An ammunition company won big in a lawsuit against the federal government. It has taken over 3 years, but Liberty Ammunition finally got their ruling after suing the Department of Defense in 2011. The suit claimed that the Department of the Army used Liberty’s trade secrets to produce “enhanced performance rounds” for military rifles that were nearly identical to a bullet Liberty patented. So how much did the ammo company win?
Over 15 MILLION dollars!
From the Bradenton Herald:
U.S. Federal Court of Claims Judge Charles F. Lettow filed a decision Dec. 19 in which he found the federal government had infringed on Liberty’s patent for its copper-core, steel-tipped ammunition. Lettow ordered the government to pay two levels of damages, the first being a $15.6 million lump payment. The government was also ordered to pay a 1.4-cent royalty on every bullet it purchases and receives for use. It will make those payments until Liberty’s patent expires in 2027.
Founded by Manatee County resident and inventor P.J. Marx, Liberty Ammunition produces ammunition for the U.S. military and foreign militaries allies and markets personal defense and hunting rounds through a small number of distributors and dealers. It also sells law enforcement ammunition.
The CEO of Liberty,Â George Phillips, was thrilled with the decision.
“We feel we’re totally vindicated that PJ Marx is the inventor of the enhanced performance round and that the court was absolutely clear in its decision,”
Since 1995, the army has been trying to develop lead-free ammunition in an effort to cut down on lead pollution. Traditional bullets have cores made of lead.Â The Army and its ammunition developers made several unsuccessful attempts.
After September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. PJ Marx developed his own lead free bullets.Â Marx first presented his ammunition designs to the Army in 2004.. He formed Liberty the next year.
According to court documents, Army officials tested Liberty ammunition, but eventually chose to develop its lead-free ammunition in partnership with Minneapolis-based aerospace and defense contractor ATK.
The federal court that decided the trademark infringement case found that the ammunition designed through the partnership derived its advanced characteristics from Liberty’s designs. Marx filed for a patent for his ammunition in 2005 and received that patent in 2010. The military’s lead-free ammunition was fielded in Afghanistan in 2010.
The department of defense has until February 19 to appeal the courtâ€™s decision.