Breaking: Smith & Wesson Going After Apex, et al?

Tom R
by Tom R

Any of you that run an M&P may have an opinion about the stock trigger, and may have considered an upgrade via Apex (we posted in August about a replacement trigger; and other parts for that matter). Well, it seems Smith & Wesson is not terribly pleased about [EDIT: the M&P Dream Gun] and has sent their legal team after Apex, Brownells, DP Custom Works, Blowndeadline Custom, and SSVi.

I know a number of people that only bought an M&P because of Apex’s trigger for it (that was a deciding factor).

I can marginally understand them going after the unauthorized use of the trademark, but to claim unlawful modification? Does that mean when you buy from Smith & Wesson you are leasing the gun? I understand (as should everyone) that you are null and voiding the warranty if you have custom work done, but that should not preclude you from doing whatever the hell you want to do to your own gun.

Readers, what are your thoughts? Is this an over reaction? Is this okay for Smith & Wesson to do? What does this mean for other companies that do custom work? My personal feeling is that once you buy it, you can do whatever you want as long as you are not violating NFA and are willing to take full responsibility for those mods.

The post was made by SSVi on instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/p/_miiI5F8ZN/

[UPDATE] One commenter posted that it may be related to the Dream M&P Build showing at SHOT. Which does seem more plausible than a blanket C&D to several companies. It would clarify to see the full letter–still looking. Thanks to Barry for the insight.

[UPDATE 2]: Ballistic Radio has published the whole letter on their Fabebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ballisticradio/photos/pcb.738309049633261/738308282966671/?type=3 So, yes the C&D is initially focused on the M&P Dream Gun concept but it also has some ambiguity about promoting gun smithing skills. And Demand #2 requests a cease of sale of any modified S&W that bears their logo/trademark. Lawyers in the group, please chime in–thoughts?

[UPDATE 3]: We were sent the full copy of the letter:

Tom R
Tom R

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 teaches wilderness medicine and runs an on-demand medical staffing business. 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.You can reach him at tom.r AT thefirearmblog.com or at https://thomasrader.com

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  • LetsTryLibertyAgain LetsTryLibertyAgain on Dec 27, 2015

    Reading between the lines, this looks like a lawsuit alleging Definition Of Character (the tongue in cheek version of defamation of character). S&W sees the M&P Dream Gun as essentially pointing out the deficiencies in the standard M&P. The character of the M&P is defamed, not through false allegations, but in an honest market description of the M&P. S&W can't sue people for stating the obvious, so they attack them based on a frivolous trademark infringement. I don't doubt that S&W is on solid legal ground, but I still think it's a crummy thing to do. I don't see that any offense was intended. Brownell's and the after market manufacturers' intent seems to be more of a "making a good gun better" sort of promotion, and S&W thanks them for the cross branding promotion with a lawsuit.

    There are enough legal problems being created to weaken the firearms industry without S&W's little internecine legal battle.

    Every time I'd mention S&W jumping in bed with Bill Clinton to promote gun control (magazine limits in the runup to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban) in the hope of getting a lucrative military contract that never materialized, S&W fanboys are quick to tell me that the company is under new ownership and we should forgive and forget, and the new company is very pro-gun. Riiiiight. That's why they're suing firearms accessories companies, which sounds more like a tactic of Bloomberg, Brady, A Million Moms, etc.

    I prefer Glock, where their legal battles are all internal sordid family issues instead of attacking people who offer improvements and accessories for their products.

  • BeenThereDoneThat BeenThereDoneThat on Dec 27, 2015

    After S&W have over the past years, shot themselves in the foot so many times with this and other crappy guns, they now have to aim for the groin in order to get any sensation. So they are officially nuts about to be nutless. The buying public doesn't tolerrate this crap, especially when there are better alternatives!

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