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Old 05-25-2013, 03:17 PM   #51 (permalink)
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What's the exact patent number?
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:23 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
-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.

Doc.
jesus that's pretty evil no wonder sp gets lots of hate
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:25 AM   #53 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by crisscross1993 View Post
jesus that's pretty evil no wonder sp gets lots of hate
-Yep. I may have some of the exact times and dates a little off, but a lot of that is cold, hard fact. Another MCB'er uses a sig quote from the court judge, who stated- on record, in court- that he didn't think that Billy or Adam Garner could have developed the Shocker, based on their statements in court.

I wrote a couple of somewhat-more-detailed posts about it over the years over at the Tinker's Guild,which Vintage Rex archived. (They didn't keep the hotlinks to Gardner's FTC case, though...)

It's also rumored that SP's flagship product- their "spiral rifled" ported barrels- was also more or less stolen.

The short story there is that way back in the beginning ('89, '90-ish) there really weren't any "custom" or aftermarket barrels. You shot whatever barrel your gun came with, period.

SP started selling what were essentially just stock barrels, but with holes drilled in them in a spiral, "rifled" pattern. Early on, they literally just bought stock barrels from the manufacturers, drilled them, and resold them.

Since they were basically the only "custom" barrel you could get, they sold like hotcakes- SP also, of course, hyped the heck out of them, showing ads in the magazines describing how the porting would 'disconnect the ball from the gas column' and so on.

After a few years, the income from those sales allowed them to buy machinery to start having their own barrels made, and the SP manufacturing juggernaut took off.

However, rumor has it that one of the All-Americans at the time (the team apparently predated the company) came up with the idea for the porting for- get this- a self squeeging barrel.

The idea was that the holes gave a place for the paint in the barrel to go, and the next shot would "squeegee" it into the holes, where the air pressure of the shot would then blow it out.

Well, that of course didn't work out that way, but for whatever reason SP decided to run with it as a product- and even patented it.

But under the Gardner's own name, NOT that of the guy that (supposedly) thought it up. Which (again supposedly) led to that player leaving the AA's.

So basically- again, if true- SP was a shady company from the very beginning. And Bill, Sr.s slapdown by the Federal Trade Commission predated even that, so basically SP was shady even before there was an SP.

Doc.
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:26 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P0E View Post
What's the exact patent number?
-I believe it's this one. (PDF warning.)

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Old 05-27-2013, 05:44 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
-That wasn't determined until later.
Yes Doc. I am very aware of all of that. I was responding to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autocockerfan View Post
I remember Sp going suite crazy. When paintball news was still in print I vividly remember when they went after WDP and had their assess headed to them because WDP showed/brought evidence that the electro patent was already held by somebody else, not SP. That was the last time Sp ever sued anybody. It was because they couldn't, the patent wasn't theirs to start with. Sp became very quiet after that, and then folded.
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