How To Kill A Patent

Unpatented but Legally Potent It all started when I was on Facebook, innocently minding my own business. OK, as usual I was actually minding everyone else’s business on Facebook. Sometimes, when Karmen hears me typing furiously in the next room she calls out: “Honey, is someone wrong on the Internet again?” I have a zillion Facebook friends in the industry, so I sometimes catch wind of new trends before things go viral. On one recent day, it was a post about a gun company that sells stocks with an embedded bubble level to help avoid aiming errors caused by a rifle  [...]

The Royalty Dream

How to License Your Inventions Even More Fun Than Making Gun Stuff? Before sharing the secrets of licensing inventions and living the dream of strolling to the mailbox to pick up checks, there is a bit of news. The other dream of most gun designers, executives, and business owners is to sell to the Big Boys. For the third time in recent years, another of my clients has been bought by Smith & Wesson for a presumed nine-figure price-tag. A few years ago, it was Thompson Center Arms a respected old New Hampshire company with a knack for making barrels and having  [...]

Why My Client Thanked Me When I Told Him His Baby Was Ugly

Because I’m constantly advising clients having branding challenges to read this old newsletter article, I decided to break my rule against reruns. Based on the feedback I have gotten, this may be one of the most valuable articles I have written in a long time. I hope you think it’s a “keeper” even the second time around. Guess who kept Daddy too busy to write a new article this month? I’ve been getting rather cheeky lately. I’ve even risked being a little obnoxious and occasionally offending clients. You see, sometimes when I should quietly follow my  [...]

Why are you still marketing to Poor people?

Our Industry’s Missing Market Segment Almost Nothing to Do With Guns, But... Have you ever sat down to a big round table with a bunch of industry folks, and the conversation just didn’t quite get off the ground? I had a dinner last month with a good client, but with a bunch of key people I didn’t yet know very well. When the conversation stalled, I got out my conversational secret weapon: “So what hobbies and enthusiasms do y’all have outside of shooting?” When I ask this old standby question, I learn just how diverse we are. The responses ranged from  [...]

The Trump Slump?

Notes from the NRA Show - So Gossipy It's Scary Not a Photo of Donald Trump - but Close There’s plenty of debate whether Trump’s election is good for our industry, or not. The Gun Salesmen of the Year is now giving million-dollar speeches, so everyone is back to relying on their own salesmen. Fear in the marketplace is no longer driving sales, especially for commodity level magazines and lowers whose bans had previously been coveted by the Democrats. Speaking of which, I was having a quiet dinner at the bar of a restaurant on Friday after a day in the exhibit  [...]

When a Trademark Mistake Can Land You in Prison

And My Idea for a “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” Card Not: "You're Fired" I tell people that I enjoy my patent and trademark work because at least no one can end up in jail. Then I saw a news story that made me realize otherwise. It involved a Mesa, Arizona police shooting. Never mind whether the shooting was justified, but lawyers for the “victim” are raising the issue of an inscription on a part of the officer’s AR-15 duty rifle. Those AR-15 dust covers seem to be a clean slate begging for expression in the minds of many gun owners, so customized versions are  [...]