Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

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)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]


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.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies ]

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.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article


FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson