I first learned of the lawsuit brought by Mossberg against 12 manufacturers on May 19th from a friend in the industry. Mossberg claims these 12 companies are infringing upon one of their patents. The suit was filed in the District of Connecticut against 12 different companies producing drop-in trigger packs for AR-15 rifles:
To give readers a look at Mossberg’s view of all this, below is taken directly from a complaint filed by Mossberg:
“8. Mossberg is the Assignee and owner of all rights, title and interest in U.S. Patent 7,293,385
B2, entitled “MODULAR TRIGGER GROUP FOR FIREARMS AND FIREARM HAVING A
MODULAR TRIGGER GROUP” (“the ‘385 patent”), issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office (“USPTO”) on November 13, 2007, and subsequently reexamined by the USPTO. A copy
of the ‘385 patent, as originally issued, is attached as Exhibit A.
9. The ‘385 patent basically describes a modular drop-in trigger assembly (a.k.a. “trigger
group module” or “drop-in trigger”) which can be substituted for an existing trigger assembly
within a lower receiver of a firearm, such as a semiautomatic rifle (“AR”). Instead of fumbling
with multiple trigger components, a person can drop in the patented modular trigger assembly and
attach it to the firearm by two of the firearm’s existing pins.
10. The ‘385 patent fully describes and illustrates a preferred embodiment of the patented
modular trigger assembly. That embodiment comprises: a module housing; two hollow modular
pins having opposite ends mounted within two pairs of aligned holes in opposing sidewalls of the
housing; and the firearm’s trigger group components (e.g., a trigger and a hammer) mounted on
the modular pins, inside the housing, for rotation about those modular pins. Upon placing the
drop-in trigger between two sidewalls of a lower receiver, two other pins (e.g., the two existing
pins mentioned in Paragraph 9 above) are inserted through the following aligned holes: a pair of
holes in each of the receiver sidewalls; and the two hollow modular pins.
11. Each modular trigger assembly can have a different “trigger pull” (i.e., the amount of force
it takes for a shooter to pull back the trigger). Therefore, a user can substitute a different modular
trigger assembly if the shooter desires to have a different trigger pull. Different trigger pulls are
used, for example, in target shooting and hunting.
12. The USPTO has reexamined the ‘385 patent multiple times, pursuant to requests by Timney
Triggers, LLC and/or its affiliate, Timney Manufacturing, Inc. (collectively, “Timney”).
13. On August 20, 2014, the USPTO issued Ex Parte Reexamination Certificate No. 7,293,385
C1 (copy attached as Exhibit B) which concluded a first ex parte reexamination which Timney
14. By that certificate, the USPTO confirmed the patentability of issued Claims 1-9 in the ‘385
patent; determined to be patentable additional Claims 11-15, which Mossberg presented during the
first ex parte reexamination; and canceled Claim 10 in the ‘385 patent.
15. On August 27, 2015, a three-person panel – all Patent Examiners who specialize in
reexaminations at the USPTO – issued an Office Action (copy attached as Exhibit C) during a
second ex parte reexamination, which Timney had requested.
16. In that Office Action, the panel: determined to be patentable issued Claims 3, 7 – those
claims appear in U.S. Patent 7,293,385 B2 (Exhibit A); determined to be patentable additional new
– 2 –
Case 3:16-cv-00747 Document 1 Filed 05/19/16 Page 3 of 4
Claims 11-15, which Mossberg presented during the reexaminations; and rejected original Claims
2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 – those claims also appear in U.S. Patent 7,293,385 B2 (Exhibit A).”
So Mossberg is claiming these companies are producing drop-in trigger packs which infringe on their ‘385’ patent. As the complaint was just filed there is not much to report. The question is, will these 12 companies band together against Mossberg or will they stand alone and fight their individual battles. There is a lot going on behind the scenes right now. We will be carefully watching what transpires as this case could seriously affect some of these companies as well as the AR trigger market.