Breaking News: Mossberg Lawsuit Continues to be in Flux, Patent Office Rejects Claims of The 385 Patent

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In the continuing news of the Mossberg lawsuit there were several developments today which could have serious affects on Mossbergs suit. First of all the pending cases have all been reassigned to one judge. Some have the opinion that there is strength in numbers meaning this move could benefit the defendants in the case.

Date Filed # Docket Text
06/09/2016 10 ORDER OF TRANSFER. Case reassigned to Judge Victor A. Bolden for all further proceedings
SO ORDERED by Chief Judge Janet C. Hall on 6/9/16.(Walker, J.) (Entered: 06/09/2016)

The above is a brief copy of the order placing all thirteen cases under Judge Victor A Bolden.

Also, and more importantly, the Patent Office, in the merged reexamination proceedings, has issued a non-final Office Action rejecting all the claims of the ‘385 patent.

The Patent Office found the ‘385 patent to be “obvious” relative to a number of “prior art” references, including: Jewell’s U.S. Patent No. 4,671,005; Bielfeldt’s U.S. Patent No. 3,707,796; Biller’s U.S. Patent No. 5,904,132; Walker’s U.S. Patent No. 2,514,981; AR-15 Schematics; Benelli Montefeltro Super 90 (American Rifleman Publication); Benelli Montefeltro 20 – Montefeltro 12 (Benelli Owner’s Manual – Jan 2002); and Tollinger’s U.S. Patent No. 4,103,586. (See enclosed at pp. 3-28.)

So bottom line is the ‘385 patent is in a whole lot of flux: if Mossberg amends the ‘385 patent claims, and any of them survive the reexamination, any accused infringers will have “intervening rights,” under 35 USC § 252, which could mitigate damages/liability.

Anyway, this new development further supports the stay in the Mossberg v Timney case, as well as staying the new 13 cases.I do have the patent office document which I decided not to post here since it totals 34 pages. If requested I’ll be glad to email it to you.



Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • Its interesting that they waited so long to try to enforce their patent claims. I wonder if they suspected the patent would be found invalid so they did not try to enforce them until there was a chance at a large pay off if the claims were upheld, essentially rolling the dice on a lawsuit to enforce the claims when a win would be enough to justify an expensive legal battle.

    • Ambassador Vader

      They’re called patent trolls and they do that all the time. They don’t have the money or skill necessary to manufacture or produce something so they allow other to do just that in the hopes that it becomes successful then they wait for the offending parties to make enough assets, income, or equity that they can legally go after. They are the professional version of the neighbor that knows his neighbor is building his fence on their property, and waits for it to be completed just so they can take them to court and say he owes me compensation as well as has to take the fence down.

      • QuadGMoto

        The info in this article confirms my my opinion of the patent from the first time I looked at it. I think Mossberg deserves to lose this one. However…

        They don’t have the money or skill necessary to manufacture or produce something…

        I have to say that this definitely does not apply to Mossberg.

        • Blake

          I agree, but that might even make it worse depending on which way you look at it. They are completely capable of making drop-in AR triggers, but they don’t. Not a single one. And now they’ve waited for a saturated market to pull this crap. So disappointing of a (previously) respected company like Mossberg.

        • disqus_sgMcKYCZZ3

          Mossberg basically did just lose this one.

        • Ilike_waffles

          I agree with the above poster about patent trolls. While mossberg certainly has the money and skill to produce this product, look at how the AR drop-in trigger industry has grown in the last few years. The companies specified in the lawsuit certainly are making a name for themselves and growing. Instead of mossberg trying to get a piece of any particular company’s profits they are going after the whole industry, at least the big players in the drop-in industry.

  • LG

    It may be that, before the patent was invalidated, the suits were an attempt to recoup the purchase price of the patent. If the smaller players would have panicked and signed contracts for “royalties” to Mossberg then some funds could have been salvaged. It may have all been a big bluff to see who pays up without fighting or questioning.

  • Jeff Smith

    This is me every time I see something about this lawsuit.

    • disqus_sgMcKYCZZ3

      The basic version of it is this. A reexamination is when the patent office takes a 2nd look at a patent when they find issues. Here, looks like someone submitted patents that came before the mossberg patent. The patent office looks like they will be rejecting the patent via reexam, and it will be null and void.

  • Gregory Markle

    The best way to provide documents online is to upload them to Scribd and then embed the document so people can read/download it as they choose. Much easier than fielding multiple e-mail requests, unless you’re into that kind of thing!

    • I’ve only gotten two request so it’s not a big deal. Most of the time maybe 5 or 6 will take the time to read that many pages.
      That’s a good idea among other ways to post it off site.

      • Gregory Markle

        Like most such documents I wouldn’t mind poking through it, but not enough to bother somebody with an e-mail about it.

        • Gotcha I’ll start posting to you can take a look at your leisure. If the email on file is correct you should be getting a copy of the document anytime now.

  • tazman66gt

    So, does this mean, if the patent is found to be null and void that companies like Wilson Combat that have been paying royalties could then sue Mossberg to get those monies back? If they are paying money on something that is “obvious relative to a number *prior art* refrences” and therefore unable to be patented isn’t that considered fraud? Just thinking out loud.

    • Man that’s one only a court could figure out. You just never know. Interesting idea though.

    • Cyclone

      Essentially by issuing the patent to Mossberg, the USPTO stated that their invention was worthy of patent protection, and patents are afforded a legal presumption of validity when they are issued. Therefore, a lawsuit alleging that Mossberg knew that the patent was invalid would be very difficult to win, aside from very specific facts and/or contractual clauses between Mossberg and its licensees.

    • dualstrike00

      It really depends on how long Mossberg tries to drag this out for. I’m not sure if the other companies can produce triggers well this is all going on. If you think of it like this Mossberg is spending $1 well everyone else is spending/losing $10. Which hurt the other guy more since alot of these guys main products are triggers. May someone can tell me if I’m right or not.

      • tazman66gt

        If it were my dog in the fight I would wait patiently, building triggers under the royalties clause, then after the patent was thrown out explore my legalities. I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on tv. It just seems a rather sticky mess of suing people for patent violation then low and behold the patent is unenforceable and having other companies paying you for the right to use said patent that is found to be null and void. Seems as though they are doubly screwed.

        • dualstrike00

          I don’t think waiting would be a good ideal at the start of another gun buying spree.

          • tazman66gt

            You do realize these comments were made well before the Orlando terror attack and the subsequent blame on the gun by the liberal media?

  • stephen

    So does this affect my sight alignment and sight picture or not?

    😉

  • me ohmy

    good… this whole patent crap was an obvious attempt to nail other gun makers….
    MOSSBERG needs to get it’s crap pushed for trying this.

  • jamezb

    It really irks me when members of an already under-fire firearms community attempt to “eat their own” in the legal arena. Mossberg is not the company you think of when you want a drop-in trigger… Historically, they are the company you think of if you can’t afford what you really wanted… – and that’s about it.
    “I wanted a (Colt/Ruger/Remington/Smith and Wesson/Savage/Winchester/ etc.) but all I could afford was a Mossberg.”
    This lawsuit is clearly about profits, not principles.. If Mossberg is seriously so worried about profits that they are trying to corner the drop-in trigger market…which I can’t imagine being a huge slice of the firearms industry “pie” to begin with… perhaps they need to thin down that 86 page catalog a bit, and jack up profits the old fashioned way…trimming redundancy, striking less popular models and models that do not fit the old “affordable and reliable” tagline from the lineup, and redoubling efforts on the affordable and reliable guns that made them a major player in the first place.
    There was nothing wrong with being “the working man’s gun”.. There’s nothing wrong with offering a ton of accessories…in fact it’s great… But they have some really questionable products in the 2016 catalog. For example.. If I say “over and under skeet and trap guns” do you automatically think “Mossberg Silver Reserve II !”…no? Huh…me either. If I mention their Blaze 47 .22 or their .22 715 series (the plastic .22 AR and AK monstrosities) what comes to mind… reviews ranging from “meh” to “gag”..? If you are in the market for a lever action, ..do you even remember Mossberg MAKES them? .. Does every company have to offer an AR now? – There’s only a hundred or so manufacturers making them, and Mossberg is not my first third, seventh, or twenty fifth choice… Ruger has one base model .22 autoloader the variants of which have served them well for half a century. Mossberg in actuality has two, which have a serious Walter Mitty thing going on with them, making the actual line look more like they have a half-dozen… Sure, Ruger 10/22’s play dress up too, but they do it in the aftermarket where doing so doesn’t drive up the base rifle cost.
    I could go on, but instead I’m just going to breathe in…and out…in…and out… ..
    I really like Mossberg shotguns. The 500 and 590 have earned their place in history as two of the greats. Mossberg bolt action center fires rifles are often underappreciated, but nonetheless viable choices….
    – But Mossberg Trigger Groups might as well be Bob Nobody’s Trigger Groups , and this whole lawsuit leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. A major player in the industry attempting to bring harm to it’s fellows as the possibility of the most anti-gun president EVER looms on the horizon just “Isn’t Cool” – Animosity and division within the industry is the LAST thing we need right now, and if that’s what Mossberg wants to bring to the table… If that’s what they feel they have to do to make a buck…
    then I can no longer justify spending my money with them at this time.

    • dualstrike00

      I think Colt and Mossberg have been about the same in the past 10+ years. Nothing really note worthy if you don’t count remakes of revolves and 1911s.

    • Cymond

      “If you are in the market for a lever action, ..do you even remember Mossberg MAKES them? ”

      Oh God, I CAN’T FORGET!

    • I actually prefer the Mossberg 500 family more than the Remington 870, mostly because the control layout is better. Sure, the Remington has a smoother action, but since I’m neither a hunter nor a skeet shooter, manipulating the controls so it goes bang when I want it to is more important.

  • Dragonheart

    I said Mossberg would regret this move as there patient is not going to hold up and they have most likely opened a can of worms for themselves. Their patent wasn’t properly researched to begin with and that was Mossberg’s responsibility.

    • LetsTryLibertyAgain

      Mossberg purchased this bogus patent from Chip McCormick.

  • Mack C

    Here is some BS for you all. Spoke with someone inside MechArmor about a week ago and it turns out that Mossberg and scum lawyers worked in “Bad faith” against MA in the filing of their suit against MA. Turns out that Mossberg’s claims were denied by the Patent office about 4 days prior to Mossbergs legal council filing their suit against MA. Evidently filing a law suit while knowing full well you have no legal claim at that time is NOT LEGAL! And it is fully actionable.

    Mech is full of Rangers among others; and from what I know of all Rangers, if you are their enemy, do not allow them to see you before you see them. Too late!

    Just goes to show everyone exactly WHO Mossberg really is, and of course their choice of legal council is reflecting their lack of character.

    In my personal opinion, if Mossberg and anyone else connected to Mossberg knows what’s good for them and the continuance of any meaningful sales numbers going forward, they will drop this crap now.

    • survivor50

      Mossberg shoulda’ stuck to making “ok” shotguns…
      🙂

  • Andrew Foss

    “Effects”, not “Affects” (I mean, there are a few consumers displaying a cranky Affect…)

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    The typical firearms enthusiast would have known this patent application was invalidated by prior art, but it was approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Do they hire chimps as patent examiners? The USPTO is making itself irrelevant through incompetence, causing more problems than it prevents, but like most government entities they’re failing upward.

    .

  • Robert Stakes

    Can you forward the decision by Patent Office? Thank you.