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Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Spec.-K, Oct 4, 2011.
Should I try and patent it...?
Get SAAMI spec...?
Welcome to the wonderful world of wildcat cartridges!
(One source of gunsmithing equipment has a library of over 6,000 different wildcat cartridges...)
Unless this cartridge is truly unique or revolutionary, I wouldn't bother with a patent or SAAMI.
What does this cartridge do that others currently do not?
Every time I get the urge to develop a Wildcat Cartridge I ask this very question.
Most times the answer is "nothing, really". In some cases the only real value is to get some more life from an old barrel by re-chambering to this "new and improved" cartridge. Why not just replace that old "shot out" barrel and save the hassle?
It offers plenty of advantages like longer casing life, ease of reloading, higher efficiency, to name a few...
And I know it hasn't been done before, so I'm really just looking how to bring it to market...
I think the patent would be a good way, to protect my intellectual property, but I also want it to sell/spread like wildfire, so my friend said I want to get it SAAMI spec...
Anyone have experience in this regard...?
Sorry, no experience from me but I do wish you the best of luck.
You're not even gonna tell us what you've got wildcatted? Oh, c'mon!
Hope you have deep pockets for the patent and even deeper pockets to defend your patent if someone tries to copy it. I have a friend who patented some electrical stuff and then had to defend it. It almost bankrupted his company. It was to the tune of $800k in legal defense. Then you have the marketing side of things. I wish you and your product well though. This will be very expensive for you.
You will find out if it "has ever been done before" when they do the patent search. Don't be surprised if it was thought of previously.
Example: Ever hear of "everlasting" cartridge cases? Somewhat popular in the 1880's. Thicker brass, easy to reload. long casing life,
probably more efficient with the smaller powder capacity. Came back around as the "steelhead" stainless steel/brass combo cartridge
case in 1985-----available in 30-06 head sizes and some belted magnums. Sounded like a great idea, I've never actually seen one.
Find a good patent lawyer and find out what is involved. Good luck to you!
Patents are expensive and, as has already been pointed out, of questionable value if you don't have deep pockets. I spent about $22K on my first one. Had another item that I got a provisional on (one year). When I went to the patent atty's to go for the real deal, they wanted $8K up front so I decided to keep manufacturing without it. So far so good. It is possible to do it yourself but the rules are pretty arcane and amateur unfriendly.
If you have the money for the patent AND the money to get it into production, AND feel like taking the risk, by all means go for it.
Longer casing life? Compared to what? I have some pistol brass that's been loaded so many times the headstamps are almost invisible and no problems. I load my rifle cases as many as 40 times without failure.
Ease of reloading? The whole process is pretty easy unless your loading for something like 5.7x28 or .357.sig where the cases are still expanding when being extracted and are a bugger to resize.
Before you spend a lot of money read the story of Robert Kearns. He patented the Intermittent Windshield Wiper in 1964. Car makers just took the technology and installed it in their cars for 25 years before he was successful in court.
IF your patent is successful just be prepared to fight for it. Remember, patents are only granted for things that are uniquely "yours". Don't be to sure that someone doesn't have something just like what you are proposing sitting on the shelf somewhere. That it's not something that's been filed on years ago during the "Wildcat Boom".
Once you have a Patent you then have more decisions. Do you manufacture it yourself and then fight every foreign company that copies it? Do you Sell your rights to a big manufacturer? Do you merely license it and get regular royalty payments? Every choice brings on it's own set of issues.
Assuming this idea catches on, the Patent Process takes years. When issued it gives you exclusive rights for a limited amount of time and IIRC the clock runs from the time of application. Couple this delay with startup delays and tooling, you're looking at only an average of 15-17 years to make your fortune. Unless you "Improve" on your product it then becomes public domain and everyone then gets in the business assuming it is as great as implied.
Good luck on your endeavor. I hope you have plenty of "Bernie Bucks" (devalued US Dollars) for the tasks ahead of you.
The clock on a patent starts when the patent is granted. There are some things that will fudge it a bit one way or the other (I've forgotten the details but it wasn't much). Once you have it, it keeps costing you in maintenance fees at 3-1/2 years, 7 years, and IIRC 14 years at an ever increasing price.
I've designed a lot of stuff over the years. I've frequently been asked by people "you patented that didn't you?" or "are you going to patent that?". Like they think all you have to do is send in the form or something. I have to refrain from laughing. Very few people have any clue what's involved.
Here's another "fly in the ointment".
What Can Be Patented - Understanding Novelty Useful and Nonobvious
The item has to have differences that are "non-obvious".
Patents on new cartridges fall under "design patent" and while the cartridge may be uniquely yours, that really tends to not to be to your benefit, just look at the .300 whisper vs the .300AAC. The two cartridges are so close as to be nearly identical, however in less than a year, the .300AAC has completely wiped out the market for .300 whisper because it's standardized, anyone can make it, and thus it immediately put the prices for it low enough that lots of people bought it.
I played the wildcatting game when I was younger, making a few variants of the .223, in .257 cal and in 6.5mm it was fun while it lasted, but after a few years I just got tired of making brass for it, and sold off the barrels. One of them got rechambered in .257 roberts, and the other is probably living amongst us as a 6.5TCU. Getting chamber reamers cut was somewhat expensive, but not obscenely so, and CH4D will make dies for you.
I hate to say it, but the question you really need to answer is what does it do that isn't already out there. There are remarkably few cartridges that do something nothing else does. Personally, I think a .17 or .20 cal wildcat based on the 5.7 would be neat, but I have slightly more than zero desire to invest in the idea, because I can buy a box of .17HMR for $12 at walmart.
As far as brass life and efficiency, check with the benchrest guys, I've seen them go to the range for a day with only 5 casings that were reloaded all day long, probably in excess of 20-30 times that day. Same goes for ease of reloading.
Look at most of the cartridges that have become successful in recent years, the .17HMR cartridge has been the biggest success by far, the WSM cartridges have gathered something of a following, as have the RUM calibers, but the WSSM cartridges just didn't last, and from what I've seen most of the RCM calibers will probably also go the way of the dodo in the next 10 years. Right now the biggest success in the high power rifle calibers is probably .338 lapua because of it's adoption by military snipers. Suddenly everyone wants to play military sniper, even though the .338 remington ultramag outperforms it by about 10%.
Maybe not play "military sniper" but might like the fact that shooting "military calibers" tends to be less expensive than shooting "exotic's". From the Surplus or "overrun" ammo that often is available to the availability of brass from de-mil contractors, shooting a military caliber is much cheaper and just as much fun. As for having a special cartridge for hunting????? Game Animals still get killed quite well by old 30-30's, 30-06's, and for that matter even old 45-70's.
Heh, if you see any military contract production overrun .338 lapua let me know, I'll buy all of it for resale. .338lapua is getting over $100/box in most places, the lowly .338 RUM goes for about $80.
I totally agree though, military calibers always have an edge in terms of civilian adoption nearly without exception, despite the obvious that you may not need a military caliber, but one designed before 1900. This is part of the reason I am so tickled when companies announce new calibers. I still laugh constantly at .45GAP... it's an answer to a question no one asked.
Be patient. It will be there. Wait until they don't "rotate the stock" so much in Afghanistan.
At least there will be brass available for the reloader. Not like the Weatherby 30-378 where brass seems to be only available from Weatherby and one needs to assume the "Digital Rectal Exam" position when buying same.
get me reloadable casing that can be easily picked up with a magnet for the sake of easier cleanup after a long session of shooting
Sellier and Bellot has sold ammo with steel cases and boxer primers for several years. Brass plated too. You can pick it up with a magnet and reload it if you don't mind the extra effort required for sizing.
For the rest of the brass pickup, a company called UniqueTek sells the "Brass Wizard"
$45 and it works on concrete, grass, sand, etc.
Thanks for all the input guys, I'm still trying to decide...
Not having the means to get anything more than the initial provisional patent, would you-
1) Just produce your casing and hope people choose to ONLY buy it from you?
2) Hold out, patent, then produce?
3) Seek a loan to do option 2?
Kind of depends on what you have. Is it a design breakthrough that will work
in all EXISTING chamberings? Just some calibers? No existing calibers--If I buy
100 of your wundercases I get a free chambering reamer? I guess what I'm
saying is if you are targeting a small niche market, just make the darned things.
If you think you have something that will work in a broad spectrum of existing
calibers, and it's going to take the world by storm---better get that patent.
I am kind of curious as to what you think you have. People have been "improving"
self contained cartridges for over 150 years and other than electric ignition and a
few flops (gyro-jet, dardick tround, and a few plastic/composite cases) I can't
think of one "great leap forward" in the last 50 years. Well--maybe plastic