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Sig Sauer Is Getting Sued For Patent Infringement Over Pistol The Army Just Bought
On Friday, weapons manufacturer Steyr Arms filed a patent infringement case against Sig Sauer alleging that the latter’s P250 and P320 pistols use the same “plastic housing and multifunction metal part removably mounted” Steyr patented back in 2001.
The P320, which recently won the U.S. Army's Modular Handgun System competition, was adopted by the Army as the M17 back in January. Troops with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky will receive the new sidearm first.
Sig developed the P320 from the less successful P250 in the early 2010s, long after Steyr was granted its patent. The P250 came to market in 2007, followed by the P320 in 2014. Why launch a legal challenge now?
It’s likely that the extremely lucrative and prestigious $580 million Army contract for a projected 300,000 pistols has made Sig a target for rival manufacturers: Steyr's challenge comes hot on the heels of Glock's Government Accountability Office protest lodged in February, which is still ongoing.
The P320/M17's key feature is its fiberglass-reinforced, polymer grip-frame module, which acts as the weapon’s lower frame. The modular polymer chassis allows the pistol's slide and trigger pack to be fitted to frames with different grip profiles. This system offers much improved modularity over the Beretta M9 currently used across every branch in the service.
Steyr Arms patent drawing
However, Steyr Arms claim that they hold the patent rights to this chassis system. Here's an excerpt from their patent titled, “Pistol, Whose Housing Is Composed Of Plastic,” filed in August 1999, and granted in July 2001:
"The pistol comprises a housing composed of plastic and a barrel slide… as well as a trigger mechanism. In order to allow plastics technology to be used… a single multifunction part, which is composed of metal, is inserted removably into the housing, on which multifunction part the guides for the barrel slide are formed and in which the elements of the trigger mechanism are mounted and guided."
This description is very similar to the removable internal stainless steel frame used by the P320/M17, though Steyr's patent was originally filed to protect elements of their Steyr M semi-automatic pistol series.
Sig is not the only manufacturer Steyr claims have infringed its patent. In September 2015, Steyr filled a similar complaint against Beretta USA, claiming that the .380 ACP Pico pistol, which uses a “serialized modular chassis,” wilfully and deliberately infringes on the manufacturer’s intellectual property without a license. This case is still ongoing and presumably now also encompasses Beretta's own MHS entrant, the APX, which also uses a modular frame system similar to the P320/M17's.
In the complaint filed with the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division (where the company’s U.S. factory if based), Steyr is demanding preliminary and permanent injunctions against Sig Sauer to prevent them from selling the infringing pistols.
It seems from the opening court documents filed by Steyr that the company have a compelling case, but patent infringement cases can take months or years to be settled. How this will impact on SIG's contract with the U.S. Army to supply the M17 is unclear. It is likely that Steyr is seeking a lucrative financial settlement in return for a licensing agreement.
Task & Purpose has approached Steyr Arms for comment on the lawsuit, however, but did not receive a response at time of publication.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.
Editor's note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia announced on Monday it would hold a large test of its Strategic Missile Forces that will see it fire ballistic and cruise missiles from the land, sea and air this week.
The exercise, from Oct. 15-17, will involve around 12,000 military personnel, as well as aircraft, including strategic nuclear bombers, surface ships and submarines, Russia's Ministry of Defense said in a statement.