Former Employee Sues Sharps & Broadsword Group

Capture

Michael H. Blank, formerly of the Broadsword Group, LLC and Sharps Rifle company has formally filed suit against his former employer. Mr. Blank contends that he is owed a 10% royalty based on a verbal contract between Broadsword and himself for IP he brought to the company. Mr. Blank designed the 25-45 Sharps cartridge and alluded to be the designer of the Relia-Bolt.

My analysis: Verbal contract suits are notoriously hard to win. There will need to be some sort of follow-up documentation showing that Broadsword acted to the verbal contract and then broke it in bad faith.

Full Press Release Below:

Broadsword Group, Sharps Sued

Saint Louis – Last week, on September 10th, Michael H Blank, filed suit in the Missouri Eastern District Federal Court against his former employer the Broadsword Group, LLC and its Sharps Rifle Company, which also does business as SRC Arms.

Mr. Blank is seeking “clear and quiet” title to all of the IP that he claims to have brought to the firm in return for a verbally agreed to, but apparently never completed, contract that included an ownership stake of 10%. Mr. Blank now seeks a 10% royalty on all goods stemming from the IP that Broadsword or Sharps has produced, either sold or unsold.The filings state that Mr. Blank was terminated on March 7 of 2014 without cause and was shortly after offered only a severance payment in the amount of one month’s pay that Mr. Blank states in the claim was already promised him under his temporary employment contract. In return Jay Johnston, CEO of both Broadsword and Sharps Rifle Company, Inc. requested Mr. Blank relinquish all rights to his inventions, any and all rights to contest any legal claims he might have against Broadsword or Sharps.

Mr. Blank was quoted as saying, “It’s a regrettably, but necessary step that this action had to be taken. Recent requests that I simply sign their patent application for the bolt where I am listed as sole inventor and assign my rights with no consideration only illustrates why this action is required.” Blank further adds that, “The verbal contract that induced me to bring in, improve upon, and further develop my designs wasn’t consummated, and I can’t let them keep what they didn’t pay for.”

The Broadsword Group and Sharps Rifle Company, Inc., co-Defendants in the suit have yet to respond to the claims, but will have 21 days to do so from the date they are served. On the Broadsword, Sharps, SRC Arms website (www.SRCArms.com) the President of Sharps Rifle Company, Jay Lesser, refers to the new bolt they offer as “patented” so presumably this is one of the pieces of IP Mr. Blank is contesting in the suit. It should be noted Mr. Blank is credited in Cartridges of World as being the designer of the 25-45 Sharps, but as a cartridge that was accepted as a standardized cartridge by SAAMI any IP would have been released.###



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.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

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


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  • allannon

    Verbal contracts are worth pretty much the paper they’re written on. (Yes, that’s nothing.)

    Disregarding any malice, there’s too much potential for forgotten details, different underlying assumptions coloring interpretations of the conversation, and a host of similar issues.

  • Jeff Smith

    And that’s why you always ask to get it in writing.

  • Burst

    I suppose dueling with Sharpened Broadswords is out, then?

  • I’m probably the only one, but when I think of Mr. Blank, I think of this:

    http://youtu.be/zHI_i3ncJH4

    • Mike Blank

      Richard, not the only one. Love that movie too.

  • Burst

    I suppose going at it with Sharpened Broadswords is not an option, then?

    Spoilsports.

  • Steve Truffer

    Well, we have a verbal contract, and a mixed-metric caliber. good luck seeing success in either.

  • ghost

    A verbal contract is not worth the paper it is printed on.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Didn’t this company have to fix the Relia-bolt after a customer pointed out that the bolt needs the squared bottom lugs to engage the ammunition from the mag? That, and the .25-45 is pretty much D.O.A. considering the fact that according to Sharps’s own Data, the ballistics of 87gr @ 3000 fps and 1700 ft-lbs is from the 24″ bbl, not the 20″ bbl. Compare that to 6.8spc 90gr from a 20″ bbl @ 2984 fps and about 1800 ft-lbs. What’s the point of the Sharps?

  • Lyle R.

    If someone would google Merwin Hulbert and Mike Blank they would clearly see he’s a crook.

    • Mike Blank

      Lyle, I’d be happy to talk to you about this. I gave up all of my equity in the former company and brought two parties together to make sure that all of whom made deposits on the Merwin Hulbert Revolvers were repaid in full. Don’t take my word for it, check with the Assistant Attorney General of Wyoming.