By Debbie Gregory.
Firearms manufacturer Steyr Arms claims that their 2001 patent for a removable gun chassis system has been infringed upon by Sig Sauer’s P320 and P250 series handguns. The company has filed a patent infringement case.
Sig Sauer had recently been awarded a contract to make the Army’s next service pistol based on the company’s P320 handgun.
The Modular Handgun System competition was decided with an announcement in late January that SIG Sauer had beaten out FN, Glock, and Beretta for the more than $500 million dollar contract for future 21st Century U.S. Army sidearms. A protest on the decision from Glock is still pending a Government Accounting Office (GAO) ruling, which is expected by early June.
The U.S. Army had selected the Model P320 to replace the M9 service pistol currently in use since the mid-1980’s. Released in 2014, the P320 polymer striker-fired pistol had proven itself in both the United States and worldwide markets.
The 10-year agreement called for Sig Sauer to supply the Army with both compact and full-size versions of the gun. It’s likely that the Army’s $580 million contract made Sig Sauer a target for rival manufacturers.
Steyr Arms claim that they hold the patent rights to the 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.
Steyr Arms is demanding preliminary and permanent injunctions against Sig Sauer to prevent them from selling the infringing pistols.
Patent infringement cases can be held up in the court system for months or years before they are settled. So the question remains, how this will this pending litigation impact SIG Sauer’s contract with the U.S. Army ?
It is likely that Steyr is seeking a lucrative financial settlement in return for a licensing agreement.