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Picture of Poacher
posted
If there is such a thing?

It seems that whenever someone comes out with a new cartridge, anyone can manufacture it almost immediately, and anyone can build a gun chambered in it.

Does no one patent ammo? If not, why?

Night shift gives me too much time to think about things...




NRA Life Member

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Teddy Roosevelt
 
Posts: 1837 | Location: Clear Lake, TX | Registered: January 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would think they would want max availability to ensure the success of the caliber.

The shooting world is already full of lots of unique calibers that are tough to find decent ammo selection.

And a lot have died off also...

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Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
 
Posts: 5210 | Location: Eastern NC | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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In addition to the fact that new cartridges often languish without being adopted to any significant degree and an inventor would probably not want to make it worse by restricting its use, there’s the issue of what can be patented at all. I’m hardly an authority, but a general rule is that the invention must be something significantly different from “prior art” (IIRC). A patent examiner might look very skeptically at something that consisted of the same sort of case, propellant, primer, and projectile that make up countless other cartridges that have been around for well over a century.

Perhaps something like a new caliber (i.e., bullet diameter) might qualify as a patentable invention, but in looking at current and obsolete cartridges, it seems to me it would be difficult to find one that hadn’t already been used. Plus developing a new and unique diameter bullet would only make getting it adopted by shooters and manufacturers even worse.




“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
 
Posts: 35791 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Persian
Picture of PPGMD
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Not a patent, but 300 Whisper languished because the developer trademarked 300 Whisper. So instead of having a whole bunch of carbines chambered for it other companies were doing weird names even though it was the same chambering.


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Posts: 19513 | Location: At the wall | Registered: February 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Poacher
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All good points, and I guess trademark makes more sense than patent. And making sure "your" cartridge survives is more important than anything else.




NRA Life Member

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Teddy Roosevelt
 
Posts: 1837 | Location: Clear Lake, TX | Registered: January 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I know little about the legal ramifications of patented ammo, or even if it's possible. In this age of calibers up the wazoo and wildcats galore, keeping tight control over a new chambering surely won't help it break into the market.

Consider 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel -- somewhat similar chamberings, introduced about the same time, as the latest and greatest option for an AR-15. Alexander's licensing of the 6.5 Grendel almost certainly has contributed to the Grendel's lackluster market share. Both are actually pretty decent chamberings, although their acceptance is way below that of 223/556. In reality, bolt and magazine issues haven't helped either chambering.

How about 6.5 Creedmoor? The Remy .260 was there first, but Remington didn't really produce/promote the rifle to use it. Lapua's 6.5x47 probably could have been the star -- great brass & accuracy, but uber expensive loaded ammo. Many thought the 6.5 Creedmoor would be a flash in the pan, but reasonably priced quality ammo and respectable rifles chambered in the 6.5 Creed has resulted in many eating crow. And now Lapua sells brass for the Creedmoor -- there's an irony. Creedmoor's growing acceptance wouldn't have occurred with patents or licensing.

On to handguns -- it's been awhile since a fairly widely accepted caliber has hit the market. Maybe only .40S&W and .357Sig since the 1990's? I suspect neither one would have gone very far with patent or license restrictions.

Bottom line -- patenting ammo probably doesn't make sense.
 
Posts: 4426 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Poacher
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About what I figured, just didn't know for sure.




NRA Life Member

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Teddy Roosevelt
 
Posts: 1837 | Location: Clear Lake, TX | Registered: January 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:

On to handguns -- it's been awhile since a fairly widely accepted caliber has hit the market. Maybe only .40S&W and .357Sig since the 1990's? I suspect neither one would have gone very far with patent or license restrictions.

Bottom line -- patenting ammo probably doesn't make sense.


No doubt - anyone shoot a .45 GAP lately? How about a .41 Action Express?

Even the .357Sig is fairly modest in terms of availability. Miles and miles behind 9mm, .45acp, and even the .40cal.

---------------------------------------


Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
 
Posts: 5210 | Location: Eastern NC | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
Picture of ArtieS
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While technically ammo as an assembled unit could be patented if a design were both an advance on the state of the art and not obvious from the prior art, it's a pretty high bar to climb.

Much more common, is patenting particular bullet constructions and designs, such as the blend of metals if made of an alloy, the method of manufacture, such as pressing powdered metal into a frangible, the particular shape, the composition if made of multiple types of material, the shape of the hollow cavity, or other interior geometry issues or characteristics that are new and unique and add to bullet performance.

It might also be possible to patent a particular formula of new gunpowder, unless you are using a blend of two already available powders. If that is the case, the mixture could be protected under trade secret law, but not patented. Note that you can't hand load Hornady Superformance Ammo, and Hornady doesn't publish the recipe in their loading manuals. This is because they are using a blend of powders to get the pressure curve and burn rate that they are looking for, the mix is proprietary and trade secret and the method of mixing so that the powders don't separate in the loaded ammo during storage and transportation may be proprietary and trade secret.

All of those elements could be patented an are by various manufacturers.

All of this being said, you couldn't patent a .310 lead core, copper jacketed bullet simply because it's bigger than a .308 and smaller than a .312.



We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled. - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012
 
Posts: 7694 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
We gonna get some
oojima in this house!
Picture of smithnsig
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Didnt the .327 Federal Magnum languish because Federal was the only one who could produce the cartridge for a while? I thought I read that somewhere but I may wel have dreamed it up.


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9mm
.38 special
7.62x39
.308
 
Posts: 4686 | Location: BPensacola, Florida | Registered: September 28, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:

On to handguns -- it's been awhile since a fairly widely accepted caliber has hit the market. Maybe only .40S&W and .357Sig since the 1990's?


A lot of that likely has to do with law enforcement agencies adopting those calibers, which drove up their popularity in the rest of the market. (Though Lord knows Glock tried their damndest to carve out a piece of the market for .45 GAP that way too, and it never really stuck.)

In the civilian market, .327 Magnum has managed some small success since its introduction about 10 years ago. It's certainly nowhere near as popular as 9/40/357, but it's not exactly obscure either.
 
Posts: 16929 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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