Bradenton Post reports that Liberty Ammunition has won a major victory in a patent lawsuit against the DoD.
Liberty Ammunition filed suit against the Department of Defense in 2011, claiming that the Department of the Army used Liberty’s trade secrets to produce “enhanced performance rounds” for military rifles that were nearly identical to a bullet Liberty patented. The Army has been using lead-free bullets for several years produced by other manufacturers working under military contract.
U.S. Federal Court of Claims Judge Charles F. Lettow filed a decision Dec. 19 in which he found the federal government had infringed on Liberty’s patent for its copper-core, steel-tipped ammunition. Lettow ordered the government to pay two levels of damages, the first being a $15.6 million lump payment. The government
was also ordered to pay a 1.4-cent royalty on every bullet it purchases and receives for use. It will make those payments until Liberty’s patent expires in 2027.
Bennet Langlotz, the gun patent attorney who emailed me this story, gave me permission to publish what he wrote to me …
This shows to the surprise of many people that you can sue the federal government, even the military, for patent infringement. And win. This is an important fact because many firearms innovators are investing in developing new designs with the motivation of selling to the military. If the military could buy knock-offs from others, there’d be little reason for anyone to develop new designs that can strengthen our nation defense. Imagine if John Browning wasn’t justly paid by the government for his important early designs. Does anyone believe he could have afforded to continue development of later important designs?