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Posted: 1/20/2006 2:06:45 AM EDT
SteyrAUG's "Shrike" thread got me to wondering. Any patent protection that the "Shrike" might have is about to run out -- U.S. patent 4,942,802 expires on September 24, 2007 (assuming they paid the fees for the full twenty years of protection). Glock's original design protections expired several years ago ("coincidentally" right around when they suddenly started producing the integral rail mount, which they also patented IIRC). Calico's protection on their helical magazines is about to run out, too.

Olympic Arms got a patent on their OA93, although IMHO it is so weak that anyone could work around it without much difficulty (doctrine of equivalence or no).

What other mechanisms and considerations are there in the gun industry to prevent, e.g., S&W from duplicating, e.g., the Glock (like that would ever happen! )? Or is it a free-for-all, with anyone allowed to duplicate any design once the patents run out?
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 2:24:15 AM EDT
Another alternative would be to protect your production process as a trade secret, or to monopolize any unique part of the assembly process.

An old business school case for this involves the initial roll out of soft soap. The manufacturer could not stop his competition from going to market with liquid soap, but they thought...

Its not the soap, its the delivery system... Then they went and bought up a 2 year supply of the pumps that deliver the soft soap into your hand, and thus were able to secure an initial competitive advantage in the market....
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 2:33:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/20/2006 2:34:21 AM EDT by STG77]
$10 says Shrike clones are on the market and actually available to purchase by 2008.
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 2:36:33 AM EDT
"Trade secret" isn't possible unless, say, you were using some new supersecret polymer that was somehow required to produce a unique aspect of the firearm. Anyone can take a pair of calipers to the gun parts and measure every significant aspect of them for duplication.

Same goes for any form of monopolization (with one exception -- a patent is just a legal monopoly, after all); you can't buy every barrel blank on the planet, nor every injection-mold maker, nor every CNC milling machine. There just isn't anything about a firearm that cannot be readily duplicated, as far as I can tell.
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 4:25:43 PM EDT
By the way, in a similar vein, someone else mentioned a really cool "folding SMG" in another thread the other day.

Its US patent number is 4625621 IMHO the best way to look it up (so you can see all the drawings, etc.) is via www.pat2pdf.org/ (a free service).
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 4:56:04 PM EDT

Design protection for firearms -- what else besides patents works?


Don't steal our shit. We've got the resources to have you killed in more ways than you can imagine. And don't think we won't.



Oh wait, that's Microsoft.
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 5:09:50 PM EDT
A Patent is only as strong as the Bank Account behind it.
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