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Patenting a cartridge dimensions?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by RooK, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. RooK

    RooK Well-Known Member

    Is it possible? Can you say, shorten a .308 1/8", call it the .30 Whopper and then patent it and prevent anyone else from chambering barrel for a cartridge of the same size? The reason I bring this up is a discussion over the 6.5 Grendel and obtaining a barrel for it. Check this out: http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=12&t=198588

    Is there any way this is even possible? I thought you could only trademark a cartridge name and that is it... I've seen it done with the .45 Super and then Triton's nock off as well as the .300 Whisper and the .300 Fireball, both are essentially the same sold under another name. Is anyone here a patent lawyer or know one that has the answer? I think Not_A_Llama with his 'novel idea' comment is right on the ball. So, who has the answer?
  2. Not_A_Llama

    Not_A_Llama Active Member

    I, for one, think that N_A_L guy is a darn smart guy, with all the answers.

    I may be somewhat biased.
  3. patentmike

    patentmike Well-Known Member

  4. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    Yes, but only if the new cartridge is new, useful, and nonobvious. Most choose not to patent this type of innovation because:

    1) It's hard enough to successfully introduce a new caliber or chambering and have it widely embraced -- without it also being single source.

    2) If it is patented (single source or inflated cost due to added royalty) and not widely embraced, then you may not sell enough of them to warrant the cost of obtaining a patent in the U.S. or abroad (much more costly).

    3) If you allow it to be open source (public domain) you can name it such that your competitors acknowledge your innovation (.25 or .45ACP= Colt Automatic Pistol; .40 S&W; .45GAP= Glock Automayic Pistol; etc).
  5. db4

    db4 Member

    Entirely possible... and mostly useless. Example from the 1930's: let's neck the .250 Savage to .22. Someone (Gerry Gebby?) patented his version as the ".22 Varminter"(TM) and tried to enforce it. The result was a lawsuit or two and virtually no .22 Varminters; everybody else changed a dimension slightly, called it a .22-250 and carried on. And how about the revolutionary and patented .223BOZ? Seeing lots of those?

    Reality is that patent protection, like other gov't. "protection" is mostly illusory. It gives you grounds for legal action, and when you win, you get a piece of paper that says the other guy has to cease and desist and/or pay you. Every bit as effective as that restraining order that keeps you safe from the bad guy. Now you can get your lawyer to collect, if there is anything to collect from. Only people that always win in the patent game are...patent attorneys.

  6. steveno

    steveno Well-Known Member

    look in P.O Ackley's reloading handbook and it is possible that even you weren't the first to come up with this cartridge.
  7. patent

    patent Well-Known Member

    It is possible to patent a cartridge dimensions. I think it would be rather hard though, and I would hesitate to tell my clients that I could do it. I searched at the PTO quickly, I do not see an issued patent on the Grendel. Obviously I haven't done an extensive search, but I doubt there is a patent on this.

    It could be trademarked, but that means something very different. The thread you linked to has a lot of misinformation on what AA can prohibit others from doing, at least if all they have is a trademark. Interestingly enough, I also was unable to find a trademark on the name "Grendel" for use with firearms, cartridges, bullets, etc. It is possible, of course, that AA has a Tm in it anyway through use.

    re patenting cartridges, you made me curious, so I did a quick search. There's U.S. No. 3,952,657 for a "Rifle Cartridge". Also a U.S. No. 5,275,108, a "Match-grade rifle cartridge with improved components"

    Also U.S. No. 6,776,101 for a "Fragmenting bullet :"

    There are a whole bunch more. They all seem to concern a particular structure or way of making the cartridge rather than a calibler. That makes sense to me, because as others have posted, patenting a caliber only guarantees no one else will make it.
  8. RooK

    RooK Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies. I'm still pressing them for facts. You ask for proof, all you get is a misguided hand, "it isn't ours to say, ask them," or some other BS about illegal activites. No one over there has yet to provide some form of evidence showing that the cartridge is, in fact, patented.
  9. WalkerTexasRanger

    WalkerTexasRanger Well-Known Member

    I dont recall anywhere in the thread over at ar15.com that anyone specifically said the cartridge IS patented. You and N-A-L both have been wanting proof of a patent, when nobody ever specifically stated there is a patent.

    Protection for AA yes, trademark, yes. The attorneys here should comment on what happens if a manufacturer/gunsmith chambers a barrel 6.5 youknowwhatthisis, and represents to the customer that it will use, "wink,wink" Grendel ammo, brass, and dies. Is this, or is this not, a trademark infringement?

    I do think, it would not be illegal for an individual to chamber his own barrel in 6.5 Grendel, but when a mfg/smith does this for a profit, an infringement has occurred.

  10. Jonathan

    Jonathan Well-Known Member

    I don't see how you could get into trouble for producing Grendel-standard items.

    If that was an issue, aftermarket parts for many different items just wouldn't be legally feasible.

    On the other hand, you would have to be careful that you weren't pushing the name too much: "www.GRENDEL-UPPERS.com" with plenty of ambiguous marketing could get you into trouble.
  11. TX65

    TX65 Well-Known Member

    You cannot patent a boxer primed centerfire cartridge as they have been around for well over 100 years,,, and as Walker Texas Ranger has stated, you and NAL have kept asking for a patent number when no one has said it is patented. However, you can trademark the name of a cartridge and if it is submitted to SAAMI, they can accept it and standardize it under that name (example 6.5-08 becomes the .260 Remington) which in the case of SAAMI, the members of SAAMI accept it under that name. There is no legal requirement in the USA that a cartridge be submitted to SAAMI since it is an industry association, not a government body.

    The point of the discussion on AR15.com, which you have migrated to this forum, is that a manufacturer or business can be held liable for infringing on a trademarked name or on a patented design since they are doing it for financial gain. Yes, Alexander Arms would have to pursue legal action and like many companies, they have made clear they will protect their investment.

    Without divulging company names, there was a recent example of one firearms manufacturer making a clone under a different name of another company's non-SAAMI cartridge... The company who made the original cartridge made clear to the clone maker their intention to take legal action if the clone maker did not immediately cease. The clone maker ceased and if the original manufacturer feels they have financial damages, I am sure they will seek them and I, like most anyone who owns a business, fully support them doing so. How did they have the right to do this, the clone rifle accepted and fired the original cartridge's factory ammo.

    As an individual, you can do what you want, but when you seek to profit by infringing on another company or person's trademark, copyright or patent, they are free to seek legal remedies to stop you from continuing the infringement and financial damages if they choose to as people have told you in this thread.

    If the rip off product is determined to be "counterfit" then the US Secret Service can get involved and ruin your day, week, month, year and life. While their pursuit of criminals who counterfit money is well known, they keep quite busy pursuing counterfits of trademarked items (examples - handbags, clothing, and even items bearing logos without permission). Years ago, I used to keep quite busy, following Federal agents into businesses as they seized property. Everything from auto parts to CDs, clothing, handbags and more. As the agents told me, it doesn't have to be a perfect photocopy of the original, just represented to be or believed by a buyer of the product to be the same as the trademarked item.
  12. patent

    patent Well-Known Member

    I checked the tm registry, didn't find it. Has anyone claimed they've trademarked the name Grendel? I understand from the thread no one is claiming they've patented it. If they haven't trademarked it, and haven't patented it, exactly what is stopping anyone from using it?

    The poster below talking about aftermarket products has it. It is typically considered a fair use to make a product and say its for use with a "[trademarked name.]" You see that with your printer cartridges, the generics need a way to say its used with a Hewlett Packard printer, for example, and the are legally allowed to do that, despite the fact that laserjet, HP, etc. are all trademarks.

    also correct.
    Ahhh, but has there been one this good? Just because one centerfire cartridge (or 1000) have been around for years, that does not mean that the next one isn't new and unique, and patentable. It only makes it harder to patent it.

    I apologize as I'm late to the conversations, but how has AA made it clear that they will protect their investment. Are they suggesting they will stop others from making a grendell?
  13. WalkerTexasRanger

    WalkerTexasRanger Well-Known Member

    It is trademarked. You might try checking under the 6.5 Grendel. Just as AA uses the names .50 Beowolf and .21 Genghis.

    However, what if the printer itself must be altered to work properly with the aftermarket part. It is not just a drop in replacement. Under the above logic, I assume that would be between the maker of the part that does not work, and the buyer of the part that does not work. Caveat Emptor????

    And what if you never bought the actual printer to begin with? I am not buying the whole printer, just all the identical parts and assembling the printer myself. I just cant call it a HP, even though all the parts are identical and assembled exactly like the HP. And I can go sell this in the marketplace as brand X, "but its just like the HP", all the same parts without the name and royalty??
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2004
  14. RooK

    RooK Well-Known Member

    Yep, unless one of those printer parts were patented. The only part of your argument that even comes close to this comparison is if someone made a printer that accepted Lexmark or HP cartridges for printing. In most instances, I bet the two previous companies wouldn't even complain, they would be profiting from the use of their cartridges.

    I see no way, making a barrel in a caliber called 6.5x39 with a bolt and barrel extension to match, would infringe upon trademark usage. This includes it being able to accept Grendel ammo (or having identical dimensions). No Grendel name is in use, it's just a chambering devoid of names. The consumer market is what will fuel the fact it accepts Grendel ammo. There is basicly nothing AA could do about it even if they wanted to.
  15. patent

    patent Well-Known Member

    Must be at the state level then, or maybe its a stealth registration, as the federal level doesn't seem to show anything. In addition, usually you have to tell people its trademarked. Their website doesn't:

    Typically if its trademarked you put an insignia after it, such as (R). I see claims on the web that its trademarked, I just see no legal evidence of it. That doesn't mean it isn't, but they sure aren't doing much to protect it if so.

    Searching the PTO under Grendel, 6.5 grendel, or Alexander Arms. I did find this, which I found interesting:

    Are you discussing trademarks still? The quote from me you responded to was a trademark discussion. I think I'm just not sure what you are asking about.

    Altering the printer has very little to do with trademarks. You can dilute a famous mark, possibly. Otherwise alterations could be (in very limited circumstances) a patent issue, but we would be getting very, very far afield here.

    Ordinarily if you purchase a printer you have the right to modify it later, and so I would think that its between the person who modifies it and the buyer of that modification.

    If you buy an aftermarket part that doesn't work, its between you and the maker of the aftermarket part. Just an example, but I have a 10/22. Ruger wants you to use Ruger magazines. You can buy others though, and if you do, and one breaks, Ruger isn't liable for that.

    I'm not sure I've answered your questions here, please feel free to clarify, and I apologize if not.

    A trademark indicates the origin of the goods. If it didn't originate with HP, you can't call it an HP. You could say "just like an HP" and indicate on the package that HP is a trademark of HP, not you. Or "If you like HP printers, you'll love pH printers!"

    If you sell as Brand X, you do not have a trademark issue with HP (subject to some limitations, you can't say just like HP and use their little logo, and then never say you aren't HP, as you will likely mislead people.

    As a side note, if you do this to HP, you will get sued. They do have patents covering various parts of their printers. Lots and lots of them. That is very different than the Grendel.

  16. patent

    patent Well-Known Member

    I'll take that bet. ;-)

    If they can find a way, they will complain. At least in my experience HP will not want anyone to use its components with someone else's components in printing. In some cases they maybe can't do anything about it, but I'll bet they'll try.

    They worry about their brand name, and the quality image, and anybody putting out a product they can't control puts that at risk.

  17. WalkerTexasRanger

    WalkerTexasRanger Well-Known Member

    So they can't say "just like the 6.5 Grendel" without violating the trademark? Correct?

  18. WalkerTexasRanger

    WalkerTexasRanger Well-Known Member

    Same true for AA. In particular with the safety concerns. HP does not have to worry about the printer exploding inches from somebody's face, imaging their concern if that was the case...

    Thanks again!!
  19. RooK

    RooK Well-Known Member

    But notice where he said "In some cases they maybe can't do anything about it, but I'll bet they'll try." In other words, would AA have legal grounds to prevent someone from doing such, whether they tried to sue or not?
  20. WalkerTexasRanger

    WalkerTexasRanger Well-Known Member


    A small license fee paid AA to prevent "Maybe," should seem like a good deal to any reputable mfg/smith, hell, they can just pass this on to the consumer (yes this means me also) anyway and keep their own ass out of trouble. They have no legal issues, AA gets paid, customer gets thier upper, which is safe to shoot and functions properly, sounds like a win-win-win.

    It appears it sounded that way to Scott Medesha, and keep in mind, he had already built the 6.5PPC upper for Arne. If Scott is willing, why would others not be? I beleive the expression " an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is applicable here.

    This is also the "opinion" of one attorney. Attorneys themsleves do also disagree. So if one attorney says "maybe" no telling what another might interpret the law to be in this exact case. The law is not always black and white, there will always be interpretation, sounds like "maybe" means this is one of those cases. I will then take this opportunity to state that my language in the other thread was probably too strong. I interpret one way, Rook, you interpret the other. The attorney says "maybe." Damn lawyers always leaving the door open to generate fees... ;-) (Can you blame them either? Job security....)

    And also remember, the gunsmith and mgf community is, in reality, very small. These folks have to work together, go to shows together, and function as an industry together.

    Whatever the case, I am just glad to see you are interested in the 6.5 Grendel. It is a great development and no matter how you get your upper, I look forward to hearing of your successes. I am getting sub MOA groups with mine and still am in the very early stages of load development. To me, this is VERY promising..

    Good shooting!!!! :)

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