Mossberg Files Lawsuit against Growing Number of Trigger Companies

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mossberg suit cmc trigger lawsuit

Patented by CMC and owned by Mossberg. (Photo: CMC Triggers)

In a move that’s caught a lot of people by surprise, Mossberg is filing suit against a series of drop-in trigger manufacturers. Mossberg holds the patent to the concept of the trigger pack, which they acquired from CMC triggers.

So far Mossberg has listed 12 companies in their lawsuit including Black Rain Ordnance, Elftmann Gun Products, Franklin Armory, the Patriot Ordnance Factory and Rise Armament. All Outdoors Tech has a complete list of companies named in the suit as of now.

Other companies may be added to the lawsuit as the drop-in trigger group is a popular type of aftermarket upgrade for many firearms. This kind of aftermarket trigger is very common for ARs, the most popular firearm in America today. If successful, Mossberg may seek damages, royalties, or force competitors to stop manufacturing drop-in trigger systems altogether.

mossberg suit cmc trigger lawsuit

From the original patent. (Photo: Google/USPTO)

Mossberg’s decision to sue has already caused a stir in the gun community. Some shooters agree that Mossberg has the right to protect their intellectual property as any other company does. Others see this as a strong-arm tactic to force competition out of the market.

There are also some people who are asking whether or not the patent is valid in the first place. The patent, available here, describes “[A] module housing [that] includes at least one pin receiver defined by two openings formed in the module housing, one on each lateral side of the housing…so as to align with a pin receptacle of the firearm when the module housing is in the operating position.”

Critics of the suit claim that the patent is overly broad and describes a trigger system that pre-dates the patent. Similar trigger designs have been in use for decades such as with Heckler & Koch firearms. Other trigger pack systems have been around for a while, and today, even some handgun designs use a single-piece sub-frame that contains the trigger components of the firearm.

See Also: FireCLEAN Files Lawsuit against Bloggers

CMC Triggers issued this statement to the Firearm Blog in the wake of the lawsuit’s announcement. “CMC Triggers is a Christian company, privately held and not owned by O.F. Mossberg or anyone else. We pay our bills when they’re due including our royalty responsibility to O.F. Mossberg.

“Fair competition in the market place (sic) is only fair if the playing field is level. We proudly stand with them in their pursuit of what is right in regard to all the companies that infringe on their patent.”

If Mossberg is successful in this pursuit, many companies may be affected depending on how Mossberg chooses to go forward.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • DaveGinOly May 29, 2016, 1:06 am

    “Mossberg holds the patent to the concept of the trigger pack…”
    You can’t patent a “concept.” You can only patent mechanisms. Anyone can make a “trigger pack,” but must avoid infringing upon the patents of others concerning how the mechanisms within the trigger pack operate.
    Campagnolo and Shimano both came up with the “concept” of putting bicycle shifters into brake hoods at about the same time. But they built different mechanisms to put their concepts into effect, and therefore didn’t infringe upon each other’s patents (for the mechanisms, not the idea). In a recent article about SRAM’s entry into the bicycle “gruppo” business, a spokesperson commented on how difficult it was to design a new (and what they thing is superior) brake hood shift mechanism that didn’t infringe upon existing patents. Those patents protect the shifter mechanisms, not the concept of brake hood shifters.

  • Jon May 28, 2016, 11:43 am

    An existing technology or idea in use cannot be patented. It is very easy to disprove their patent by simply presenting in court
    samples of trigger packs that were made and marked before they applied for a patent.
    “Prior art, in most systems of patent law, is constituted by all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent’s claims of originality. If an invention has been described in the prior art, a patent on that invention is not valid.”

    • Shrapnel May 28, 2016, 2:14 pm

      Mossberg has a legal right to protect there patent, but in the beginning I didn’t understand why they waited several years before a dozen companies committed patent infringements. Most patent holders react immediately before losing sales. 10,000s of aftermarket AR trigger packs have been sold since Mossberg bought Chip McCormick (CMC) Trigger Patent.

      Two possible scenarios; Mossberg was wasn’t aware of the patent infringements which is doubtful or they waited until enough evidence was present to balance legal efforts, but under USPTO Federal Laws patent holders have the right to sew 5x amount of financial damages and legal fees acquired. Patent Attorneys provide legal services under pro-bono clause.

      Another issue, if patent holders discover patent infringements they have to pay for patent attorney services to defend there patent rights. A patent law firm will send legal notice to each patent infringes which could cost up to $1100 per legal notice in most cases.

      Patent infringements is common place in the firearms market and especially in the competitive shooting world.

      Perfect example: Dr. Dater owner of Gemtech Suppressors which is considered the most patent infringed company in the U.S. firearm industry.

      Dr. Dater was asked by editor Dan Shea of Small Arms Review why he didn’t go after patent infringes. Dr. Dater simply replied “In the beginning I did, but I spent all my time in the courtroom and not present in my lab or machine shop engineering new suppressor designs. Either way it was a losing battle as a end result to chase every single patent infringer”.

      So with this in mind I’m thinking Mossberg has taken a different legal approach bagging up all patent infringements from the last several years into one court case similar to a class action law suit case.

      That’s smart and good for Mossberg because lets face the truth, the other companies coping CMC Trigger Housing design knew beyond doubt they didn’t have patent rights to do so.

      If some of the companies blindly go into producing products without a patent search before commitment they have a lot to learn in the manufacturing business world.

      As a patent holder myself I’ve spent thousands protecting my patent from local scumbag thieves and I fully support Mossberg’s efforts to protect there investment because I personally spent over $18,000 in legal fees, USPTO filing fees, and that’s not including materials, time, research and development costs.

      Members posting against Mossberg are foolish and do not understand USPTO Federal Laws.

      A thief is a thief regardless street level criminal, internet troll, competitive shooter, Range Officer, Match Director, gun dealer, or machine shop owner with a FFL/SoT/manufacturing license issued by BATFE.

  • Chris May 28, 2016, 4:34 am

    Mossberg will loose this battle. As they deserve to. I am wary of them ever since they decided to venture into “smart guns”. The only “smart” gun I want is one with a criminal auto targeting app anything else is useless.

  • fritz bousigschouer May 28, 2016, 2:49 am

    maybe its time for boycott mossberg so they get sense back into theyr christian heads.

    what they have is not a valid patent for a valid invention, trigger packs where used long time prior and if this move is working out for mossberg it will cost us customers all more money for a relative simple product so fare.

  • bill May 27, 2016, 7:34 pm

    That Tactical 30/30 and chainsaw grip shotgun. Just those two sick abortions right there should be bad enough to put Mossberg under. Never mind their patent that came long after products meeting the description were already on the market. Good thing I don’t plan on buying any junk they make ever. Yuk yuk yukket yuk.

  • Frank Engle May 27, 2016, 1:36 pm

    As the holder of 5 US Patents, and having had to sue and been a defendant in infringement suits; I believe that the courts will make a fair decision. (Besides, I already have at least 3 units and another one on the way.)
    If Mossberg is smart, they will ask the courts to require the others to pay a licence fee and be done with it. (Isn’t Mossberg now a part of George Soros’s holdings? No wonder!)

  • Johnny May 27, 2016, 11:39 am

    What an absolutely ridiculous reaching move by Mossberg. What the heck, are you from California or something? This lawsuit sounds pretty darn Libby to me! They want to sue these companies for (let’s call it what it is) offering different, and BETTER triggers for the modern sporting rifle? So, does that mean Eugene Stoner and the company he was/is affiliated with should sue Mossberg since Mr. Stoner developed an AR platform LONG before Mossberg ever even considered it? Of course not, that would be ridiculous right? Are they also gonna sue KelTec for coming out with the KSG, sue over the UTS-15, DP12 for their superior design of the tactual shotgun that puts the Mossberg 500 to shame (by the way, I love my little 500 so, not saying it’s no good, just not as good as the newer stuff and good analogy).

    Personally I just see a petty move by Mossberg. If there’s an idea, part, upgrade or whatever you want to call it of any kind, and it’s received well by the public, you’re ALWAYS gonna have people other companies designing something similar. I do believe in the law and a patent is a patent however, there’s TONS of companies that make shotguns, bolt guns, MSRs and all the millions of fun add ons that go along with them but, they aren’t suing each other. First off, probably because there’s no basis to do so and second off, competition is what keeps us the consumer happy and able to afford these new (or old) concepts, and lastly…it’s a trigger!!! Yes the whole unit but, at the end of the day, it’s a trigger, something that was designed hundreds of years ago and that has been worked over for decades to improve the feel and give more options. Mossberg, you don’t have nor are allowed to have a monopoly on a frickin’ AR trigger upgrade and if your concerned with your sales or, other drop in manufacturers are putting a dent in your gross, here’s a crazy idea… Instead of wasting your time in court and wasting money on a legal team how about you use that time and money to develop a superior product at a reasonable price so, the vast majority of consumers have no other reason than to only buy your drop in triggers over those offered by who you’re trying to sue. I know I know…work hard to become better instead of suing, now that’s just a silly idea at the corporate level ain’t it?:) Don’t make yourself better, point the finger and try to screw up everyone else’s product you compete with…it’s the [new] American way.👎

  • The Oxy Kid May 27, 2016, 10:11 am

    Should be interesting. Can a product be patented, if generic enough? Case in point: Kleenex a few (sic) years ago, tried to sue to block the use of its brand name “Kleenex” from being used. They lost. The courts saying that tissues of that nature were too generic to warrant protection under any patent.

    As drop-in triggers have been around for a lot longer than Mossberg or CMC patented the ‘concept’, I imagine the defending attorneys will rely heavily on the Kleenex decision, for their defense.

  • JohnE May 27, 2016, 9:19 am

    Yet another Patent Troll trying to make money off of something they did not create. Trying to scare the little guy and extort money from them. Most patents are not worth they paper they are written on. The US patent office is staffed by idiots who in most cases have no idea what they are approving even means. An idea stollen from another area and implimented in your area is not a patentable item. Drop in components have been around long before it was applied to a trigger. Applying an existing idea to a trigger does not make it your idea.

    We should all boycott Mossberg

  • A Johnson May 27, 2016, 8:43 am

    Interesting that they do not appear to be going after Geissele or Timney Are they just going after the smaller companies who do not have as much ability to defend themselves?

    • James May 27, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Your comment is so funny. Not five minutes ago reading these comments I was telling my wife the exact same thing almost word for word. I believe these small guys should team up with the Geissele and Timney for defense because you know if they win they will go after them next.

      • Damon May 29, 2016, 12:35 am

        Get Volquartsen in on that defense as well. They’ve sold a few million 10/22 drop-in trigger packs. If Mossberg holds the patent on the concept, firearm and caliber don’t matter, anyone who manufactures a device that can be described as a “trigger pack” will be affacted.

  • Matthew Van Camp May 27, 2016, 7:38 am

    Good for Mossberg, I wish them all the luck! A Patent is a Patent! If you hold the patent rights to an invention then you are the only manufacturer legally entitled to reap the rewards of that invention!
    You only have a limited time to do that, also. Patent rights are only available for a limited amount of time. You’ve only got that amount of time to make back you’re R & D expenses, and that is the only chance you have! I’m sure Mossberg paid alot for this patent, and they need to be allowed they’re chance!

    • Mikelasnicov May 29, 2016, 10:56 am

      You’re speaking as someone very knowledgeable on something where you don’t know what you’re talking about. A patent is not always a patent, they get invalidated in court all the time. There is a legal term in patent law called “Prior Art”. If something has already been done and you patent it as your own invention, even though somebody has already done it, then you patented something that is prior art and it most certainly can be invalidated in court. Drop in trigger packs have been built prior to this patented unit. Mossberg will very likely lose in court.

  • survivor50 May 27, 2016, 6:21 am

    As much as I like a good Mossberg shotgun, the boys stepped on their foreskin this time.
    They didn’t INVENT anything new, and there are a hundred other triggers on the market as good or BETTER… Geissele’s do it for me.
    Yeah… I believe Mossberg, and new owners of CMC got greedy and jealous… and it’ll back fire on them like “FIRECLEAN”…

  • James May 27, 2016, 5:16 am

    Trigger packs have been around long before the patent. A “christian company” tried to profit off the patent, and failed. I guess a buck is a buck.

  • Army127 May 25, 2016, 3:51 am

    How stupid! Mossberg does not own the patient on the trigger pack, or drop in trigger! As noted in the article there have been trigger packs or one piece drop in triggers that pre-date the Mossberg patients by years. Is Mossberg losing money? Did they put out too many new products that were mediocre at the same time! Lol! I think it’s great that you have so many to choose from. It will just weed out all the junk and we will get some excellent drop,in trigger packs by the time the smoke clears. As a rifle builder on both the custom, semi custom, and production/manufacturing sector we are happy to have new companies send us triggers to test and if we find a really good one we offer it in our custom rifles as an option, and even sell a couple on the website. So Mossberg “kiss it” and take it like everyone else does! If your company is stable, which I am sure it might be, but hey who knows, just leave it alone. Or maybe you should you guys really do need the money? Then build better quality guns! Although I have to say some of the new stuff is not bad. Good luck with the law suite then.

    • james May 27, 2016, 6:01 pm

      You have to be the inventer to patient something. Their patient is invalid!

      • George May 28, 2016, 6:09 pm

        And you are an illiterate, ignorant idiot. Patents are bought and sold every day; its how inventors with zero capital manage to make money from their inventions.

      • Old Clockguy May 30, 2016, 4:41 pm

        Hmmm, so how are those adult ed. English comprehension classes workin’ out for ya, Diego???

        • Diego June 9, 2016, 9:39 am

          What??

  • SuperG May 24, 2016, 12:27 pm

    You will know what hell is when you have to deal with the U.S. Patent Office. They are so arbitrary and love to hide behind their “regulations”, as they suck you dry of cash.

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