launched the Blade in early March of this year (2015). Much to my surprise—and that of everybody I’ve told this story to—NST Global LLC (aka SB Tactical aka Alessandro Bosco aka Alex Bosco) filed a lawsuit against my company within just two months of the Blade hitting the market. His claim? That I am infringing on his cosmetic design patent, D706,896. Yes, the very same patent that my attorney wrote wasn’t even germane to discussions about the Blade. Looking at the pictures [above], the two products couldn’t look more dissimilar in my opinion.

There’s often a huge difference between “my lawyer told me that this was OK” and the result of a lawsuit. Viewed from the side the two devices are strikingly similar, and work in pretty much the same fashion. They both work by strapping the device to the outstretched arm of the shooter with an included hook-and-loop strap, but the execution seems to be a little different in the two camps. Whether that’s enough to warrant a successful infringement suit is now up to the court system.

Shockwave are a small company, and apparently don’t have the funds to effectively defend their case in court, so they are now asking for donations to fight the lawsuit on their website. SB Tactical was unable to comment due to the pending litigation.

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  1. So someone is upset that a company can sell a product for half the price in a particular market? Cry me a river. I’m sure gm was thinking the same thing before they were purchased by us… I’m still waiting to see my loan interest check for that one. Maybe it’s in china at one of their factories?

    • To be fair, it’s IP. If you invented something you deserve to reap the rewards. Or do the years you spent developing the product have no value?

      • Not only designing the product but spending TONS of money getting rulings on the product. Sig paved the way for other companies to produce this type of product.

        • what do you mean by spending tons for a Ruling.
          1) Mail item to ATF technical branch, include the question you want answered, Include your UPS or FED ex shipping account or a prepaid shipping label if you want the item back.
          2) wait for ATF’s free response

          their first brace that the ruling was determined on cost a grand total of 20 bucks, it still is made form polyurethane foam.
          this is like if you owned a patent for a fork and you sue me over selling a spoon

      • sure the inventor deserves to reap the benefits of their invention. to me this seems more like a company trying to put the competition out of business with an expensive legal battle. A loser pays the legal expenses system should put an end to that kind of BS.

        • Except that no rational person can deny that their design was an attempt to get around the patent. In such a case, it’s up to a jury to decide if they succeeded. Shockwave is going to lose because they deserve to lose. Their design is clearly at least based on the SB design (if not an outright copy/paste job).

        • The SB design is clearly not a copy/paste job. The construction AND materials are superior, and that means that it’s superior for use as a traditional stock(if you were to put it on a full-length rifle, that is). It’s also lighter and.. hell, just look at it.

          To put it a different way, there’s more difference between the two braces than there are differences between different types of handguard.

        • Pwrserge,

          Saying they deserve to lose? Shockwave being sued is like the Cell phone companies suing each other. completely ridiculous. the products are physically different.

      • Patent law relies on a Marxist definition of value, that being that value is a result of effort applied, as opposed to the free market definition, where value is a result of desirability and availability (supply and demand).

        The fact is, just because you worked on something doesn’t make it valuable and doesn’t mean the state is in any way responsible, or justified for that matter, to ensure that you reap any rewards for your efforts.

      • One thing that people always forget is that patents protect a specific way of doing something, rather than a general idea of doing something.

      • The patent law says it is not an infringement if the newly created product makes improvements over the product where a patent has been issued.

        I’ve been down that road too. If the new brace company can show how they actually improved the product, they will win.

        From my observation, the new brace is different and an improved product.

        We shall see what the courts say.

  2. Proving once again that we are our own worst enemy.

    I don’t want either but the SB clearly has the better design especially if you actually use it for the original purpose as an arm brace for shooting an AR pistol as a pistol not a mall ninja SBR.

    The blade looks like if you used it properly it wouldn’t be very effective. You can tell from their letter to the ATF a while back that they are really just trying to meet the minimum requirements as an “arm brace”, but with the intent of using as something else.

    Either way, this lawsuit sounds pretty stupid.

    • “mall ninja SBR”

      I wouldnt go as far to call it a mall ninja SBR. If you didnt want to pay the tax stamp and form 1 OR you live in a no SBR state, it was a great option until the sh1tstorm ensued.

    • Hey – I liked my Mall Ninja SBR, Tex. Go easy there 😉 It was a 300 AAC too. Thought you would be proud. The brace is back in the box and the stamp is on the way, so guess I’ll be a ‘big boy’ soon. Costing me over 800 bucks along the way too (for the Trust, Stamp, Engraving, Stock, tube) and going to have the joy of breaking the stake on a gas tube. All because they said it was OK, until they decided it wasn’t. THAT’s the part that pisses me off. Their word is shit to me. I wouldn’t have bought the POS if they didn’t tell us it was fine to shoulder it before they decided to change their schizo minds.

  3. Not in the market for either. I put the shockwave on my arm at a local store, couldn’t get the sights to line up. My forearms are too large, I didn’t think I was that muscular. I’m thinking the proposed end user – a disabled Vet, is going to have an even more muscular arm.

  4. IP law is pretty clear: defend your patent or surrender the option to do so in the future. So unless you want to just give away your ideas and money it took to develop them, you have to sue. Also, it would be impossible to find investors of you didn’t. Looking at the products in the pics here, it seems like an easy win for Mr. Bosco.

  5. Gotta protect your IP if you want it to retain the value, whether in the games industry or gun industry. But given the shenanigans centering around the pistol braces, I wonder if they are really even selling at all this point. Couldn’t help but laugh at the “but my lawyer told me this was ok!” line.

    So, I guess the unboxed FDE one sitting in my closet will stay there for the time being.

    • Yeah, me too. Maybe we can melt ours down and form them into a big middle finger and send it to the ATF. Frigging schizos.

  6. My impression is that this is a Design Patent which covers appearance, not functionality. The lawsuit is one of those “all the justice money can buy” situations, where someone who can afford attorney fees bullies a party with fewer funds available.

    • On one hand, it’s a relative given that two products serving the same function on the same firearm are going to look similar. For instance, lots of the aftermarket triggers for the AR-15 look similar. I mean, sure, they all function in basically the same way and have to fit in exactly the same spot and work with the same safety, same bolt, same pin holes, etc… so similarities must exist.

      On the other hand, Shockwave could have easily made some efforts to create a design that looked less similar to the SB brace, which is protected under a design patent. They could have made all sorts of changes to the profile of the blade, the slots for the straps, etc etc so its silhouette wasn’t almost identical. Whether it’s close enough to infringe the patent or not is up to a judge/jury I suppose.

    • Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.
      If this is all about US Patent D706,896, I don’t think SB has a chance. They only make one claim:
      “The ornamental design for a forearm-gripping stabilizing attachment, as shown and described.”
      The have diagrams, and specifically disclaim that a large portion of the diagrams, basically everything surrounding the buffer tube except a cutout at the top for a strap, and the two wrap-around parts that go around your forearm “…are environmental structure only and form no part of the claimed design”.
      The shockwave brace’s bottom part looks nothing like the bottom part of the SB brace, which is what the patent claims. So just about everything that looks similar would be specifically excluded by the language in the patent.

      However, if there’s a different patent also in play, something else is true.

      • Agreed. Based on that design patent image, and that SB is suing over only that patent, SB has no case, because the design doesn’t match the Blade. The patent covers a brace that has two projections below the buffer tube, while the Blade has a single projection.

  7. Bottom line: They are both meant to be stocks that “aren’t stocks” and thats fine, but some one made one that’s more “stockish” and thus more appealing to the market for which the item was intended. It IS a case of trying to stop a competitor that is poised to destroy you.

  8. Based on appearance, the Shockwave design is a 95% copy of the SB brace. Typically, the patent doesn’t care if you make it lighter or a different color. A patent issued on a bolt action rifle mechanism issued before the regular use of Stainless Steel would still be in effect if you later start building the actions out of stainless, or even titanium (until the patent expires.)

    If Shockwave wanted to do this right, they should have filed their own patent, describing how they were different and/or improved over the original. More than likely, any claims they listed would have been rejected as already covered by the SB brace. I’m currently working on a patent for some drilling equipment, and we’re going through similar issues – except our invention is quite different and used for a different purpose than the prior art that the patent examiner claims is the same as ours. In the case of the Shockwave, they shouldn’t be shocked at all that the original inventor is taking them to task for a blatant copy with two changes – one vs. two fins that serve the exact same purpose, and rubbery vs. hard plastic material.

    • The patent in question is a design patent not a utility patent. What matters is look, not how it functions. The fact that the Blade has a single projection to strap the arm to, instead of a pair of projections, will almost certainly result in SB failing their case.

    • >> patent issued on a bolt action rifle mechanism issued before the regular use of Stainless Steel would still be in effect if you later start building the actions out of stainless, or even titanium (until the patent expires.)

      I very much doubt you could issue a general patent on bolt action rifles, though (back in the day, obviously). You could patent a specific design, like Mauser, but then something like Lee-Enfield wouldn’t infringe on it. Same principle here.

  9. I agree with what Defens say above. Shockwave shouldn’t all be “shocked” that they are being taken to court. This is exactly why we have a patent system in the US. They’ve clearly stolen IP that belongs to another company, SB Tactical. In my book that’s wrong, and they’ll get what they deserve.

  10. Reading the Shockwave blog made me laugh out loud. Shockwave says “Looking at the pictures [above], the two products couldn’t look more dissimilar in my opinion.” Come again? Are the folks at Shockwave smoking crack? Based on the two pictures being referenced, their product looks EXACTLY like SB Tactical’s product, which is protected by a design patent. Give me a break, Shockwave.

  11. Liberty7 has it right. I am a patent attorney, and SB should know that design patents are very narrow, and serve only to protect the non-functional and decorative elements of a design. If there’s no utility patent, anyone is free to copy any aspect that is functional. Here, a look at the patent shows the front and rear views with the two-bladed cuff “wings”, compared to the single blade design being accused. SB’s patent attorney made the fatal mistake of including these forms in solid lines in the patent drawings. This means that they are an essential component of the design.

    The only way these look remotely similar is in a side view, which is Figure 5 of the patent. All the other views are clearly different.

    I’m obviously strong on the importance of the value of patents and respecting the patent rights of others, but this is a wishful thinking lawsuit, bordering on irresponsible conduct by whatever attorneys would file it.


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