Another day, another gun industry lawsuit. Coming to you from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, we have Glock Inc. v. Polymer80 Inc. with patent infringement claims. Let’s take a look at this complaint and see what the allegations are in this suit.
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Before we dig into the specifics of this case, some disclaimers are in order. I am an unabashed Glock fan and have owned and carried their pistols for my entire adult life. In contrast, I have never owned a Polymer80 product. Lawyers deal in dispassionate analysis, but it is only fair that I am fully transparent about my allegiances. I also should note that I am not a patent lawyer and this is not my area of practice.
Also, this article only covers the initial complaint in this case. A complaint is the opening shot (pun intended) of a lawsuit and lists the alleged issues as perceived by the side filing the case. The respondent’s side of the story is not on the record as of the time of writing. Keep in mind that we only know what Glock is alleging, we do not yet know what Polymer80 will say in its defense.
The patent at issue is US-9933222-B2 (referred to as the ” ‘222 Patent” in the complaint). It was filed by Glock in December 2014 and officially published in April 2018. As can be seen in the diagram below, it deals with the slide catch lever. This patent is listed on Glock’s website as well.
You may be wondering how a slide catch lever could be patented when almost every semiautomatic pistol has one. This specific patent deals with the small spring incorporated in the slide catch of the G43/43X/48 family of pistols. Unlike older generations of Glocks, which used a slide catch with a small hairpin spring, this new design cannot be installed incorrectly.
Glock claims in their patent that this redesign is simplified and has an extended service life compared to the old model. Glock’s patent also claims that “all of the force profiles and the introduction of torques are optimally achieved.” The engineers among us can weigh in on that in the comment section, but it did successfully obtain a patent.
Glock filed this case, 3:23-CV-00086-MMD-CLB, on March 6, 2023, in Nevada (because Polymer80 is based there). Glock asserts that Polymer80 included the slide catch design of the ‘222 Patent with its PF9SS kits and related parts kits. Pictures on their website clearly show a slide catch lever that looks a lot like the model in the ‘222 Patent. The complaint lays out in detail the functions of the slide catch in question, and that the Polymer80 slide catch operates in the same manner.
So what kind of penalties could Polymer80 be looking at if Glock were to prevail? Glock seeks treble damages (the actual amount of damages suffered, tripled) as well as attorney’s fees (which are never cheap). Those damages are awarded in “exceptional cases” where the conduct was “willful,” which Glock claims this is. They also request damages “in no event less than a reasonable royalty” for each unit sold.
Aside from money, Glock requests a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction. These kinds of court orders would prevent Polymer80 from selling these products. Temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions generally happen at the early stages of a case and prevent the conduct in question during the case. Permanent injunctions are granted at the end of a case and make those restrictions permanent. If Glock can meet their burden of proof for those orders it would be a major hit to Polymer80 and could result in the end of the PF9SS in its current form. It is also conceivable that the parties reach an agreement where Polymer80 pays a royalty for each slide catch lever sold in the future.
LINK TO THE FULL COMPLAINT:
Glock v. Polymer80 Complaint – Patent Infringement
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