[Breaking] Mossberg Suing Manufacturers of Drop-In Triggers

cmc_triggers_ar15_ar10_trigger_group_1307921_2

In another instance of the firearms industry feeding on it’s own, it appears that Mossberg is exercising it’s control on the original Chip McCormick patent (US 7,293,385 B2), that it acquired a while ago, and bringing lawsuits against a number of manufacturers of drop in triggers.

Mossberg currently licenses the design to the new CMC company, who has apparently decided to get Mossberg to go after their competition, i.e. anyone making drop in triggers.

A list of some of the companies that are currently named in the lawsuit(s) are:

  • DOA Arms
  • Tactical Fire Control
  • Battle Tested Equipment
  • Patriot Ordnance Factory
  • RISE Armaments (whose triggers I swear by)
  • T Vehr Manufacturing
  • Elftmann Gun Products

RA APT - trigger 1-500x500

While I do understand the need for protecting intellectual property in some cases, I personally have a problem with companies that buy up (or otherwise acquire patents for) items they did not innovate. IF you are the original innovator, then, okay, you should be able to reap some advantages for a period of time to capitalize on your product. However if you are using patents as an investment and/or speculative arrangement (or to otherwise stifle innovation), I strongly disagree (though the law clearly doesn’t support my opinion).

One may also question the timing of the lawsuits just as the NRA show begins.

I currently only own one Mossberg product (my 930 JM Pro I use for 3-Gun). I am not aware of having used any of CMC’s products.

Trigger-Drop-in-01

As this is a new (and breaking) story, when we get more details/clarifications/corrections we will update here. In general I think this is a bad thing for the industry. So, readers, let’s get a discussion going. Do you agree with the intent of the suit? Disagree? Could care less?

Phil Note: From our sources it seems all companies making drop in triggers will be targeted with the companies listed being the first. Should Mossberg win this will kill some companies who only make drop in triggers. Considering the cost of a court defense that could also cause some to close their doors.TFB has verified the filing of these suits and have court documents in hand

Update: A total of 12 companies have been sued since 5/18/2016. Link to original McCormick patent https://www.google.com/patents/US7293385

UPDATE: Read more about the Patent situation here:

BREAKING: The Truth Behind Drop-in AR-15 Triggers. They Date Back to 1998.

UPDATE: CMC makes a statement:

CMC Triggers Makes Statement



Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • You have a problem with companies buying intellectual property rights? Well, alright.

    • I just think about all these companies who could be closed down. An effort by Mossberg to contact the companies and work out a percentage going to them seems like the best first move.

      • Travis

        So, who gets to pick and choose who is too big to protect their property?

        Also, if someone were stealing my firearms that I purchased and selling them for profit, you believe that I should call the person up and ask them to give me a percent of what they are making on the sale of my firearms, instead of taking them to court?

        • That is an entirely different situation. If you read what I said I think the first course of action would be to negotiate a percentage of profits to compensate Mossberg rather than going straight into multiple lawsuits.

          • Travis

            I would say that it is different, but not entirely different. The thing is, it is actually worse, because Mossberg is selling the rights to CMC, who has an agreement. These other companies were not only stealing from Mossberg, but also from CMC. It is not strictly about profits for Mossberg, but the ability for CMC to build up a brand. Not only is CMC loosing sales directly to competition that can produce the same product for less because they don’t have to pay royalties, but they also suffer from people not being able to directly associate the drop in trigger with the CMC brand. So the moral of the story is, if you don’t want to end up with large court fees and etc…. Check if someone owns the rights to something before producing it… if it’s not yours then leave it alone -said almost every kindergarten teacher ever.

          • Mossberg owns CMC—— unless there is a typo in the filing

          • Travis

            Then it is even simpler then I thought, Mossberg has every right to take these companies to court, it is hurting their brand, which costs far more then they could ever gain in royalties.

          • I still wonder why they waited so long. These things have been coming out for years.

          • MrEllis

            A lawyer just noticed.

          • Might have taken CMC a while to get Mossberg corporate to file the suit. Larger companies are less agile than smaller companies.

          • jng1226

            It takes time for general counsel to retain and consult with patent attorneys to analyze exactly where they stand with respect to their claims and the potential infringement of competitors’ designs. Once they were confident in their analysis and strength of position, they let loose the dogs of the legal profession. The filing is a matter of course, I’ll bet my own money they will settle out of court with licensing agreements with everybody named in the suit. Litigation is too costly for just about anybody. Prices will go up probably 10% at retail to pass the cost onto consumers, and the world, and market for drop-in triggers, will go on.

          • I’d be more inclined to think 20%

          • frrst245

            I’d personally buy a drop in that is retained with screws and save 20% compared to one that infringes on this patent.

          • TennTexan

            Perhaps they waited so long because they didn’t have the financial means to bring the infringement lawsuits? Patent litigation is extremely expensive, and not everyone who owns a patent can afford to enforce it without getting some kind of financial backing.

          • frrst245

            or it just wasn’t worth the hassle until potential damages got above a certain threshold.

          • Glenn Bellamy

            Mosberg has been engaged in litigation with Timney over this patent for several years, They may have been waiting for that to conclude (I don’t know), but it has drug on through several unsuccessful challenges by Timney. A nonexclusive license has been available from Mossberg all along.

          • Marcus D.

            CMC is one of the lower priced products (app. $170), because the design uses a folded steel body, very unlike the milled aluminum chassis used by others. I also think that it does not have base set screws for tightening the trigger group against the pins. The internals of all of these triggers are essentially the same as the original trigger group invented many long years ago, and that CMC did not develop, varying in materials, springs, and sear alignments and grinds, which I think would be nigh impossible to patent.

          • Bill

            Lawsuits are how compensation is negotiated, after the damage has already been done.

          • Probably and it results in a larger percentage I would imagine.

          • TennTexan

            “I think the first course of action would be to negotiate a percentage of
            profits to compensate Mossberg rather than going straight into multiple
            lawsuits.”

            And how do you know Mossberg didn’t try the negotiation route before they filed the lawsuit? Moreover, don’t you think your argument is a little akin to “duty to retreat?” In other words, you’re effectively saying that you think Mossberg should try to negotiate with their “attacker” (i.e. the infringer) before they are allowed to defend themselves (i.e. file a lawsuit).

            Sending a nasty letter to an infringer doesn’t always get the desired response–or any response for that matter. It’s often necessary to sue the infringer to force them to come to the negotiating table. Don’t forget that only 1-2% of patent cases ever make it to trial. The vast majority settle.

      • Bill

        If the company is going to use Mossberg’s IP, which Mossberg bought and paid for, it’s those companies’ responsibility to work out royalties or contracts first, not bootleg the product and then expect Mossberg to accommodate them. Mossberg isn’t the villain here.

      • frrst245

        Maybe they should have worked it out BEFORE going into business producing a product they didn’t have a right to produce?
        Enjoy you Livi’s jeans and your Abidas shoes….after all, knockoffs are likely the only products they make.

    • Doc Rader

      I do. If you innovate (or you directly support innovation) that results in a patent, then cool. If you buy up patents to suppress others from innovating (or to be a patent “troll”) then I have a problem with it.

      • Large organizations compensate the original innovator greatly for their work, and often without the organization and resources of a larger corporation, some patents might never be capitalized on.
        The acquisition of intellectual property is legal, profitable, and by no means bad. Im posting from a phone that is the culmination of hundreds of purchased patents, drive a car that wasnt designed by one man, etc.

        • Doc Rader

          Sure. And please re-read what my problem with it is. When it is used to stifle or patent troll…

          Sure, get some royalties, etc. but don’t be an a** about it.

          • Cory C

            Sure, but what if the company you’d like to get royalties from doesn’t want to give you royalties? What if they just decide that you don’t need the royalties because of their philosophical outlook on patent law? The answer is you’d sue them. It’s a bit silly to suggest that Mossberg was getting fat on royalties and just arbitrarily decided to go to war with the people who were using their patents. Who are we to say what they fair value of leasing something they own should be. Advocating for outside influence on Mossberg’s valuation of their property is regulation at best and quasi-socialism at worst.

            Of course, the most terribly ironic part of this sentiment is that it’s coming from a gun blog commenter. You know, someone who has invested their time into understanding that even though something they value is used to hurt innocent people all the time, the net benefit of maintaining the personal liberty to own that thing is so precious that it should be preserved no matter the collateral damage. If you apply the same analysis to IP law, personal injury law, or anything else that is easy to demonize, the inevitable consequence is that, sure, it sucks that some people abuse it, but disallowing people access to it is a greater sin. Sound familiar?

          • He can’t answer you right now. He went to an area with no service.

    • Vitor Roma

      I have a problem with the whole concept of patents. People should read some Stephan Kinsella.

    • MrEllis

      How about patent trolls?

    • JSmath

      They bought the rights several years ago and have been sitting idle on the patent… In the software industry, they’d be laughed out of court, and only time will tell if the courts have half the brains when it comes to recognizing that Mossberg can’t reasonably argue that they did not know how many companies have started and have made products infringing the IP.

      • They haven’t been sitting idle, CMC triggers (which may or may not be owned by Mossberg) is producing triggers under this patent.

    • tts

      If they’re buying IP to produce stuff then that is great. Its when they buy stuff just to shelve it or to patent troll that there is a big problem. Both of those issues have been problems before but now, the latter one in particular, seem to be out of control. IP law as it currently exists is not beyond criticism so yes its fair, in some circumstances, to have a problem with a company buying another’s IP rights.

      To keep it a bit more on topic and relevant to guns from a historical perspective: the Burgess Gun Company and its IP was bought and shelved by Winchester just to silence competition and improve Winchester’s profits. Certainly good for Winchester at the time but also certainly no good for anyone else!

      Patents aren’t only supposed to be a means to earn their owner money after all. They also exist to encourage innovation and when companies use them in such a manner as Winchester did to Burgess they act to suppress innovation for everyone.

      Whether or not Mossberg is trying to pull off some patent shenanigans here is unclear to me, I just don’t know enough about the situation. What little I have read is, so far, biasing me against them since it sure looks like they’re trying to lawyer themselves up some more profits instead of trying to make money by selling good products.

    • marathag

      When Patent Trolls do, yeah.

      And Mossberg is Trolling hard now.

      • TennTexan

        So you think only the inventor should be able to enforce his patent? What if he’s an individual inventor who doesn’t have enough money to file a lawsuit against a big company–say Google or IBM–who he thinks is infringing his patent? Should be be able to sell or license his patent to someone with deep enough pockets to enforce it in exchange for a cut of any settlement or damages money received?

        • marathag

          I’m a believer in the patent system in place for much of US History, 17 years, and not overly broad patents being granted, like Apples ‘Rounded Corners’ and ‘Swipe to unlock’

          PatentTrolls have been a real problem since the Selden had one on Automobiles and the Wright Brothers on Roll Control.

          • TennTexan

            What is your definition of a “patent troll?”

          • marathag

            The same as most.
            Patent trolls suing other companies actually manufacturing products based upon the overly broad patents they hold, disregarding existing prior art.
            Timney has been making ‘drop ins’ covered by that patent before Ike was President.

          • TennTexan

            All issued patents are entitled to a presumption of validity. If it truly is “overly broad,” as you say, then pretty much anyone with $15,000 to spare can file a petition with the patent office and try to invalidate it… It’s never been easier to kill a patent than it is today.

  • thedonn007

    What is the exact wording it the patent? I would think that if they have not protected the patent after the number of years these other triggers have been on the market, then they would loose the rights to sue.

  • Tyler McCommon

    So is the idea of a drop in trigger patented? Honestly though I’m not gonna pay the $250 plus of a lot of those triggers (other than RISE). Especially when I can pay a gunsmith less…. and get a decent quality trigger job.

    • Yes it is—– at least alleged by Mossberg

      • Tyler McCommon

        Oh… well…. I do imagine if Mossberg wins you’ll see an increase in CMC trigger prices.

    • El Duderino

      There will still be alternatives — all the non drop-in/cassette style triggers e.g. Geissele.

      • True—I use Geissele but I also have two drop in types–TacCon

        • El Duderino

          Sure. And those companies that want to survive will come out with non drop in models. Mossberg will have deeper pockets and more patience than the companies listed. Sad but true.

          • True enough they won’t have a choice if they want to survive. Just make them like Geissele does. It will take some redesign but it’s doable.

          • Zachary marrs

            Part of the draw of drop in triggers is that you can do stuff you can’t get away with in a normal trigger.

            Saying they will need a redesign is an incredible understatement

          • Oh believe me I know it won’t be fast or simple but it might be the only choice.

          • CS

            Most of the components in the drawing look Iike standard ar parts.
            I have a feeling this patent will be found as invalid. Other guns like Barrett with their MRAD trigger, Tavor, FS2000, and the like place a shell around their trigger group components and are not mentioned in this lawsuit. Are they not in violation of this patent?

            It also appears that Mossberg themselves has ripped off the design of the Savage Accutrigger on several of their bolt rifles. What hypocrites.

  • Will P.

    I don’t see how they’ll get anywhere with this as drop in triggers have been around longer than CMC, such as Timney. Though they may not have been specifically for ARs the concept is generally the same. You maybe able to patent YOUR WHEEL but you can’t patent THE WHEEL.

    • We shall see—– Timney is one of those named I understand.

    • frrst245

      This patent specifically discusses a modular trigger and hammer assembly retained with OEM pin(s). A trigger for a R700 would not fall under this definition since it has no hammer.
      On the surface it looks like it would be very easy to work around with a halfway functioning brain. just use screws and shims to locate the module, or have an assembly aid take the place of the modular housing that does not remain behind. Lots of options for those who would bother to put in the effort to do so.

  • Cal S.

    I just bought a lighter trigger spring and a creep-reducing grip screw. Saved myself $220 for a 5-6lb trigger.

    It’s a shame about the companies, though.

  • TennTexan

    Patents are intellectual property, and that property can be bought and sold the same as tangible things like a press brake, a bulldozer, or an office building. If the person who buys a patent can’t enforce it, then what intrinsic value does a patent have?

    • Because business is evil. Everything should be free.

      • TennTexan

        Speaking of “free,” the funny thing is that massive companies like Google are leading the charge to weaken if not completely destroy the patent system so they can be free to infringe with impunity.

        • JSmath

          Yes, Odin forbid Goggle continue to provide industry leading services and products for reduced costs to consumers. Our cable internet companies would be so much better off without their fiber optic meddling.

          • iksnilol

            Also squashing new thinking and our privacy. I have to override so much crap with new computers just because I don’t want random people to be able to literally pinpoint my location.

      • MrEllis

        Alex, I usually am a big fan how rational and even handed you are. Not a fan of this hyperbole. The issues is a little more nuanced than “why do you hate our freedoms!!!”

      • Don’t worry, I caught the humor.

    • Paladin

      IP is not property. If I take your property from you, you no longer have it. If I copy your idea you still have your idea. A patent, being in effect nothing more than a sheet of paper with words on it, has no intrinsic value (but then neither does anything else, intrinsic value is a myth).

      What makes a patent relevant is not the thing itself, but what it represents, that being a promise from the government to use the force of government against people who copy “your” idea. It amounts to the government employing force in order to provide the patent applicant with a monopoly over a given idea.

      • TennTexan

        You’re wrong. The concept of “property” and ownership does not just apply to tangible things that can be taken from the owner. In fact, the idea that patents are property is enshrined in our Constitution.

        And yes, a patent IS a temporary monopoly that the government grants to an inventor in exchange for the inventor disclosing their invention to the public. The idea being that when the patent expires, the public can freely make use of and benefit from the invention.

        • Paladin

          Patents are wholly unlike any other recognized form of property. The fact that they are recognized in the constitution and in law is neither here nor there.

          Property is necessitated by scarcity of resources. If I take from you the resources that you have rightfully obtained I am causing you material harm, because the nature of scarcity means that two people can’t have the same thing. Ideas are not subject to scarcity. Using someone else’s idea does not cause material harm to the person or the idea.

          • TennTexan

            “Using someone else’s idea does not cause material harm to the person or the idea.”

            And you could not be more wrong. If what you say was true, then no plaintiff could ever recover damages for patent infringement…

          • Paladin

            “damages”, ergo, this person made a thing, sold that thing, but we came up with the idea before they did, therefore they harmed us? That’s not material harm, that’s competition. By that definition of damages any competitive enterprise causes material harm.

          • TennTexan

            I’ve done patent litigation for a living for the past 4 years. You are wrong.

          • Paladin

            So you know what the law says, but I’m not taking about whether or not the law says that ideas are property, I’m talking about whether or not they can be

          • TennTexan

            Well conveniently it doesn’t matter whether or not you think ideas can be property, because the law most assuredly says they can.

          • Paladin

            The law also says that people can steal from me if they’re wearing the right uniform. The law is not the be all end all definition of ethics, but merely a politician’s opinion on the subject.

        • frrst245

          yup. WD-40 never filed a patent because they wanted to keep their formula secret.

          • TennTexan

            They’re not the only ones. Sometimes a company will try to rely on trade secret to protect their inventions. It’s a gamble. High profile companies like Dupont, for example, had their unpatented secrets stolen.

      • TennTexan

        It’s not about whether or not you “still have your idea.” A patent is a right to exclude. That right is the “property,” and it can be bought and sold the same as any tangible thing. Whoever owns that right can enforce it.

  • Tyler

    I work in engineering/ product development, and I totally understand the importance on IP. Although I don’t care to comment on this particular case, and if something will indeed come of it, I will say that IP is IP, no matter who owns it (corporations, banks, proprietors, etc). Most small innovators sell their IP/inventions to larger entities to market and sell their innovations. So your argument is how dare these larger entities enforce their right to go after IP violators? That’s, uhhh, odd. This is capitalism.

    • MrEllis

      Technically is mercantile corporatism. Capitalism would allow the cheapest/best trigger to excel in the market.

      • Tyler

        Your probably right. I was referring to capitalism I guess in the effect that it doesn’t matter if big bad corporation X is buying smaller entities IP. It helps the economy and free enterprise regardless, and is helping both the small guy and large guy.

        • MrEllis

          Our current practices and laws concerning copyright usually have a retrograding effect on innovation with better ideas often being bought out to shelf. If anything it allows corporations to slow the advancement so as to reap the maximum profit from older technology with less effort.

          People should have a right to profit from their ideas, but this whole thing where the access to capital allows for greater innovation is rarely true. We have plenty of cutting edge technology that is still capital starved and lots of patents are held just for the purposes of legal action. For every story there is of a little guy making it out big and all of use getting better product as a result there are three where people shelf the patent, troll the patent or use conflicting patents to slow progress and ensure we pay more for less.

          • I think in some industries patents can hurt, the tech industry for example 20 years of patent protection for some very broad patents slows innovations. And I think that the system for challenging patents should be more streamlined.

            But for a physical patent like this, I really don’t have too many issues, because there are other ways of creating triggers for the AR-15. Did the patents on the AR-15’s design hurt firearms innovation? Or how about John Browning’s many patents?

            Now you are absolutely right, our copyright system is a mess. The current length of protection is much too long. If I were in charge I would probably reduce the length to 20 years, or life of the creators which ever is longer.

          • gordon

            Just a little tweak here and a nudge there and you’ll have the economy engineered just right, ehh?

          • tts

            I didn’t get that from his post at all.

            He was talking about making things better not perfect.

            FWIW in general I’d say patents on intangibles (ie. software, copyrights too really but that is a whole other salad to toss) should be very short, maybe 2-5yr tops, while patents on physical products/production should be 10-15yr tops.

            The goal is not to just make sure that the inventor gets their compensation but to also ensure ideas and methods get to enter the public space to encourage innovation too. Too little emphasis is placed on that latter goal and faaar too much is placed on the former IMO.

          • Exactly right. As a friend of mine is fond of saying “God made one perfect man, and he isn’t me.” We can never get perfect, but we can make tweaks to get to a better system.

          • frrst245

            This patent is less than 10 years old, so even by your shortest time-span, all these IP thieves should be stopped.
            As to your 2-5 year span for software, it takes longer than 2 years to develop and patent a piece of code. Why would anyone bother to invest in innovation if they could never make it back?

          • Greg Kelemen

            Like the man said.

      • Kivaari

        It could be cheaper because the new lower cost producer didn’t spend the money and time to develop the idea. If company X spent 3 years and thousands on experiments and patent fees, they would have a good reason to be pizzed off that company Y stole their work and undersells them.

    • Want to know whether someone on the internet is an engineer or not? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you!!! ;-D

      • Blackhawk

        As an engineer, I have to agree with you there…

        • You made my day and it is only…. wait this bar doesnt habe a clock!

          • Blackhawk

            Here’s a clock for you then…

      • flightwatch

        I didn’t see where he stated he was an engineer. He stated that he worked in an engineering/product development department…but whatever I guess.

        • stephen

          Our department hired a guy who worked at an electronics/semi conductor plant. However this guy couldn’t even use a multimeter – then after some checking it turned out this guy was on the packaging team that boxed up parts for shipment.

          Just saying the devil is in the details.

          😉

      • Les Aker

        Tyler didn’t say he was an engineer though.

        However, I concur with his posting. IP is IP even if the original inventor sold the IP to someone that is using it was a investment.

        • I only wanted to add humor to the conversation. If you see my username, automatically begin thinking “this dolt has no clue,” because I usually don’t ☺

      • Treyh007

        Pilots and lawyers are the same way! 👍🏻👍🏻

      • Go Faster

        Because of the new Gender Identity issues I have decided to identify as an engineer and I am also a Doctor.

    • gordon

      IP rights are not essential to capitalism. They are in fact anti-free market and arbitrary.

      • Completely disagree. If I invent something, but lack the ability to mass produce it myself, then anyone can steal my invention and reproduce it themselves. So why would I bother spending anytime to invent anything?

        Patent and copyrights encourage innovation. Sure we need to fix some things with the system, but that doesn’t mean that we should throw out the system.

        • gordon

          Yes, everyone knows this is the justification for IP laws. Property rights are to protect commodities subject to scarcity. There is no scarcity to an idea once it is seen by others. IP laws in a total backward action tries to artificially reintroduce scarcity. That is irrational.

          • It is only irrational only if you view it that way. If you view it from society’s perspective encouraging inventions is rational. Thus giving the inventor the ability to profit from it so that their is encouragement to invent is also rational.

            And this is hardly a new idea, the modern patent system was started during the Renaissance. And there are older examples.

          • Marcus D.

            Inventions do not happen for free. There is the time to invent, including research, design, engineering, and so forth and so on, the prototyping stages, the testing and refinement stages, and then the cost of obtaining patent protection, all before investing substantial capital to start manufacturing manufacturing. Once the inventor has reached that state and has product ready to ship, there is the time and money invested in marketing, establishing a distribution network, etc. Many inventions go through hundreds of thousands, million, and in the cases of drug, billions of investment dollars before the products are ever released to the market. The purpose of he patent system is to allow the inventor to attempt to recoup the investment before anyone can take his ideas and clone them. Thus, the system is entirely rational. Try reading up on Mr. Edison. His success was not as much his inventive talents as his ability to steal others work, a subject on which he was entirely cutthroat.

          • tts

            Its true that patents are really just a artificial form of scarcity, which is normally a bad thing, but they might be the exception that proves the rule. Inventors would frequently get screwed and end up in poverty when they couldn’t recoup the costs from development prior to the existence of patents. To prevent that they’d hide much of their research which would then get lost when they died or moved which actually hindered progress.

            Of course IP law as its practiced today has swung way to far the other way and now protects patent holders, particularly rich ones, a lil’ too much IMO thanks to the efforts of decades of lobbyists and their lawyers. Some sort of reform is needed at this point.

          • TennTexan

            “Of course IP law as its practiced today has swung way to far the other way and now protects patent holders…”

            Actually, the truth is the opposite of that. With the America Invents Act and various federal court rulings (*cough* Alice *cough*), it has become easier than ever for patent defendants to invalidate a patent being asserted against them. The pendulum has swung so far in the anti-patentee direction that even some high profile federal judges have commented that they think things have gone to far.

            If you assert a patent today, it’s virtually certain that the defendant will petition the patent office for some form of post-grant review (usually inter partes review) to try and kill your patent. Statistics are not in the patent owner’s favor, either… there’s a very good chance they will lose at least some of their claims, if not their entire patent. Not to mention the fact that defendants often use an IPR petition as a way to unilaterally derail the patent suit pending in federal court. It’s not uncommon for federal judges, particularly ones with packed dockets, to stay patent cases pending resolution of an IPR. So the patent plaintiff has to wait for their day in court, which may never come.

          • tts

            The Alice ruling had nothing to do with what you’re suggesting. It was a ruling against nonsensical “do it with a computer” patents on ideas that already existed as patents elsewhere or in the commons already but implemented on a computer in a asinine way.

            The AIA was about invalidating frivolous patents that trolls were issuing to extract payments from other companies as well as various dumb filing rules that were being abused by other companies to make an idea so legally encumbered as to put a competitor out of business or to force them to negotiate on their terms.

            Basically all your information is factually wrong and doesn’t even hold up to a casual wiki reading.

            But if you want to ignore the wiki’s and what I’m saying you talk to or read up on what the actual patent lawyers and judges are saying they disagree with your opinion very thoroughly. To the point where some of the lawyers are taking pro bono cases against certain patent holders who are essentially abusing patents to the point of them being de facto extortion.

            There is also the issue of the patent trolls who keep buying up patents and doing nothing but suing people too often with very thin claims but asking for a pay out so they don’t go to court and spend more money to win a claim. The system as it is right now is clearly a joke but getting reform done means getting something through Congress which is almost impossible.

          • TennTexan

            Actually, Alice DID have to do with invalidating patents. Following the Alice decision it is easier than ever to invalidate a patent under 35 USC 101…

            I’ve been doing IP litigation for a living for the past four years. I know what the law says.

          • Dave May

            Sir you are casting pearls before swine. The current situation with patent law makes it hard to defend patents and easier to steal from patent holders. It is just that people like to steal as it is cheaper than hard work

          • TennTexan

            ^^^ This guy gets it. Like I said, it’s never been easier to invalidate a patent. Anyone who thinks the law is too pro-patentee right now isn’t paying attention.

          • Dave May

            I will not/cannot discuss where but one international company I know of is filing patents in a foreign country. It has a research facility there, and chooses to file there because the laws there protect patents far stronger. The theory is that the PCT gives one more leverage even in American courts than our current law. As of this point I would say that is an interesting theory. However, some high priced lawyers came up with it so we will see if it works.

          • Dave May

            Well if you are considering WIKI a reliable and academic sources as you appear to be than you might have a problem.

            Here is your sign…..

          • sbozich

            So if I write a book you should be able to copy my book word-for-word and sell it cheaper?

          • TennTexan

            copyright != patent

          • Cymond

            sbozich was replying to gordon, and gordon was talking about IP, not just patents.

          • TennTexan

            Then why does his post say “in reply to TennTexan?”

          • Cymond
          • sbozich

            So now you’re drawing a distinction between intellectual property? Convenient.

          • TennTexan

            I’m drawing a distinction because THERE IS a distinction. Not the least of which is that patents are specifically provided for in our Constitution, but copyright is the product of a law passed by Congress…

            Copyright and patent are not even close to being the same thing.

          • Glenn Bellamy

            Both copyright and patents are set out in the Constitution. Federal trademark laws come from the interstate commerce clause.

          • TennTexan

            You are correct. My mistake.

          • TennTexan

            You are correct. I was mistaken.

          • sbozich

            So we should encourage people to write books, but not invent “useful” things.
            Got it.

          • TennTexan

            No, I’ve never said that and I have no idea why you think that I did.

            This discussion is about patent rights, and you gave the example of someone copying a book you wrote. That’s not relevant, because copyright and patent are two separate and distinct areas of the law.

      • Freedom?

        Correct.

        Patents that by necessity run out after a period of time as well as copyrights are fundamental, perhaps for a short time.

        I feel as those patents and copyrights can only be justified for a year or two, not to gin the benefits, but to prevent a rush of shoddy merchandise that could be dangerous from flooding the markets.

        And this isn’t about protectionism so much as it is about the common good and preventing people from such shoddy merchandise and many people looking for justice on their own.

        • Dave May

          It takes on average 7-10 years to recover the cost of developing a product and often more than that time. Utility patents in general run for 20 years to allow the IE to be recovered and for profit to be made. A design patent is only protected for 14 years. This appears to be a utility patent not a design patent.

      • Les Aker

        Can’t agree with you on that one, gordon. It’s not -anti-free market at all. Someone that invents something, or purchases the invention from the inventor, should be compensated if someone else wants to use the invention. Period.

        • gordon

          How did you determine this? Experiment? God spoke to you? I grant you that IP laws may have more positive effects than negative ones, depending on the specifics, but not that IP laws are necessary to insure innovation. Humans a remarkably adept at finding ways around problem – in this case how to get paid for ideas. Note that not long ago people thought the mail would not be delivered or trash picked up unless the government did it. The biggest problem with IP laws is that they a created through a political process rather than a scientific one.

          • Les Aker

            “How did you determine this?”

            The answer to your question was included in my original posting. The rest of your nonsensical posting only serves to underscore that answer.

          • gordon

            You say “should”. I say “why?”. Your post in no way explained “why?”. You just present it as a given. It isn’t a given, like a natural law is a given. It is your opinion. An opinion that I and most others do have sympathy for, but an opinion none the less.
            What was nonsensical about my positing that IP laws may not be necessary and that the government delivers laws to benefit the interest with the most influence on it rather than just ones.

          • Les Aker

            Nope. I answered your question in my original posting. But you are apparently unable to deal with the answer rationally. No shock there.

      • Dave May

        SMH…..I guess you think Bernie Sanders is really going to create FREE college and that public education is great. You just made an argument of Marx, but at least he understood it was an argument against capitalism

    • Mystick

      This is NOT capitalism… this is using government rules influenced by industry as a hammer to achieve a monopoly. True free market capitalism, free of government interference and manipulation, would not experience this problem.

      • tts

        Actually patents and their abuse can exist in a “free market” laissez-faire economy too.

        In such a system a patent wouldn’t be created or enforced by the govt. but instead by the corporation or group of corporation’s who would regulate the spread of IP in accordance with contracts among themselves. Those wouldn’t agree to the contracts would be shut out of business.

        There are various Libertarian and AnCap tracts and essays on this all over the internet if you want to read one. Not linking once since my post would end up stuck in moderation but they’re easy to find. Personally I think its a terrible idea since you’d, in effect, end up with lots of corporate patents all competing against each other legally for legitimacy and enforcement.

        • Mystick

          But falling into the realm of “legality” involves government threats of force, so it’s not truly “free” trade.

          • tts

            The “legality” side of a corporate patent would be that its based on a contract in such a system.

            The violation of said contract could indeed be enforced by a state court, though Libertarians and AnCaps tend to prefer a DRO over a state court, but the contract and patents themselves would be between corps or other financial entities only.

            So that there could still be a court to petition and sue through doesn’t mean that trade wouldn’t be “free” even under a Laissez-Faire or Libertopian “free market”.

            Now if you believe any govt. at all existing somehow prevents a “free market” then fine but that means you’re a Anarchist of some sort (there are tons of different Anarchist “flavors”, all are dumb IMO) and don’t know it but if you’re being rational and consistent in your beliefs about it would also believe contracts and even corporations shouldn’t exist.

          • Mystick

            Corporations, as they are now, simply didn’t exist when many of these laws were made. “Corporations” were instruments of the state, such as Port Authorities, Development Commissions, even East India… when it became acceptable for any three schmucks to get together and effective make a “corporeal entity”, many of the laws should have been reviewed and adjusted to accommodate this paradigm shift… but they were not, and we now see where that leads.

          • Dave May

            You might want to review Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819). It is one of the most important cornerstones of corporate law

      • Dave May

        The Congress shall have power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

        The US Constitution disagrees with you

        • Mystick

          ..and that “limited time” is now “in perpetuity”… just look at the present state of copyright laws

    • JSmath

      In this particular case, I absolutely disagree with you. This isn’t about Mossberg acquiring a patent then defending it — They’ve waited 6 YEARS, which has been more than enough time for multiple startups or small companies to develop their entire product lineup around an IP that was not protected by the owning company.

      • frrst245

        If you are going to build your company 100% around a single class of product, you better be darned sure you can legally produce it first.

    • ozzallos .

      Yeah, I’m not seeing the outrage. Sorry, TFB. You’re effectively complaining about somebody who made second hand profit after buying an item at your garage sale. The IP was sold. Money was made. It now has a new owner who has the right, if not obligation to protect their purchase just as much as the first owner would/should have.

  • Brad

    What were the other companies sued, the rest of the 12 noted?

    • I don’t have all the filings yet. Timney was just confirmed as another company named.

    • tazman66gt

      Wonder if Wilson Combat is on the list as well.

  • allannon

    Well, I was thinking about a new shotgun. I’ll be interested to see the details, but I’m thinking Mossberg’s off the list.

    • Zach Chance

      I definitely won’t buy their products, or CMCs ever again. That elftmann trigger is looking much better now

      • allannon

        I won’t quite say that yet, since there may be a perfectly good reason. I don’t have enough details until I see what’s (supposedly) infringing, what prior actions were attempted, etc.

        But yea, it’s not looking good.

    • 870’s back up to snuff these days? ;P

      • allannon

        Not sure. Just looking to replace this POS Winchester. Fortunately, it was actually worth what I paid for it…$5. (Won it in a raffle. :D)

      • LG

        Look at the new Ithaca M37s. Vastly superior fabrication to the Inferior Arms Company’s 870.

    • CS

      Think Italian man, think Italian……

      (beretta, benelli)

  • Zach Chance

    From their website” OUR MISSION IS TO HONOR GOD AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US. WE DO THIS BY APPLYING THE SKILL SETS HE HAS GIVEN EACH ONE OF US. TO BUILD THE BEST TRIGGER POSSIBLE AND TO TAKE CARE OF OUR CUSTOMER AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL IS HOW WE DO IT.”

    So attacking new and established companies in the firearms industry to stifle competition and innovation is best for the customer? That sure is taking the “Moral High road” isn’t it….

    • Martin Grønsdal

      what a joke

      • Martin Grønsdal

        I mean, the mission statement

  • WinstonTheSane

    Pretty much guarantees I will boycott Mossberg. Starve ’em out. I’m sick of this crap everywhere. F-em.

  • SikTwistedFreek

    for the record. it’s “couldn’t care less.”

    • TennTexan

      I could care less what “the record” says… :^P

  • Justin Roney

    I’m sorry, but what Mossberg is doing here isn’t capitalism, it’s using the United States legal system to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace by bankrupting competitors with legal fees.

    Drop in triggers have been in production by many companies for over a decade. If the original patent holders had thought their IP was being infringed, they would have sued. This is a case of patent trolling (which is becoming big, unethical IMHO business) to put several companies and at least hundreds of workers out of work. He who can afford lawyers the longest shouldn’t automatically win in our justice system, otherwise it isn’t justice.

    I won’t buy any Mossberg products in the future, and will encourage others to do the same. What they are doing might be legal, but I sure as hell don’t have to support it.

    • McThag

      The entire point of patents is precisely to create an unfair advantage for the patent holder for a limited period of time to encourage innovation and invention.

      The original impetus was to get inventions recorded and preserved so that they wouldn’t be lost when someone took a secret to their grave.

      A problem lately has been patents being granted on very thin reasoning to differentiate the new from prior art.

      If the patent is valid, the bad guys here are the people who’re making the patented invention without the permission of the patent holder, NOT the patent holder for refusing to grant said permission.

      • Justin Roney

        I understand the reasons behind patents. Explain to me why Mr. McCormick didn’t sue all these other manufacturers for the last nine years at the time they came out with their products. If he spent the time to patent it, he certainly would have had motivation to protect it. Why now, after being purchased by Mossberg?

        • jng1226

          Just replied this to Phil W elsewhere on this page: It takes time for general counsel to retain and consult with patent attorneys to analyze exactly where they stand with respect to their claims and the potential infringement of competitors’ designs. Once they were confident in their analysis and strength of position, they let loose the dogs of the legal profession. The filing is a matter of course, I’ll bet my own money they will settle out of court with licensing agreements with everybody named in the suit. Litigation is too costly for just about anybody. Prices will go up probably 10% at retail to pass the cost onto consumers, and the world, and market for drop-in triggers, will go on.

          Additionally to your question – Mossberg’s management decided that there was potential infringement of their IP by other companies making similar products, and therefore value in this part of their acquisition of CMC. The previous management may have not had the resources nor the inclination to pursue negotiations with potentially infringing competitors. IMHO Mossberg is not trying to bankrupt anyone, this is simply the natural course of patent negotiations to result in a royalty agreement. It’s up to all the other competitors’ counsel to decide if the CMC/Mossberg patent warrants that.

          This is standard practice and happens all day, every day in almost every business segment that has any patents involved, from pharmaceuticals to flashlights.

          • Justin Roney

            I appreciate your response. I just find it hard to believe that the previous patent holder went to all the time and expense to get the patent approved, but then didn’t bother to protect their property for nine years. Could their counsel have thought they didn’t have a good case, and the new Mossberg counsel think differently? Sure, maybe there was new precedent in patent law or something, I get it. But with all the patent trolling in the business headlines lately, it bothers me that instead of going to these companies and offering to strike a deal first, they launch a massive lawsuit. Maybe they did, but I would assume one or two of the companies would have agreed to a deal had that occurred. It just rubs me the wrong way.

          • TennTexan

            Except it’s not that simple… To take a patent lawsuit all the way to trial will cost you at least $2 million. Not everyone who owns a patent has that kind of cash just lying around… Just because you own a patent doesn’t mean you have deep enough pockets to enforce it.

          • Justin Roney

            And again, I’ll say that is a huge problem with our legal system right now; justice shouldn’t depend on how much you can afford, but right now it does.

          • TennTexan

            Well if it’s any consolation to you, the legal pendulum has swung very far towards the patent defendants’ side in recent years. The America Invents Act and several federal court rulings have made it easier than ever for defendants to invalidate patents that are asserted against them.

          • TennTexan

            It’s not necessarily a “problem,” it’s just the nature of the beast. Patent cases are probably the most complex litigation our court system handles. They take a long time to go to trial, and require expensive discovery, as well as expensive expert witnesses on both sides to argue over things like whether the patent is infringed and whether the patent is even valid. It takes a lot of time and money to obtain a patent in the first place, and even more time and money on top of that to enforce it.

          • Justin Roney

            And that makes perfect sense, especially in something far more complicated like software for instance. I meant that in more of a general sense for our entire legal system, not just this case. If average people can’t afford to bring legitimate legal cases to court, that seems to be a fundamental flaw in the system to me. But that’s really a whole other discussion I suppose.

          • jng1226

            Filing a lawsuit, if indeed it was actually filed, and not a complaint – which is the precursor to a lawsuit, could still be part of the common tactics in negotiating royalties. Typically, it is a cease-and-desist order that is sent directly to the company that initiates the communication and opens the dialogue to negotiate. However, Mossberg is very likely using outside patent counsel to pursue this, and they are also likely paying a princely sum for results. Nothing like filing a suit to put people on notice that you mean business.

          • TennTexan

            Not sure what you’re talking about, because patent suits are filed in federal court and the complaint IS the lawsuit–not the “precursor” to it.

    • TennTexan

      “If the original patent holders had thought their IP was being infringed, they would have sued.”

      Patent litigation is extremely expensive. So expensive, in fact, that few patent cases ever make it all the way to trial. More than 95% settle before trial.

      Not everyone who owns a patent has the means to enforce it. That’s why it’s common for patent owners to either sell or license their parents to entities who DO have deep enough pockets to bring lawsuits against potential infringers.

      • tts

        Mossberg is a pretty big company that has a net income in the tens of millions with lots of legal experience so this argument doesn’t really hold water here.

        • TennTexan

          Note the person I was responding to was talking about “the original patent holders.” I.e. not Mossberg…

          • tts

            Fair enough, sorry for missing the context of the conversation.

  • Warthog

    Not much of a brand ive cared for any way so no loss here I already don’t purchase mossberg if it’s a bolt rifle Remington 700 if shotgun pump 12ga. Remington 870. I’ve always found mossberg sub par. And there AR variants are junk. As far as patent im a yes and no on it. I wouldn’t purchase a mossberg/cmc trigger to begin with but if they own the rights the other company’s making a superior drop in owe at least a percentage mossberg going full in after them all sounds like trying to force there product besides how frigging long have those other triggers been on the market? And we’re just now finding mossberg wants to sure.

  • Gregory Markle

    Reading through the patent I think their claim of their “invention” being differentiated from prior art in self contained trigger groups is pretty weak. It’s pretty obvious that it was written entirely to attempt to set their “invention” apart from the HK packs. Basically, the patent assets that the entire trigger housing and grip of the HK is integral to it’s being a trigger pack whereas their “invention” is independent of the firearm housing. I think a decent lawyer could easily display that the patent’s prior art claims are invalid, the problem being that the expense of fighting this in the courts is likely a game that’s weighed in Mossberg’s favor.

    • TennTexan

      The chances are very high that at least one of the companies they’ve sued will petition the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) for an Inter Partes Review and attempt to kill the patent.

      For those who don’t speak the lingo, that basically means petitioning the patent office to review an issued patent in view of prior art that wasn’t previously considered. Statistically speaking, if someone files an IPR there is a very good chance that at least some of the patent claims, if not the whole patent, will be ruled invalid.

      It is extremely common for patent defendants to file IPRs. There’s a $15,000 filing fee, but the thought most defendants have is its cheaper than litigation and there’s a good chance the district court will stay the ligation while the IPR is pending.

      • Glenn Bellamy

        Timney has been engaged in litigation over these patents for a few years now and has filed at least four reexamination in the Patent Office. None have been successful so far.

        • TennTexan

          If they have survived multiple post-grant reviews, then I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that the patents are valid.

    • AHill

      After reading the patent the first thing I thought of is HK’s Stamped gun trigger pack as prior art and that the patent claim seems a little flimsy with that in mind. I think Mossberg is taking a risk that the companies can’t afford to fight back and are hoping to bully the small companies into settlements.

  • jng1226

    Everybody with pitchforks and torches marching on Mossberg needs to calm down. This happens every day, all day in many sectors of commerce. The most overwhelmingly common goal in these situations is to negotiate royalties from all potentially infringing parties on the claimant’s patent. They almost assuredly are not trying to bankrupt any competitor, simply negotiate a reasonable royalty due to the patent owner, Mossberg. Think about it, with brand loyalties especially prevalent in this industry, it is much better for Mossberg to get a piece of everybody’s revenue instead of trying to limit the market to what they can do all on their own. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes, he without sin cast the first stone and all that.

  • John

    Never buy another mossberg, or fireclean products. Nuff said.

  • jng1226

    It depends upon what engineers and attorneys can argue based on the independent claims of the patent and what they analyze as infringing components of each competitors’ design. Short story on how this works is if any of the competitors’ designs shares at least one feature that is enumerated in the independent claims of the CMC/Mossberg patent, then they could be judged as infringing. Each company has to analyze their risk and either re-design their product to avoid each independent claim, or work out a royalty agreement, or respond to the filing that they do not believe their product infringes on the patent. If it is the latter case, they can play their chances that Mossberg is bluffing and won’t take them to court, as that will be expensive for Mossberg as well.

    • Big Daddy

      That’s what I hope happens, they settle and each company pays a bit for each trigger sold, past, present & future. This looks like a major blunder from all these companies.

      Looking at the patent it does look clear that any company selling a drop in trigger for the AR owes them money.

      Unless there was an earlier patent that they refer to and this patent is actually bogus.

      We’ll see, this is very interesting.

  • David Silverstein

    I think it depends on the designs. If the trigger mechanism operates, functions, and has a similar appearance to the patented design, it’s likely patent infringement. If, on the other hand, there is some distinct innovation, mechanism, or integrated feature, it should be treated as a new innovation. The difference has to be more than just price.

    • bull

      then .. every trigger ever designed?
      if you want to keep your trigger simple there is only a few way to do it. the firearms industry havent really had any major innovation the last 50 years or so. just design tweaks.

    • David Silverstein

      If people are paying more for a Black Rain trigger than they are for a Mossberg trigger, there must be a reason. That reason is probably innovation. It COULD be better machining precision, but in all likelihood the specs have been changed to give a crisper, smoother, trigger pull.

  • TennTexan

    A valid patent is nothing more or less than a right to exclude others. It effectively grants a temporary monopoly to the inventor in exchange for the inventor disclosing their invention to the public. A patent is a piece of property the inventor owns, and it can be bought and sold just like any other property. Essentially, whoever owns it has the right to enforce it.

  • me ohmy

    too general a concept..that’s like saying ford can hold out on everyone trying to make a four cylinder engine, since he made them as a production piece first for the model T..
    I will NEVER buy a new mossberg after hearing this…screw them

  • If they patent is over 10 years old they have no legal standing

    • QuadGMoto

      The patent was granted in 2010.

    • TennTexan

      What are you talking about? The life of a patent is 20 years.

  • Tom01

    It is a shame that they have decided to do this. It isn’t good for the industry.

    They should be careful though, if these companies can fight long enough, the patent could be invalidated.

    From a glance it seems to largely hinge on the use of the “container” that holds it all together, making it drop in. Companies like HK have been doing that well before the early 2000s date listed on the patent. Prior art/work if demonstrated would render their patent meaningless.

    If they truly believed that their claim was any good, why only go after smaller companies? Hell a number of manufactures use such designs in their firearms. Could it be because they have a deep enough bench of lawyers of their own to fight back?

  • The advantages the original innovator is able to reap from his intellectual property stands in direct proportion to its monetary value. Disparage its value only to undermine his advantage.

  • TJbrena

    Are third party actions related to IP/copyright having significant negative long-term impact on the holder of the IP/copyright? If no, then let it happen. If yes, then clamp down until the long-term damage is no longer significant. The sticky part is defining what “significant” means.

    I doubt that aftermarket triggers are cutting into Mossberg’s profit margins. Then again, I tend to see similarities between the gaming and gun industries. The reason I have a Ghost Recon patch as my avatar is largely because of how great third-party mods have allowed that 15yo game to remain. Would the AR-15 be as great a platform if it weren’t so modular and friendly to end-user customization?

  • Michael Lawrence

    So, what happens to Mossberg when the people that are buying drop in triggers are no longer able to purchase their favorite trigger? I would imagine that there may be some backlash against Mossberg in the form of lower sales.

  • Philip

    I’d be interested see how this patent compares with HK grip and trigger housing. I’m not good at reading these but it seems pretty similar to that as well? We need someone experienced to chime in.

  • dnoice

    The companies being sued were already violating the patent. Mossberg just decided to point that out to them. 🙂

  • Tim Pearce

    I’m not surprised. Anyone who thinks the CEO of a major gun manufacturer is the same sort of guy you’d meet at the range is a little naive. They exist to make money, not friends.

    • marathag

      See what happened to those Bean Counters who ran Smith and Wesson in 2000 when they thought they could make some more money

  • ToddB

    Seems an overly broad patent. So ANY drop in trigger is covered under this patent no matter how different the internal design? Seems like they would work something out with these other companies vs just trying to put them all out of business to monopolize the market. Because the fear many of us have is once they have the entire market, they could then take the cheap route and our only choice would be their junk.

    • QuadGMoto

      That was my thought, too. If that’s the case, then any existing trigger module would invalidate the patent as prior art.

      Ruger just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 10/22. That has apparently had a trigger module all along. I noticed that the McCormick patent mentioned that this design was for a trigger group that did not include a trigger guard or grip, which the 10/22 module has. But that difference strikes me as an obvious variant of an existing idea, which would make the patent invalid. (The standard for patents is that they must be at least novel and non-obvious.)

    • frrst245

      Actually this is a very narrow patent involving the way the drop in is secured and what it contains. It does not say anything about how it works. I would assume there are other patents involved with how a trigger might function. 1 product could be covered by a mountain of patents.

  • jonjon7465

    BOYCOTT MOSSBERG!!!

  • Nicholas C

    This seems like a marketing disaster. I wonder how the Mossberg execs thought this through. Are they thinking they can kill the drop in trigger market without any backlash from shooters? Do they think the money from the lawsuits will be better than customers boycotting their products? Money and power motivates a lot of the world. I just do not see how this is a good idea monetarily.

    • Military Arms Channel

      I agree. Running around suing people tends to make enemies. Keep in mind big corporations aren’t known for their rational behavior, which is why many times they get their collective man parts stomped into the dirt by smaller companies in the marketplace. Corporations are notorious for stepping on their own junk. Look at the Freedom Group debacle. Through typical corporate stupidity they’ve managed to take a number of successful and loved brands and turn them into hot messes.

  • Bill

    I think you made an excellent point, with no more salt than the average pretzel.

  • Alex Brown

    Given that I wanted to get into 3gun with a 930JMPro, and CMC Triggers have always been attractive, these are two companies it will actually impact me to boycott. Showing displeasure at stifling creativity and hurting the AR community makes the pain worth it. Poor form, Mossberg.

  • Pedro .Persson

    So are they going to sue H&K or several pistol manufacturers? The idea of separating the trigger group from the receiver is a good one, but not exactly groundbreaking, nor new nor unheard of.

  • uisconfruzed

    I’m glad I got rid of my only Mossberg gun, that broke and had to go back to the factory for different 4-5 month warranty repairs 3 times in 3 years.
    i won’t be purchasing another one.

  • I’m all for protecting intellectual works but to go after only smaller businesses is a jerk move.

    I hope Mossberg loses – BTW I will NEVER purchase anything from them because of this.

  • LG

    “By locating the pin receiver in the module housing so as to align with a corresponding pin receptacle of the firearm when the module housing is in the operating position, the trigger group module and the trigger group components housed in the module housing may be readily supported by the OEM pin receptacle. The trigger group module, pre-assembled with one or more trigger group components, may be inserted to the operating position and then held in place using the OEM pin receptacle.”
    The Elfman trigger uses set screws for proper alignment and stabilization. I believe that it could function without the original pins if one had another way of attaching the lower to the upper. On my Elfman triggers, if they are not securely fixed with the supplied set screws the trigger disconnect could release with the bolt slamming forward. I believe, at least for the Elfman trigger, that this is not a patent infringement. This has shades of the old Rollin – White patent disputes benefiting Smith and Wesson in the 1860’s.

    • QuadGMoto

      Here’s where I think the patent’s key weakness is:

      Some prior art original equipment manufacturer (OEM) firearm designs include a detachable housing that houses trigger group components. The housing may be attached to the firearm frame with screws or with pins that extend transversely through the housing and are supported at either end by receptacles or bearing openings in the firearm frame. These prior art OEM trigger group housings attach from the bottom of the firearm and include a trigger guard and surfaces that actually form part of the exterior of the fully assembled firearm. Prior art OEM trigger group housings also house safety components that cooperate with the trigger group components. These structures and surfaces associated with the prior art OEM trigger group housings limit their use to firearms specifically designed for such housings.

      There are two problems here.

      1) Designing a trigger group without external features such as “a trigger guard and surfaces” or “safeties” because that’s what is necessary for the particular host rifle is a drop dead obvious idea. Obvious ideas are not patentable.

      2) This is written to make it sound like the same trigger group design could be used with many different host rifles. But that ignores the obvious fact that everything about the host rifle’s dimensions must be exactly the same for this to be true. This includes bin placement, receiver dimensions (at least as far as affects the trigger group), hammer to bolt geometry, and trigger to trigger group geometry. Outside of a standard design—such as the AR-15 standard—this simply isn’t true.

      I can’t see this patent standing up to a challenge or review.

      • Let’s hope that the Judge whom reviews it isn’t 70 yrs old and knows how manufacturing works.

        • tts

          From what I’ve seen most judges are actually pretty good when it comes to manufacturing patent disputes of some sort.

          Its when it comes to stuff like software that they fall on their faces. Try reading up on the SCO vs IBM Linux case over on Groklaw if you want to waste a year or 2 and maybe a lil’ sanity while you’re at it.

          I knew very little about patent law in general before reading that site years ago, and still don’t know much now, but it is what gradually convinced me that patent law is a mindblowing mess that vastly favors unethical business practices and legal practices over people who are interested in actually doing stuff.

  • Russel aka ‘Rusty’ Shackleford

    H&K has been making drop-in trigger packs for decades. Can you say prior art?

    • TennTexan

      Just because HK trigger packs might predate this patent does not necessarily mean HK trigger packs are invalidating prior art. It all depends on what the patent Mossberg is asserting claims.

  • Cymond

    “IF you are the original innovator, then, okay, you should be able to reap some advantages for a period of time to capitalize on your product. ”

    Selling a patent is one way to capitalize on it. You’re essentially suggesting that inventors must also be manufacturers. Think of how that would have affected JMB and Winchester! Rollin White and S&W!

    • marathag

      Winchester bought patents and designs so no other company could have them.

      Check why Browning got pissed at Winchester, too.

  • The original designer is and did capitalize on their design by selling the right to it. You can transfer IP just like property.
    Now just because you own something doesn’t mean you should be a jerk about it. Licensing agreements can and should be had.

  • Mike Burns

    Quick note from a patent attorney (and my longer post got caught in the spam filter if TFB would like to shake it loose) – it’s what is *claimed* in the patent that counts. What’s described can only be used to interpret the true scope of the claims.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    I’ve seen piles of these drop-in triggers over the past year, anodized differently with different logos CNC’ed into them, but all basically the same, like they’re coming out of Chinese factories. While the locked distance between trigger and hammer sear is an advantage, I haven’t gotten on board with the price compared to offerings from Geissele, on of the benchmarks for premium AR FCG’s. If it was about half the price they are now, I’d have them in all my regular builds for the bang per buck, but I can find similar options for less.

  • Brian Fulmer

    No more Mossberg products for me; I’d suggest Timney has some prior art going on here!

  • Josh Nielsen

    I was interested in a Mossberg JM shotgun for 3gun until this bit of information on the lawsuit. I have been searching for a decently priced and nicely functioning drop in trigger for awhile, but never found one to my liking until today, prior to reading this article. Only to find out the Rise drop in triggers might cease to exist by the time I’ve saved enough money after buying my house to purchase one!

    Poor 308, shes going to be lonely with only a mil spec trigger if thats the case. I see a future of Geiselle prices going even higher then before, rofl.

  • nottooworried

    Mossberg risks having some (or all) of the claims of the asserted ‘385 patent invalidated – then Mossberg ends-up with nothing.
    Also, if it wasn’t for IP (the US patent system, in particular), we most probably wouldn’t be having this dialogue on our computers in the first place.

    • marathag

      If IBM had kept the PC Bios locked down like they wanted, same with AT&T holding onto Unix, yeah, without the growth of Cheap hardware and open software, you would still be using Telnet and Archie to use that Internet, if you were at a University somewhere.

  • Freedom?

    Patents are supposed to run out so that innovation can continue, and the law does agree, the corrupt fascist “government” doesn’t.

    And I do feel so bad that some people have been so brainwashed as to agree with the feds on issues of which they have no business or have corrupted.

  • Freedom?

    I will not be purchasing anything mossberg from now on then.

    Not even a lens cover.

  • L84Cabo

    Author’s logic is a bit flawed. If the originator has the right of exclusivity to reap the advantages of his invention, then surely that must include his ability to sell that right to someone else…Mossberg in this case. CMC didn’t sell this patent for song but rather for a hefty mark up, representing future earnings. Mossberg paid a boatload for this and are duly entitled to recoup this expense through exclusivity.

    Moreover, you want this to be the case. Because otherwise, some inventors may just bow out of the market, taking their invention with them and then NOBODY ever gets to use it. It’s in everyone’s best interest if patents can be sold, while still retaining their exclusivity protections.

  • Richard M

    Didn’t even know CMC had a drop in trigger; since I don’t care for his .45 mags, I don’t even visit his site. Guess I won’t be visiting Mossberg’s site either. Not sure where they were ‘harmed’ over the years since they just bought the company/patent.

  • No problem—

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Why did Mossburger wait so long to file these lawsuits? These companies have been around for quite a while now.

  • Kivaari

    It seems the patent holder-licensee has good reason to want to get the funds they are due. Inventing a product, paying the patent fees, and getting your reward is a good thing. It seems that the companies that are infringing on the patent, should have looked at the patent before they invested in their own product. If it was patent protected, than no one should be surprised when the owner says, “Hey, pay up”.

  • Kivaari

    A friend and I invented a gun product that I could not afford to patent. We sold quite a few until Tapco and Red Star took the design and produced them. Red Star even stole our artwork. That’s the risk we took.

  • RICH

    Let everybody make triggers ! There are so many people buying/building a AR platform weapons right now that there is enough $$$ to be made by all…. unless Mossberg/CMP has something so special or secret that nobody else has any knowledge of that type of product ! ! Maybe, IMHO, Timney should be suing mossberg……. Timney has been making drop in triggers for as long as I can remember…… ! !

  • Rick Radford

    I suppose we should go back about 400 years and find the relatives of the guy who built the first snaphaunce. It had a trigger after all, maybe they should sue for royalties. Remington 700’s have a self contained trigger assembly that is very similar to the CMC triggers. Maybe they should sue. Timney triggers have been around for a generation. How long have they been making drop in triggers for various guns?
    I think one of the points here is this: WHY DID MOSSBERG WAIT so long after purchasing the patent to just now start suing people. Sorry Mossberg, crappy move on your part. You are no longer on my list. Damn shame as I was thinking of buying a couple of 930 Tacticals for under the counter guns. Not now.

  • Nikol

    I’m curious why one of the biggest drop-in manufacturers isn’t named in this – Timney Triggers? Genuine curiosity. If they’re going against some, go against all… Not just smaller companies like Velocity (T Vehr Mfg)…

    • Krummholzt

      Timney was sued by Mossberg on this patent in 2012; they challenged the patent in the USPTO and that case was stayed pending the outcome of the challenge. They were unsuccessful in killing the patent, and that lawsuit is now proceeding.

  • Military Arms Channel

    The thing with patents is this: If you have one and don’t enforce it, it’s worthless.

  • lee1001

    I don’t own a shotgun yet, when i do it won’t be a mossberg, not right

  • Ben Pottinger

    I have to disagree. What happens if the original IP creator wants to sell his IP instead of manufacturing it himself? The new owner doesn’t have the “right” to exercise control of his patent?

    Patents on physical products are mostly sane. What’s really broken is copyright. You shouldn’t be able to copyright something for over 100 years, its insanity.

  • Mike Burns

    Lots of questions in the thread about why e.g. Timney are not mentioned in the suit? Maybe they’re paying royalties already?

  • Mike Burns

    Right. Can we please calm down the speculation and simply have a detailed look at what this patent actually claims?

    1. A trigger group module for a firearm, the firearm including a receiver that defines a trigger group receiving area between a first receiver side wall and a second receiver side wall, the trigger group module including:
    (a) a module housing adapted to be inserted to an operating position in the trigger group receiving area, the module housing having a lower extremity that is located above a lowermost edge of the first receiver side wall and a lowermost edge of the second receiver side wall when the module housing is in the operating position;
    (b) a number of trigger group components mounted within the module housing;
    (c) a first pin receiver positioned in the module housing so as to align with first pin receptacle openings of the firearm when the module housing is in the operating position, the first pin receptacle openings defining pin support surfaces formed in the first receiver side wall and the second receiver side wall; and
    (d) a first module pin mounted in the first pin receiver on which one of the trigger group components is supported in the module housing, the first module pin including an opening that aligns with the first pin receptacle openings of the firearm when the module housing is in the operating position.

    a) means in plain English that the housing is fully contained within the receiver, so not a 10/22-type module that protrudes out the bottom.
    b) is obvious
    c) this is where it starts to get interesting. The “pin receiver” is defining something that aligns with the pin holes in the receiver.
    d) and here’s the money shot – the “module pin” is hollow so as to be able to take the normal receiver pins, and at least one trigger group component is mounted on this hollow pin.

    So, distilled down further, the invention is basically at least one hollow pin in the module which takes the existing receiver pin, and *upon which* a trigger group component is mounted.

    So you can make a modular trigger group none of the trigger group components are mounted on hollow pins which receive the receiver pins without infringing this patent.

    The invention is this precise hollow pin arrangement which receive the receiver pins. And off the top of my head I can’t think of an earlier example of this.

  • Fist_of_Doom

    The article written is about feelings…that’s funny.

  • mazkact

    If one does not have the simple skills required to install a non cartridge type after market trigger one probably should not be poking about on triggers anyway;). I love my Rock River National Match triggers and they do not infringe on any patents.

    • Don

      So you’re saying that people shouldn’t buy a better product because you assume these same people don’t know how to install a stock trigger? You do remember what they say about assumptions don’t you?

  • TennTexan

    Then let the defendants argue that Mossberg’s claims are barred by laches. If the court agrees they waited too long to sue for infringement, the judge will throw the case out.

  • TennTexan

    What are you talking about? Patents DO run out. The standard lifespan is 20 years from the filing date.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I often think patent protection lasts too long, and a shorter period would be sufficient to adequately encourage development without creating a government granted monopoly that harmed consumers for decades. I also think patents are often issued for trivial innovations. Almost all good ideas seem trivial in hindsight, but many patents are obvious in foresight. Many are issued to companies with no intention to produce a product, and in fact no idea how to produce a product. They’re speculating on what it might be possible for others to produce in the next 20 years and getting the federal government to issue them the rights to another person’s future invention. Rather than encouraging invention, that stifles invention by rewarding lawyers instead of engineers.

    Companies typically have patent portfolios for offensive or defensive use. Mossberg seemed to have acquired the modular trigger group patent for defensive use, presumably so they could manufacture firearms with modular trigger groups without worry that they’d be sued. But after many other companies advanced the state of the AR art by making modular trigger groups, suddenly Mossberg seems to be switching to offensive patent use. Did they suddenly see money to be made by suing others in the firearms industry, or did they plan all along to wait for enough others to enter the modular trigger market that they could optimize the money they could get through litigation rather than making money building firearms that customers wanted to buy?

    I’ve always liked Mossberg, but so far, this litigation makes me like them a lot less.

    Disclaimer: I’m an engineer who prefers to compete in the free market instead of playing the patent game. Designing and manufacturing products is fun. Marketing isn’t my bailiwick but selling firearms accessories to firearms enthusiasts is fun. Talking to lawyers and federal patent agents? Ugh. Not fun at all.

  • Treyh007

    This is only business folks……. If u think it’s mean or unfair then you need a lesson in Capitalism. Companies “should” know what they can or can’t call their products!

  • Former Deputy

    While I do understand about protecting your patent whether your company was actually involved in its R&D or it was acquired; I’m not a fan of suing for something as nebulous as a “Drop In Trigger”. Unless we are talking an exact copy (ie: some of the match triggers out there looks supiciously very similar to Geisselle’s), someone using the idea of packaging a trigger system so that you install it as a single unit is questionable to my mind.

    But if Mossberg and the new CMC manufacturer is willing to risk negative PR and possible loss of customers and revenue on this, that’s their call. I was looking at the MVP but I think I’m going to stick to the Ruger Precision Rifle instead. JM2CW.

    ADDED: I find it weird that they waited for quite a few offerings to be on the market before they did this. Could it be they were waiting so they had more suckers… err… competitors to sue so as to increase the possibility of a larger payout?

  • Military Arms Channel

    That may very well be, that is for the courts to decide. Regardless, a simple patent search would have revealed to all companies involved that a patent did exist before releasing their product to the market. I would bet my next paycheck each of them knew of the patent and elected to ignore it. They rolled the dice. Now they’re having to deal with that decision. Perhaps they wanted this to happen so they could challenge the patent, who knows. Irregardless, patents exist for a reason and we can’t arbitrarily decide which ones we’ll honor and which ones we won’t. If you have a grievance regarding a patent and its validity, take it to court.

  • TennTexan

    So Mossberg should simply let everyone infringe their patents without doing anything about it?

  • TennTexan

    The America Invents Act and several recent court decisions have made it easier than ever to invalidate a patent. If it’s true that Mossberg is asserting a bad patent that should have never issued, then chances are high that it will be invalidated. MAC below speaks of “rolling the dice,” and that analogy is true for patent plaintiffs as well. Any time you assert your patent in court, you run the risk of losing some or all of your claims.

  • Anonymous

    From what I hear CMC IS Chip McKormick. So the owners of CMC sold the patent (and likely had a free use agreement,) and now they are providing statements regarding even playing fields and righteousness? It may be possible that CMC is looking for an UNEVEN playing field.

  • kyew

    The only thing I have a problem with is the author’s use of “it’s” in the possessive. “It’s” is a contraction. “Its” is the possessive.

    As for the subject of the article, businesses are in it for profit. If one business is making a profit that another business could have made, they’re obviously going to raise Cain. That’s the nature of businesses that have outgrown their fuzzy bunny slippers. Just grab some popcorn and watch the stupidity unravel.

  • frrst245

    I haven’t read this particular patent to judge its merits, but to say companies should not be able to buy a patent is the same as saying an individual can not sell his ideas to a company. That is pure stupidity. Mossberg and everyone else has the right to protect their IP whether they gained it from an employee’s labors, through purchasing the rights from an independent inventor or another business entity. Don’t throw a fit because your favorite “cheater” is being called to account. Getting a patent isn’t easy and it involves a bunch of lawyer work. You would have most of them become virtually worthless.

  • Eric X Ericx

    Is there anyone NOT suing or being sued in the gun industry?
    This is getting real stupid!

  • MegaGlide

    Mossberg owns the patent. The other producing companies need to pay Mossberg royalties on it. Simple business, whether it’s guns or cars or…

  • Ryan

    Want to put a stop to this sort of pirate coporate behavior? Contact your state and federal lawmakers and ask for a bill that says the originator of a patent is entitled to the licensing benefits of said patent but that any company who acquires a patent through acquisition to be limited in its patent enforcement capabilities for a fixed period of time. I believe in capitalism as very much so when it comes to intellectual property. However the rights to intellectual property, as they belong to the intellect that created them should paramount.

    How they can be profiteered by mega corporations however, deserves far less protection. They do not create. Some even purchase innovations to prohibit their public release to prevent their use by the public, usually because they own a competing product. The sheer volume of amazing things that we, the consumers, could be purchasing compared to what is available would likely stagger us all. In many cases we should be very angry.

    How many people in the general population know that approximately 90% of Solar and almost 95% of battery, and electric power storage in general, patents are owned in whole or in part by Oil companies? Can we say…conflict of interest. Why do you think it really is that we don’t have AA battery replacements in the form of super capacitors that have 100x (or much, much) the energy storage capacity?

    Intellectual property is important, but innovation propels all of us foward only if it sees the light of day.

  • mossbergman

    some one has to own the rights it might as well be a gun company . the rest have to [pay for the rights

  • Dave May

    You see I am too much of a capitalist to disagree with Mossberg on this one. The original patent holder choose to sell the patent to Mossberg or someone else. There are a lot of reason for a patent holder to do so.

    1. They cannot afford to enforce the patent

    2. They need the money

    3. They lack the funds to manufacutre the product

    4. They want to….for whatever reason

    The patent only has value if it is enforced and they can be expensive to enforce. So a lot of patent holders sell their patents for this reason. The author is making the same argument that Bernie Sanders makes in that intellectual properties should be owned by society and that capitalism and free enterprise is bad. If an inventor cannot sell his or her patent they might not be able to afford to even make the invention.

    Let us say you invented a way of distributing power without wires safely through a building or power grid. This idea would save billions and is worth millions. However, you have no interest in manufacturing it as you have another idea that is even better. However, you need capital to invest in this new idea. Should you not be free to sell your patent to raise capital for the next project or idea? You own it should be able to sell it, and the new owned should be able to enforce it. If they cannot the patent has no value.

    I cannot believe this author is making the same arguments as Stalin, Mao, and Marx. However, I am more surprised so many agree with him.

  • Mack C

    I have gotten to know the guys at MechArmor from a vendors perspective, and this industry would be hard pressed to find two more outstanding guys/Vets. I just saw that now they have been pulled into this witch hunt.

    This entire suit by Mossberg is flat out arbitrary BS! For one, all the Mfg and retail sales companies i have seen listed so far are small to medium size vendors who most likely do not have the funds to fight the likes of $&%#berg! Although I am not going to aid those scum and their lawyer scum by listing all of the LARGE, well-funded companies that have been selling these same products for more years than I can count; but that list is long, and they are NOT on it!

    Mossberg cannot just sue the little guys and leave the big fish out of their scum bucket action because they know they will get their useless butts kicked in court. You sue EVERYONE or NO ONE! That company should be exiled for this stupid and selfish move.

    Here is a question: Since Mossberg waited so many yrs to feel slighted, did they send out an industry wide NOTICE proving their Patent claim and putting everyone selling or making them on notice prior to just arbitrarily choosing a list of small companies to stick it to? Because at the very least, that would have given certain companies who have been struggling to make a buck, the time to quit selling the claimed product, and not be rolled up in this BS. I for one have been deep in this industry for many yrs and I never once heard about any single company or person having a complete patent for this style of drop in trigger for the AR. And obviously the huge amount of other gun mfg and sales companies out there making and or selling these drop in triggers did not hear of that either.

    I for one, and every single person I know or will ever come to know from this point on, will NOT be buying anything from Mossberg, or any other company associated with them, ever again. How’s that Mossberg! You gain some penny’s from sticking it to the little guys, rack up massive lawyer bills and possibly make a little coin on royalties until one of us bright lights figures out a new way to add a drop in trigger to the AR platform; BUT after this ordeal YOUR SALES LOST for the destruction of your already lacking reputation should far out weight any gain.

    What really gets me is that MechArmor began many yrs ago, and as I heard it, at the direct request of the US Army, were tasked to designed and produced a far batter top gunner turret system for our soldiers driving hummers. What has Mossberg done to protect our soldiers?

    Mossberg should take heed and a clue from the latest Target store action. So far Target has lost like 6 Billion dollars and their stock is going down after pissing off just about everyone with a brain! Imagine how it will be for the stockholders and bean counters over there at Mossberg when this same thing happens to them after crapping in the very small fresh water hole, which is this small gun industry.

    My lord who is running that place these days? Someone needs to be canned and quick.