Daniel Defense Sues Remington for Trademark Violation

Remington just can’t seem to get itself out of legal battles, now being sued by Daniel Defense for trademark infringement. Daniel Defense claims that Remington, more specifically Remington’s subsidiary DPMS, has been knocking off their slogan (“Lighter. Stronger. Better.”( and trademark dual chevrons (“>>”).

A Daniel Defense add with the chevrons and variation on their standard logo.

A Daniel Defense add with the chevrons and variation on their standard logo.

Marketing materials for DPMS' G2 .308 rifles. Uses very similar language and symbols.

Marketing materials for DPMS’ G2 .308 rifles. Uses very similar language and symbols.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Daniel Defense, based in Black Creek near Savannah, claims it has trademark rights to the slogan “Lighter, Stronger, Better,” which the company said it has used since 1996 to promote accessory parts for its custom-made rifles.

The company also claims it has trademark rights to a “>>” chevron, an image of two strips meeting at an angle, which the company has used to promote its firearms and accessories since early 2012.

Daniel Defense said Remington’s use of the slogans “Lighter, Stronger and even more badass” and “Lighter, Stronger and every bit as accurate as the original” in marketing material confuses consumers since the material does not prominently carry the Remington or DPMS names.

Daniel said the slogans and a chevron similar to its double-striped symbol have appeared in Remington’s print and online advertising, in catalogs, on marketing banners and at trade shows, including one this year in Las Vegas.

“The purchasing consumer is likely to be confused as to the source, origin or sponsorship of the firearm for sale,” the lawsuit said.

Daniel Defense produces custom-made rifles, parts and gear for consumers and law enforcement. The weapons can start at $1,000 and cost more than $3,000.

My take? Remington’s and/or DPMS’ Marketing departments either ripped it off or did not do their due diligence on similar marketing. My assumption is the former and this will likely be settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Daniel Defense has them dead-to-rights, legally speaking.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • JumpIf NotZero

    Obviously DD’s lawyers feel they have a case but I feel like the >> is pushing it a little.

  • allannon

    My read? This is an asinine lawsuit over a trademark that should not have been granted.

    Neither the listing of supposed characteristics nor the doubled chevrons (or similar symbols) is unique or novel.

    • Samsdx

      I would suggest reading a little bit more on the various forms of intellectual property. Neither “novelty” nor “uniqueness” are requirements for a federal trademark registration. Only distinctiveness (as opposed to being merely descriptive) and no likelihood of confusion with already registered marks are required. A mark that has been in use for at least five years can become “distinctive” as having developed secondary meaning.

      It’s not so much the listing of the characteristics themselves that’s the problem, it’s Remington/DPMS attempting to use the overall commercial impression of “Lighter, Stronger, Better”, which Daniel Defense has long used to distinguish itself in the marketplace, that’s the source of the complaint. When I see that mark, I almost instinctively think “Daniel Defense,” and a certain level of quality that I’ve come to expect from them. The use of the almost same tagline by DPMS is an attempt to hijack that goodwill, so that I will come to associate their product along the same lines as Daniel Defense’s.

      Why couldn’t the marketing department at DPMS come up with something more catchy, more clever? It’s almost pathetic how similar they are. Why not compete on the merits?

      • allannon

        Distinctiveness implies novelty and uniqueness; if everyone does something, it’s not a distinct mark.

        And despite being a firearms enthusiast, I’ve never associated a listing of supposed characteristics and a guillemet with Daniel Defense. The first is just a horizontally arranged bullet list; the second is just a generic typographic symbol.

        Regarding the latter point: as it’s neither clever nor catchy, why would it be defensible enough for DPMS to have to work around a common arrangement?

        • Samsdx

          It’s too bad the law does not agree with you. Whether you believe one term of art “implies” something is completely irrelevant, uniqueness, novelty, or otherwise. Distinctiveness has a defined legal meaning, and unless you want to financially back a lawsuit that changes that meaning, that’s what we’re stuck with. Sorry, but novelty and uniqueness. in and of themselves, whether implicitly or explicitly, just doesn’t factor into the analysis.

          You think it’s descriptive, I think it’s distinctive. Reasonable minds could differ, as it is a factual assessment. That’s why the lawsuit was filed – to judicially resolve the issue. I would hardly call that an “asinine” lawsuit, in your words. According to your view, nothing should be subject to trademark protection – the Coca Cola lettering is “just a description of a type of soda with one of its ingredients, written in cursive,” right? You can generalize anything to whatever level of abstractness you want, but thankfully, trademark law doesn’t let you do that for purposes of determining whether a given mark is eligible for trademark protection or not.

          It’s not that Daniel Defense co-opted the entire spectrum of words that could be used to market AR-15 rifles. There are myriad of other options.

  • Nicks87

    Oh give me a break. Is Daniel Defense hurting for money or what? Maybe if DD had already made a light-weight .308 AR but I think they are comparing apples to oranges. Saying that something is lighter and stronger is not a slogan it is a description of the actual product. DPMS is making a rifle that is lighter and stronger than it’s first generation rifles, they are merely stating a fact. As far as the chevron is concerned, when it’s sideways its not a chevron anymore, it’s an arrow. DD doesnt have a case, it’s looks to me like they are just trying to cash in.

    • John

      Not the first time a firearms company tried to cash in on a vague shape.

      Remember when glock tried to trademark a square?

    • CA

      I agree, this is a real stretch.

    • Zachary marrs

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they are hurting for money, you can only milk a military contract for so long, and they seem to be trying to get all they can out of it, all the DD ads i’ve seen feature some operator hs/ld type in the middle of a sandstorm/operation

      • Pete Sheppard

        My first thought when I saw this photo was Springfield Armory and THEIR ‘rifleman’ image…grounds for a suit against DD???

  • TimK

    According to DD’s trademark, the >> represent D’s without the verticals. I think by having them vertically, as in V’s – DPMS is totally fine, as they are not representing DD. Also, a chevron is a standard, or “commonly known” shape – like a circle. There isn’t enough “trade dress” for this to hold legs in court. Nice Try DD.

    They might have a case with Lighter. Stronger. Better. – but that is three separate sentences… and they are even miss using it in their own marketing materials. Lighter, Strong, XXXXX could be argued as common descriptive terms when used in a sentence format. Again, nice try DD.

    • Cymond

      “but that is three separate sentences”
      Except that in the both adverts above, those words are separated by commas, not periods. It is distinctly a single sentence, not 3 separate sentences.

    • hkryan

      But if you rotate the image it becomes >>… 😀

  • john huscio

    Lawsuit aside, I don’t think anyone can dispute which company makes the higher quality products here….

    • Smokey_the_Bear

      I agree that DD is better in the quality department…but they also cost more, so that makes sense. I know Remington had the big model 700 recall, and their new handgun is lookin’ like a flop(R-51), but that hasn’t deterred me from saving my pennies to buy a versa max. 🙂

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    They can sue all the want, but they’re wasting their time. They will not win. If any company is gonna get hot and bothered about the logo it should the the oil company…aaaaahh, what was is called…ummmmmm….BP..err wait that’s not right…I meant Shell,…ah crap that’s not it either…what was the name of it……………..oh yeah, CHEVRON.

  • guest

    “lighter, stronger, better” are probably the most generic terms in ANY industry, forget firearms for a moment: this could just as well be the description of a new mobile phone, laptop, piece of sewage pipe or a bike!

    This reminds me very much of the bogus lawsuits A.R.M.S. was involved in against LaRue if memory serves me right.

  • Gallan

    Maybe Daniel Defense product claims are as empty their marketing lawsuits.

  • David Sharpe

    Honestly, I don’t see how two arrows can be trademarked….

  • Lance

    They did change the last word think Daniel Ddefense is making crap up for publicity.

  • Chuang Shyue Chou

    It seems to be much ado over very little.

  • PatrickHenry1789

    Maybe if Remington started building a better product. They wouldn’t have to worry about catchy slogans.

  • Giolli Joker

    “Daniel Defense claims that Remington […] has been knocking off their […] trademark dual chevrons (“>>”)”

    I wonder what André-Gustave Citroen would say about this detail…

  • Mark N.

    I’ve seen plenty of DD ads, but to this very moment never realized that the sideways chevrons were supposedly part of their trade dress. It’s not like they appear on the product or anything. Am I deceived? No–I know the difference between DPMS and Daniel Defense and I am not confused. I can afford DPMS parts, but not DD’s.

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    I do not think you can trademark a standard symbol, which is what Remington used. As for Lighter, Stronger it’s been used with variations for the history of advertising. “Richer, Stronger, Pound Lasts Longer, head for the Hills Bros. Coffee” I grew up with that jingle on the radio 50 plus years ago. Geoff Who thinks we have too many lawyers.

  • wetcorps

    I’m waiting for Daft Punk to sue both of them 🙂

    • gunslinger

      discovery came out in early/mid 2000s. DD had them beat.

  • Laserbait

    My respect for Daniel Defense has just gone down quite a bit. I wish that I hadn’t just bought one of their barrels.

  • gunslinger

    i’m not so sure how safe DPMS is, or if DD has a case or what. Look at Taco Bell’s commercials with “ronald mcdonald” for their new breakfast menu.

    the fact they are using part of their competitors phrase, and adding their own portion to make them look better may be enough. As for the symbol, unless they have every permutation TMd, i don’t think it’s hard to tell the difference between a right facing and downward facing chevron. but hey, i’m not a lawyer.

    • Julo

      I don’t read DPMS’ ad. as being aimed at making anyone think that their products are DD’s, or vice versa, but rather as challenging DD, literally in their own terms, which in any case, as many have said already, are thoroughly generic. Recognition of DD’s tag-line and chevron device is central to the way the DPMS ad. functions, but just as central is the obvious inference that DPMS produce a better product, and the surprise generated by such a claim, which in turn invites the recipient of the ad. to take a closer look at DPMS’ offerings, or simply to admire their cheek. My verdict? Competitive marketing, not coat-tail riding.

  • Ds

    Three-peat, three-peat, three-peat! Whatchya gonna do, Riley?

  • Anonymous

    “The purchasing consumer is likely to be confused as to the source, origin or sponsorship of the firearm for sale,” the lawsuit said.

    They shouldn’t buy/own guns.

  • TJ

    I love all the trademark “lawyers” chiming in. Where’d you get you JD’s? What you think about trademarks has no bearing on what the law says. Daniel Defense is going to win this one.

    If the intellectual firepower displayed by the commenters is indicative of the mental prowess of the folks we hope to defend our 2A rights, then we’re screwed.

  • As a trademark (and patent) attorney with decades of experience, and who represents more firearms industry companies than any other lawyer or law firm (but neither of these two companies) I can offer some thoughts:

    1. Daniel Defense registered the chevron logo early in 2014. Remington and everyone else ha the usual chance to object to the registration late in 2013, but didn’t. (This is why I review every trademark filing related to firearms each month for my many clients). This logo trademark is presumably as legitimate as any logo out there.
    2. Given the registration, Remington is in the weaker position. You normally can’t just copy your competitor’s logo and rotate it by 90 degrees. Imagine if Adidas did that with Nike’s “swoosh.”
    3. Yes, the Chevron oil company uses a similar logo, but that’s for unrelated goods and services. Trademarks normally apply only to the related goods, which is why United Airlines and United Van Lines coexist without confusion.
    4. Remington has a stronger case about using two of the three words in the DD slogan. They can argue that they are using them descriptively, not as a trademark. Every business has the right to describe their goods, and “lighter” and “stronger” are arguably necessary. If Remington tried using all three in the same sequence, they’d have a real problem. My client Hornady has a trademark for “Accurate. Deadly. Dependable.” And it is enforceable. Whether there are periods, commas or nothing between the words is irrelevant to trademark rights.

    Unless these companies wish to spend a fortune fighting, the simple solution is for Remington to stop using the chevron, and Daniel to accept that “lighter, stronger” can be used by others (but maybe not as a trademark).