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Old 05-25-2013, 02:22 PM   #50 (permalink)
Mad Science of Paintball
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Join Date: Jul 2011

Originally Posted by No Mercy Ever View Post
Nope, SP and WDP basically co-held the patent.
-That wasn't determined until later.

What happened was (in brief) that SP hired an outside company, called PneuVentures, to invent and manufacture a new electronically controlled paintball gun. PV was a small specialty shop that had built (supposedly) parts for NASA, among others, so it wasn't a huge stretch- the result was the original PneuVentures Shocker, which PV made and SP marketed and sold.

The gun, despite being huge, heavy and a massive gas hog, sold surprisingly well. Rumor has it that SP eventually placed a huge order for them with PV, and deliberately didn't pay (or there was some other snafu that resulted in PV not getting paid.)

PV had had to overextend themselves to purchase the materials, parts and farm out some of the work, and without the payment from the buyer, had to default and went bankrupt.

SP then bought all the intellectual property from the bankruptcy auction, for pennies on the dollar, and immediately filed for a patent on the Shocker.

The senior Gardner was a patent attorney (who had already had a run-in with the law over patent schemes years before) and eventually modified/continued the patent to cover not just the Shocker, but the very idea of using electricity to initiate firing a paintball.

Once it was so modified, they finally let it finish filing properly- and naturally enough, by this time the electro market was taking off, with guns being made by AKA, ICD, AGD, WDP and others. But the date of the patent filing predated all of those, having been 'continued' several times for several years.

So the upshot was, that SP suddenly had a patent on the idea of using electricity, and a marketful of people suddenly "infringing". So naturally they started leaning on those companies for royalties. Some paid up (Bob Long) some worked out a complementary deal (DYE, who owned the patent that SP needed to build the new-style '03 and later Shockers) some said FU and stopped making electros (AKA) and some got dragged into court. (ICD.)

Finally, SP and WDP faced off in court. WDP found the PneuVentures guys, who had reams of documentation covering the development of the original Shocker, while- in court- the Gardners couldn't remember anything about what they did to invent the gun, or, in some cases, even describe how the gun actually worked.

The PV guy was found to be part owner of the SP patent- you know, having developed the gun for SP- and WDP bought his portion of the rights from him. (For a rumored $50K.) So the final upshot being that WDP became part owner of the SP patent, which more or less put an end to that phase of the Patent Wars.

Later, after both SP and WDP had closed down, the IP got sold off, and is now, as I recall, owned by KEE.

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