A federal judge has sided with SIG Sauer in a suit brought by an Alabama gunmaker who claimed the New Hampshire firearms manufacturer infringed on its patent for a handgun with a plastic housing and a key metal part.
In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph DiClerico Jr. denied a summary judgment requested by Steyr Arms Inc., which claimed that SIG Sauer had used Steyr technology for a plastic housing and multifunctional metal part in its P250 and P320 handgun models.
DiClerico ordered the case closed and dismissed other motions filed by Steyr as moot.
Steyr obtained a patent for the technology in 2001. It is unclear whether Steyr ever produced a product in line with the patent.
The infringement suit was filed in May 2017 in U.S. District Court in Concord. A trial would have been held May 5 if the case had survived summary judgment. Summary judgment is a key hurdle in a civil case. It involves a judge assuming all facts in the plaintiff’s favor and then making a ruling based on the law.
The case focused on the “multifunctional metal part” that was part of Steyr’s patent.
SIG Sauer claimed the part in its guns was different from the Steyr part because SIG Sauer relied on a removable pin for its multifunctional part to lock the barrel in the barrel slide. The removable pin meant that the SIG Sauer component did not replicate the patent that Steyr holds, the judge ruled.
“Because the accused pistols do not include a bridge that is an integral, inseparable part of the one-piece multifunction metal part, they do not literally infringe Claim 1 of the ‘301 Patent,” DiClerico wrote.
Efforts to obtain a comment from SIG Sauer and the lead attorney for Steyr were unsuccessful.
SIG Sauer no longer lists the P250 on its website, but it does offer components for the product.
The P320 is the subject of another lawsuit, brought by an owner who calls the model defective, claiming it inadvertently fires when dropped to the ground. Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante heard arguments in a class action suit brought by Arizona resident Derick Ortiz over the P320.
SIG Sauer has urged the claim be dismissed, noting Ortiz has not been injured and the company has implemented a voluntary upgrade program.