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Colt Sues Heckler & Koch, Bushmaster Over Copies of M4 Rifle
Bloomberg ^ | 21 April 2004 | staff

Posted on 04/22/2004 12:06:54 PM PDT by 45Auto

Edited on 07/19/2004 2:13:55 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Colt Defense LLC, the exclusive supplier of the M4 rifle to the U.S. military, claimed in a lawsuit that Heckler & Koch Inc. and Bushmaster Firearms Inc. are selling ``copycat'' versions of the weapon.

Closely held Colt seeks a court order to block Bushmaster and Heckler & Koch from using the M4 name or design in any of their products. Colt claims Bushmaster's XM-15 E2S ``M4 Type'' and Heckler & Koch's planned ``HKM4'' are ``identical'' to Colt's, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.


(Excerpt) Read more at quote.bloomberg.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: bang; banglist; m4
in order to mislead the consuming public into believing that Bushmaster's products are comparable to Colt's

Bushmaster products are generally superior to Colt's.

1 posted on 04/22/2004 12:07:01 PM PDT by 45Auto
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To: 45Auto
Is there a version of the "Ann Coulter rule" for gun articles?
2 posted on 04/22/2004 12:09:57 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Clinton, advised by Dick Clarke, did nothing. - Ann Coulter 4/1/04, How 9-11 Happened)
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To: KarlInOhio; *bang_list


3 posted on 04/22/2004 12:19:46 PM PDT by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism.)
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To: KarlInOhio

Bushmaster XM-15 E2S

HKM4

4 posted on 04/22/2004 12:21:16 PM PDT by primeval patriot
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To: 45Auto
Well I guess that Knight Armaments should sue Colt for copying the Stoner, hehehe.
5 posted on 04/22/2004 12:21:51 PM PDT by George Smiley (Is the RKBA still a right if you have to get the government's permission before you can exercise it?)
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To: 45Auto
I disagree. My experience running Bushy parts on my M16 is that their bolts break a little more frequently and that their internal parts (at least the M16 parts) are out of spec more often than Colt parts. Every manufacturer puts out junk once in a while but the question is how good are they about servicing it? Bushy competes with Colt pretty well in terms of customer service but some of their stuff just isn't as nice.

Colt uses a different chamber size for each length of barrel and Bushmaster does not. Generally, the shorter the barrel the looser the chamber on Colt stuff. This has the effect of making their stuff cycle more reliably.

I used a Bushy 11.5" barrel on my M16 and it was very accurate and reliable. It also cost 30% of what a Colt 11.5" barrel would have cost and the gas port was out of spec and the chamber was a little on the tight side.

Colt has a good point in this case, although I think it's just sour grapes on their part. I'm no Colt fanboy or "pony licker" but their stuff IS generally better. It commands higher prices in the private sector and sells just as fast or faster than Bushy/RockRiver/ArmaLite/Oly/etc.

The right way for Colt to resolve this is through sales and advertizing. MAKE a better M4 and start selling a neutered semi-auto version once the assinine Cosmetic Feature Ban sunsets. Offer a semi-auto 14.5" barrel version to us mere mortals that live in states where we're adult enough to own them. I'd pay the $200 tax on top of $850 for a real Colt M4 short barreled rifle. They need to compete with Bush, Oly et al instead of suing them.

Note to the uninformed: Yes machineguns are legal. yes you can have them without a FFL/SOT in most states. you only need a CLEO signoff, photos, fingerprints, $200 and a 3 month wait. no you can't convert your junky post-ban neutergun until we get the 86 ban repealed.
6 posted on 04/22/2004 12:24:56 PM PDT by nerdwithamachinegun (All generalizations are wrong.)
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To: 45Auto
Colt pulled this crap with US Firearms over their Peacemaker clones. It's probably only a matter of time before they try suing Kimber et al over the 1911.

Colt is dying a slow death, and turning to lawsuits against other gunmakers (who produce a better, cheaper product) will not warm the hearts of gun owners.

7 posted on 04/22/2004 12:29:32 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (From each according to his inability, to each according to his misdeeds - DNC Motto)
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To: 45Auto
No lie there.
8 posted on 04/22/2004 12:32:22 PM PDT by TXBSAFH (KILL-9 needs no justification.)
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To: 45Auto
The new HK M4 is sweet. Replace the gas system with a push-rod.


http://www.hk-usa.com/pages/Military-LE/rifles-carbines/m4.html

Check out the pictures:

http://64.177.53.248/ubb/Forum12/HTML/000808.html
9 posted on 04/22/2004 12:33:00 PM PDT by cryptical
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To: 45Auto
I like them both. My personal rifle is a Bushmaster, the one the govrernment lets me play with is a (usually badly mangled) Colt.
10 posted on 04/22/2004 12:42:36 PM PDT by wingnutx (Are you a monthly donor? Why not? (the freeper formerly known as Britton J Wingnutx))
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To: 45Auto
Not to mention that Bushmaster pricing has some real-world basis..

11 posted on 04/22/2004 12:58:17 PM PDT by Redbob
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To: 45Auto
Haven't we been here before?
1. The name "M4" or "M4 Carbine" is NOT trademarked by Colt. They put it on their rifles, but it's a MILITARY DESIGNATION, not a trademarked brand.
2. Colt won its lawsuit regarding the "Technical Data Package" over the individual features of the M4. Specifically, Colt's contribution was the addition of additional cuts in the lower receiver that match up to the feed ramps in the barrel extension. Everything else was a specification driven by the DOD.

Colt needs to give it up. The offer piss poor service on ARs and are losing market share due to their own negligence. Just go to the Colt and Bushmaster websites and see who offers the products and services that firearms owners want. You can hardly get a decent product description from Colt and they're like Henry Ford's Model T when it comes to models and options.
12 posted on 04/22/2004 1:06:06 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: 45Auto
M-4 is a good carbine for a weapon if you're shooting at targets under 100 meters. Over that and I hear the M-4 loses a lot of stopping power. The M-16 is much better at range shooting.

If I were buying an AR-15, I would definately make sure my barrel was at least 16 inches in length. Gives the 5.56 x 45 round adequate stopping power.

13 posted on 04/22/2004 1:08:42 PM PDT by 2nd_Amendment_Defender ("It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains." -- Patrick Henry)
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To: 45Auto
i'll take a bushmaster over colt all day long
14 posted on 04/22/2004 1:21:28 PM PDT by alpha-8-25-02 (saved by GRACE and GRACE alone)
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To: 45Auto
Finally, a thread I can really get my teeth into! Guns and Intellectual Property law all in one!

Colt has a strong case on the trademark infringement issue, on the principle that one may not adopt the entirety of another mark. There are some defenses for Bushmaster and HK, but the Colt case is reasonably strong. I'd advise Bushy and HK to adopt other marks, but there is nothing wrong with them advertising that their products are equivlent to an M4. Just don't use it as a trademark on the rifle.

The look-and-feel case is iffy. I would argue that Colt's tolerance of dozens of other manufacturers of the same visually-identical pattern for decades shows that they did not consider it to be protectible trade dress. In the same way a trademark can be genericised and thus mo longer protectible if widespread misuse is tolerated (e.g. Aspirin, Escalator, Zipper), trade dress should be treated similarly. You can't sit on your hands.

Moreover, if Colt is arguing that the newer short barrel and profile of the M4 (as opposed to the M16) is protectible, they will have a hard time arguing against the principle that functional aspects are not protectible in this manner.

Colt is sounding desperate.
15 posted on 04/22/2004 1:27:09 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: cryptical
I notice that H and K does not currently offer a semi auto version (with the required 16 inch barrel) for the US civilian population; I assume the H and K gas system will retrofit the current AR 15 format. Too bad one cannot get the parts.
16 posted on 04/22/2004 1:27:58 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: SJSAMPLE
1. The name "M4" or "M4 Carbine" is NOT trademarked by Colt. They put it on their rifles, but it's a MILITARY DESIGNATION, not a trademarked brand.


Word Mark M4
Goods and Services IC 013. US 002 009. G & S: FIREARMS, NAMELY RIFLES AND SPARE PARTS AND REPLACEMENT PARTS FOR RIFLES. FIRST USE: 19921105. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19930528
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 76335060
Filing Date November 7, 2001
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition April 15, 2003
Registration Number 2734001
Registration Date July 8, 2003
Owner (REGISTRANT) NEW COLT HOLDING CORP. CORPORATION DELAWARE P.O. Box 1868 Hartford CONNECTICUT 061441868
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record Carlton S. Chen
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
17 posted on 04/22/2004 1:30:11 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: 45Auto
Bushmaster has been building and selling this same firearm for years. Why is Colt just now getting bent out of shape about it? And besides that, I thought patent protection only lasted so many years. Any lawyers on here that can explain Colt's decision to go after the other maufacturers? And I agree, the Bushmaster is better AND cheaper than the Colt version. I own both, and give me the Bushmaster any day of the week.
18 posted on 04/22/2004 1:37:16 PM PDT by Space Wrangler
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To: Beelzebubba
From Hoover's Online Business info

"The Colt .45 may have won the West, but it took a New York investment firm to save Colt's Manufacturing from a post-Cold War decline in weapons sales and tough foreign competition. Through its subsidiaries, Colt's Manufacturing makes handguns (Cowboy, Defender) and semiautomatic rifles for civilian use and military weapons (M-16, M-4 Carbine) for the US and other governments. The company has distributors throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. Founded in 1836 by Samuel Colt, the company is about 85%-owned by investment firm Zilkha & Co., who has been reviving the company since 1994 when it bought the firm out of bankruptcy."

19 posted on 04/22/2004 1:37:33 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: Beelzebubba
Colt chairman vows to retake the lead with innovative new products, bold plan for consolidation.(Colt's Manufacturing Company Inc.; Donald Zilkha)(Company Profile) Shooting Industry, Dec, 1998, by Cameron Hopkins

Colt's Mfg. Co. is finally profitable after a rocky 10 years marked by a bitter four-year strike, bankruptcy and musical-chair ownership. The historic gunmaker is now on solid footing thanks to a new owner, Donald Zilkha of Zilkha & Co., and a new president, 44-year-old Steve Sliwa.

Zilkha is committed to resurrecting Colt through capital expenditure to upgrade the factory, innovative new product introductions and consolidation within the industry by acquiring new companies under the banner of Colt's Holding Co.

The holding company recently acquired Saco Defense, the Maine-based manufacturer of several military and sporting firearms, including the M-60 machinegun and Weatherby rifles. Colt's Holding Co. also owns A.I.S., a manufacturer of an interactive computerized "scenario" shooting system.

Saco gives Colt a broader military base in addition to its M4A1 Pentagon contract at the West Hartford factory. Zilkha also said Colt is in the final stages of acquiring Ultra-Light Arms (ULA), a small manufacturer of custom rifles in West Virginia.

ULA produced 102 custom-grade hunting rifles in 1996, the latest year for which BATF figures are available. ULA's main claim to fame is a light-weight rifle, less than 6 pounds with a scope. ULA rifles retail for $2,000 to $2,500. Zilkha said he plans to make a "production version" of the ULA rifle in the $700 to $800 retail range at the Saco facility for sale through the Colt dealer base.

Sliwa, the company's new president, comes to Colt with an impressive background in the aerospace industry. Sliwa is tasked with developing new technologies at Colt, such as the controversial new "smart gun" that Colt unveiled last year.

Sliwa holds a doctorate in engineering and was a project engineer at NASA before joining Colt. The Princeton and Stanford educated executive was the president of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida immediately before coming to Colt. He also did a stint as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.

Zilkha sees Sliwa as the sort of leader it will take to bring a gun company prosperity in the coming millennium - high tech all the way.

Market-driven new products are also a top priority with Colt, Zilkha said. Showcasing the company's commitment to utilizing the latest technologies, Colt is developing a "smart gun" that can only be fired by a person wearing a special microchip that "talks" to the gun. Sliwa touts the "smart gun" as a solution to the next wave of anti-gun legislation aimed at "child-proofing" firearms. He also sees it as a way to create a vast new market for firearms among families who want a gun for protection but are scared to keep one in a home with children.

Colt's new products slated for the 1999 SHOT Show answer the consumer demand for small, concealable self-defense handguns with new products such as the Defender (sub-Officers size .45 ACP), the Magnum Carry .357 snubnose and a new subcompact 9mm. The Cowboy, an affordable single-action with a transfer bar safety, is finally in production with the first guns shipped to distributors in late 1998.

20 posted on 04/22/2004 1:40:44 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: Space Wrangler
And besides that, I thought patent protection only lasted so many years.


There do not appear to be any patents involved here.
21 posted on 04/22/2004 1:44:28 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: 45Auto
Zilkha also said Colt is in the final stages of acquiring Ultra-Light Arms (ULA), a small manufacturer of custom rifles in West Virginia. ULA produced 102 custom-grade hunting rifles in 1996, the latest year for which BATF figures are available. ULA's main claim to fame is a light-weight rifle, less than 6 pounds with a scope. ULA rifles retail for $2,000 to $2,500. Zilkha said he plans to make a "production version" of the ULA rifle in the $700 to $800 retail range at the Saco facility for sale through the Colt dealer base.


The ULA folks are nice guys with impressive products.
22 posted on 04/22/2004 1:46:06 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba
I stand corrected.
The last time I had this discussion was sometime in 2002, and the trademark was not awarded. I'm curious about how they got that one, as it it's a military designation and in common usage.

Please let me know the URL of the site you found this at, as I really need to update my research. Thanks.
23 posted on 04/22/2004 1:48:02 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Beelzebubba
I don't know what the current status of Colt is; I don't think Mr. Sliwa is with the company any longer; I see he is associated with an outfit that makes small-scale robotic airplanes. I also don't see the so-called "smart gun" technology anywhere on the horizon, although a lot of hype has come down the road about that nonsense over the last 5 years.
24 posted on 04/22/2004 1:52:42 PM PDT by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: cryptical
H&K is nice...but way too heavy....for what it is suppose to do imo....

Take a look at Lewis Machine & Tool...their one peice upper and railed forearm....
and their lowers....pricey but quality all the way....and the barrels are readily detachable...

Rock River quality vs price ratio is alslo a "Best Buy" imo....

Who cares about those M4 barrel cuts ...for a grenade launcher you cant have anyway....
rather have a Bushy 16" super lt. wt. chrome lined barrel....or a 20" govt model cut down to 18"
with a PRI front railed tube...and flip up BUIS (again LM&T and PMI)
25 posted on 04/22/2004 2:56:14 PM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: joesnuffy
Pics of the LMT upper & other neat stuff
26 posted on 04/22/2004 3:02:58 PM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: nerdwithamachinegun
Colt uses a different chamber size for each length of barrel and Bushmaster does not.

How great are the chamber variances from standard? I've heard of problems reloading brass caused by this (loose chambers), but have no personal experience.

27 posted on 04/22/2004 3:13:45 PM PDT by templar
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To: Space Wrangler
Bushmaster has been building and selling this same firearm for years. Why is Colt just now getting bent out of shape about it?

My semi-educated guess is that they *really* perceive H&K as a serious threat. Heckler & Koch is the new player in the AR business - and they are serious about military contracts. Bushmaster did do a small run or two of carbines for DOD, but Colt and FN have built most of 'em.

It's possible that Bushmaster was included out of sheer spite. That was the first AR "clone" manufacturer to really threaten Colt's position.

There are a long list of companies who've made knock-offs of the AR-15, yet only these two are named as defendants. Interesting.

28 posted on 04/22/2004 3:27:41 PM PDT by Charles Martel (Liberals are the crab grass in the lawn of life.)
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To: Space Wrangler
Because there is going to be a sales boom in the fall and they want a piece of every one of them sold (Bushmaster and HK will pay a license rather than scrap their lines)



>>>Bushmaster has been building and selling this same firearm for years. Why is Colt just now getting bent out of shape about it?
29 posted on 04/22/2004 3:48:41 PM PDT by BurbankKarl (for discussion purposes only!)
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To: nerdwithamachinegun
Yes machineguns are legal. yes you can have them without a FFL/SOT in most states. you only need a CLEO signoff, photos, fingerprints, $200 and a 3 month wait.

I can never remember: is the $200 a one-time ripoff, or annual? I have a short-barrelled pre-ban 7.62x39 Colt Sporter that I like just fine.

30 posted on 04/22/2004 3:57:16 PM PDT by Hank Rearden (Is Fallujah gone yet?)
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To: 45Auto
Closely held Colt seeks a court order to block Bushmaster and Heckler & Koch from using the M4 name or design in any of their products. Colt claims Bushmaster's XM-15 E2S ``M4 Type'' and Heckler & Koch's planned ``HKM4'' are ``identical'' to Colt's, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.

...

``Bushmaster has intentionally copied the names used by Colt and the look and feel of Colt's M4 carbine in order to mislead the consuming public into believing that Bushmaster's products are comparable to Colt's,'' according to the suit.

So let me see if I have this straight. They're saying that they're "identical", but not "comparable"?

31 posted on 04/22/2004 4:01:00 PM PDT by Don Joe (We've traded the Rule of Law for the Law of Rule.)
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To: Hank Rearden
One time $200 ripoff.

The AR platform is perfect for short barreled stuff. I like the ergonimics better than most of the EuroJunk. HK stuff is OK but I just don't buy into the mystique.

One of my favorite M16 setups is a 7.62x39 upper with a 11.5" barrel and a 75 rd. steel ChiCom AR drum. With a JP Enterprises brake it has way less recoil than a similarly sized 7.62 AK with a 74 style brake and way more punch than 5.56mm.
32 posted on 04/22/2004 4:19:42 PM PDT by nerdwithamachinegun (All generalizations are wrong.)
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To: nerdwithamachinegun
I had a chance to compare a RRA and a Colt side by side. The Colt trigger sucked. It's a single stage trigger with tons of creep. RRA makes a two stage NM style trigger that breaks like a glass rod.

To top it off, the Colt was $400.00 more! I don't have to tell you which company got my hard earned Lurker bucks.

L

33 posted on 04/22/2004 4:21:12 PM PDT by Lurker ("Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite"-Robert Heinlein)
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To: Charles Martel
My semi-educated guess is that they *really* perceive H&K as a serious threat. Heckler & Koch is the new player in the AR business - and they are serious about military contracts.


Word is that the HK M4 exists to give their new US factory something to build, until they (hopefully) get the contract for the replacement: the HK XM8(?)
34 posted on 04/22/2004 5:01:45 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Lurker
I know what you're saying. I've seen two post86 dealer sample M16s made on RRA lowers. RRA makes nice receivers. My 9mm upper for my M16 was from RRA. Their 9mm bolt was finished as nice as a Colt bolt and the ARMS rear sight fit it perfectly.

Once this cosmetic ban goes away I'll buy a Colt with eeeeeeeeeeevil features. In some cases I don't mind paying for the name and this is one of them.
I like Bushy for custom stuff like varmint and DCM uppers but I prefer Colt when I'm trying to stick to milspec-ish stuff. Not that I'd pass up a deal on a clean Bushy though....
35 posted on 04/22/2004 6:46:27 PM PDT by nerdwithamachinegun (All generalizations are wrong.)
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