On December 30, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle granted Rare Breed Triggers (rarebreedtriggers.com) a preliminary injunction against outdoor sporting goods distributor, Big Daddy Unlimited (BDU). Also included was the trigger manufacturer, Wide Open Enterprises (WOE).
Rare Breed Triggers Wins the Opening Round of their Lawsuit
While not completely unheard of, preliminary injunctions in a patent infringement cases are extremely rare. To obtain a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must convince a judge that they have a high likelihood of prevailing. Additionally they need to prove that they will suffer irreparable harm if the accused infringement continues.
Judge Hinkle recognized that “[u]ntil recently, the FRT-15 was the only product on the market that operates in this way—the only product covered by this patent. Now, though, the defendant Wide Open Enterprises, LLC manufactures and sells the ‘Wide Open’ trigger—a device that was plainly copied from the FRT-15.”
He further noted:
[I]t cannot be said that the harm Rare Breed will suffer from continued infringement will necessarily be remediable by an award of damages. The defendant Wide Open Enterprises, LLC was formed solely to sell the Wide Open trigger; if ultimately held liable, it need only turn out the lights, lock the door, and walk away. A money judgment might well be uncollectible. The other defendant, Big Daddy Enterprises, Inc., is an ongoing business not limited to a single product, but its ability to respond to a substantial judgment may be unclear. More importantly, Big Daddy is a distributor who participates in only some, not all, of the infringing sales, so a damages award against Big Daddy might not make Rare Breed whole.
The Judge’s Orders to Big Daddy Unlimited and Wide Open Enterprises
Judge Hinkle ordered that “the defendants must not manufacture, market, sell, offer to sell, import, or transfer possession of any Wide Open trigger or substantially similar device.”
Additionally he specified that the “preliminary injunction binds the defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys-and others in active concert or participation with any of them-who receive actual notice of this preliminary injunction by personal service or otherwise.”
Any participant in the supply chain, from manufacturer to importer to retailer, can be fully liable for patent infringement.
Lawrence DeMonico, President of Rare Breed Triggers stated:
Now that we’ve been granted a preliminary injunction against these two infringing companies, we can shift fire and refocus our efforts on bigger and better things. One, we are still actively engaged in our battle against the DOJ/ATF. And two, we are right around the corner from bringing two new FRT models to market.”
DeMonico further stated that he would “like to take this opportunity to put on the record for everyone to hear, we take the defense of our patent rights very seriously and will prosecute any and all infringers with the ferocity of a CAT 5 hurricane.”
Background on the Case
Previously headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Rare Breed Triggers has recently relocated its corporate office to Fargo, North Dakota. The FRT-15™ trigger is their current flagship product, which received its patent in December of 2019. Rare Breed Triggers formally brought the trigger to market in December 2020.
Shortly after launching the FRT-15™, Rare Breed Triggers entered into an agreement with Florida based Big Daddy Unlimited. The agreement allowed BDU act as Rare Breed’s sole distributor of the FRT-15™ trigger. Immediately after, Rare Breed learned that BDU planned to launch what appeared to be a knockoff of the FRT-15™.
Wide Open Enterprises and Big Daddy Unlimited announced plans to launch the WOT in mid-August of 2021. Rare Breed served WOE and BDU with a cease-and-desist on 08/31/2021. The letter’s demands were simple: do not bring the WOT to market or a lawsuit would follow. WOE launched their trigger a week later on September 7th. Rare Breed’s suit for patent infringement hit exactly a week later.
Another Possible Infringing Product?
Recently, Big Daddy Unlimited hosted its annual Epic Shoot event in Fleming, Georgia, where they displayed, promoted, and demonstrated the WOT. In addition to the WOT, BDU also demonstrated another trigger the plaintiffs and their counsel have determined also infringes the patent, the Graves Star-Fire V2 trigger. According to attendees at the event, BDU plans to have the Graves trigger manufactured by Valor Arms/Valor Manufacturing located in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
Lawrence DeMonico, President of Rare Breed Triggers, stated that he plans to sue Big Daddy Unlimited and the manufacturer of the Graves trigger. If the Graves trigger goes on sale, Rare Breed will sue. Rare Breed might not to need a new lawsuit, however. The Graves trigger’s design is similar enough that the judge could consider it included in the order. Rare Breed Triggers representation are Glenn D. Bellamy and Charles D. Pfister of Wood Herron & Evans LLP. Big Daddy Enterprises and Wide Open Enterprises represenation are Daniel C. Johnson and Eleanor M. Yost of Carlton Fields P.A