Magpul, a known designer, manufacturer and distributor of firearms and accessories primarily for AR-15 and M16 rifles, sued four companies for copyright infringement. These four companies namely Big Rocks Sports/Swamfox, Cole Industries, Plinker Tactical, and Promag allegedly violated the copyright of the successful Magpul PMAG design.
According to Magpul, this action is part of the proactive efforts to prevent unlawful copying of their product.
Patent and Infringement
Before delving into the details, it must be clarified what are the established ownership rights of corporations and how can these be infringed or violated.
Basically, copyright and patent protects the originality of the item. Copyright is used for artistic and literary work while patent on the other hand is used in invented items. A patent is only applicable for a limited duration. This can be obtained by applying to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for introducing the invention to the public. Currently, patent has a term of 20 years from the day the application was filed.
If your item is patented, it means no duplication of any sort can be done without your permission. Doing so means, you are committing infringement. It is to note however, that US patent is only effective within US soil.
Their Brand Name Means a Great Deal of Trust
For Duane Liptak, the Director of Product Management and Marketing for Magpul Industries, the patent is a driving force for the company to further “create novel solution that will enhance the experience of their customer in using the brand”.
More than that, the patent assures customers that each and every Magpul PMAG was given the same amount of expertise when it was made. Meaning, whether you buy it to Magpul directly or to one of its trusted seller, the brand assures you that the item underwent a great deal of quality inspection.
Thus, if Magpul ceases to enforce its copyright to the item, any company will be able to make the same ‘design’, but cannot assure the same quality. Not only can it cause harm to the user, it can also tarnish the long-standing name of Magpul.
The lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court of Colorado. As to this date, it was estimated that this lawsuit is probably the largest and most significant for Magpul Industries.
At first glance, one can really notice the resemblance to the Magpul PMAG. If the sued companies argue that the outer appearance does not exactly resemble the patent of Magpul, it is to note that the patent of Magpul for the rifle is more than the body and housing of the magazine. The patent also involves the inside of the magazine such as the anti-tilt rails or the spring shape.
As for lawsuits, Magpul is not new in this business. They have already faced courts both as the defense and as a prosecutor. Magpul has already lawyered up to fight patent infringement of their own. They have been sought damages by other companies for stepping on someone else’s patent toe.
Whether or not the Magpul PMAG patent infringement will win the case, the mere notion of Magpul filing a case of infringement already gives an idea to other companies that Magpul takes their patent seriously.