SIG Sauer Academy

GIBBZ Arms Modular Attachment (GAMA) Goes After Magpul’s M-Lok Patent

During SHOT Show there were murmurs about a looming patent confrontation between Gibbz Arms and Magpul. It seems that Gibbz Arms had developed an accessory attachment system for firearms that they were about to release under the name of GAMA, for GIBBZ Arms Modular Attachment. Below are the components of GAMA.

 

Granted, Gibbz hasn’t publicly used the word ‘Magpul’ but the primary similar design to what we see here is M-Lok. There is also the Manticore Arms ARC LOK system so perhaps Gibbz Arms is going after them as well.  But regardless, Magpul M-LOK has been mentioned to me more than once in connection with this move by Gibbz Arms.

Yesterday, Gibbz not only formally announced the product, but we are told they also started sending out notices to licensees of Magpul’s M-Lok attachment system. Below is an example. No word yet on whether they’ve contacted Magpul or Manticore Arms directly as well.

Gibbz is looking for its own licensees and at this point, we don’t know what the terms of that license looks like. However, we do know that licensees of M-Lok don’t pay any fees and that they entered into their agreements with Magpul in good faith. It will be interesting to see how recipients of these letters react.


(Click to download PDF)

This is the Gibbz patent application.  Don’t let the dates lull you into just dismissing this off hand.  Although you notice a filing date of 21 September, 2015 and a publication date of 14 January, 2016, it’s a continuation of an application filed 26 January, 2013. And therein lies the rub. Who did what, when, and what are the claims? It sounds like Gibbz Arms and the companies with similar systems already on the street are going to have to work this one out.

 

(Click to download PDF)

Update: Below are PDFs of the original patent drawings for the GAMA System from 2013, as well as the revised drawings from 2015. Click the images to view the full document.

Original – 2013

Original

Revised – 2015

Revised

Tags: ,

26 Responses to “GIBBZ Arms Modular Attachment (GAMA) Goes After Magpul’s M-Lok Patent”

  1. Jon says:

    I’ve got to say one thing that stood out was the part about working together with a licensing agreement rather than your normal stop message. That’s pretty cool I think given they could request magpul stop producing MLok systems.

  2. Nick Pacific says:

    Nothing worse for a market than uncertainty.
    Not sure what the end game is.

  3. Lasse says:

    The systems are pretty much identical as far as I can tell… Seems like some lawyers haven’t been doing a proper patent scan before submitting their own.
    Quite frankly, I didn’t think that was even possible.

    • SSD says:

      There are some issues with dates of submissions. I would like to see Gibbz’ earlier application but the number referenced on the published application comes up not found.

  4. FairPlay says:

    After a quick look, they have no issued IP at all, and are attempting to roll up M-LOKs features in a utility application that they are then attempting to back date to a still pending design patent based on a left-handed version of the off-the shelf Bosch T-Nut. If I remember correctly, their system looked nothing like M-LOK a few weeks ago–looked more like the old MOE slots with MOE lugs and a Bosch nut in it. Now all their drawings on their web site look like M-LOK. Nothing like trying to cash in on a free system by playing with the IP system.

    • Jesse Ables says:

      Yep, though their design patent was granted 24 February 2016. They basically have a patent on an ornamental design of a MOE Slot System variant. Their attempt to file a utility patent came after M-LOK was released commercially.

      • SSD says:

        Although you notice a filing date of 21 September, 2015 and a publication date of 14 January, 2016, it’s a continuation of an application filed 26 January, 2013.

        What I want to see is what’s in that initial application from 2013. So far, I haven’t found it.

        • Jesse Ables says:

          I was referring to the original application. And my mistake – the issue notification was dated 24 February 2016, but the issue date is 15 March 2016. Type the original application number into Public PAIR (http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair) and you’ll see everything.

          • FairPlay says:

            Yes, this is an attempt to tie utility as a continuation of an original 2013 design application, but the drawings in the design application have had everything stripped out of them except the drawings of a T-Nut that look like a left handed Bosch T-Nut with teeth.

          • JT says:

            Yes. Go there and look at the submitted line drawings dated 1-26-13.
            I’d say it looks just like M-Lok.

          • SSD says:

            Thanks. IT is awesome. Couldn’t access that site earlier thanks to Windows 10 and now that I can via my iPad, I’m on an airplane and I can’t download the drawings. There are two sets.

  5. Texas-Roll-Over says:

    80/20, Bosch RexRoth, Minitec….extruded aluminum T-Slot anyone?

    • d says:

      80/20 was the first thing that came to mind. The T nut thing has been around.

      I feel like GAMA and M-Lok can coexist, but third party manufacturers will probably stick to M-Lok.

  6. Evan Hill says:

    There are a lot of different ways you could read between the lines on this one. One thing that strikes me is that if you want a piece of the action, it behooves you to wait in the shadows until there *is* some action. If these claims were made public right when M-Lok was announced, Magpul could have come to an inexpensive agreement, carefully designed around the claims, or gone a different direction entirely. Now there is a whole bunch of sunk cost and a fair amount of market acceptance so it’s a lot harder to get off the X.

  7. BAP45 says:

    Funny, my in-law build a gibbz upper and the first thing I said when he showed it to me was “oh looks like m-lock.” So there stuff has been shipping for a while since he bought a while back. I think spring of last year.

    BRW anyone know if the systems are compatible/interchangeable?

  8. Matt says:

    The frustration is that Gibbz’ design, if in fact it is “theirs,” would not be as widely successful or adopted in any scenario. KeyMod could only have been truly challenged by a company like MagPul. Their reputation, market reach, distributor chain, and resources are what made M-Lok as successful as it is, even beyond its true merits. Gibbz is small time in comparison and any argument they have that MagPul stole their thunder is exaggerated. I, and most gun owners, would have ignored their system two years ago, as well as today if it was being introduced. Hell, I gave M-Lok a year plus before buying in.

  9. DSM says:

    They are similar, no denying that.

  10. SPQR476 says:

    It has come to our attention that Gibbz Arms claims to have a utility patent application pending for an accessory attachment system for firearms, which they refer to as the “GAMA” system, and that they have recently issued a press release implying that companies that use the M-LOK system will need to pay for a license. However, we also note that this patent application wasn’t filed until September of 2015, which was long after Magpul filed for and obtained its own utility patents for the M-LOK system, and long after Magpul released its own M-LOK products to the market. Gibbz Arms appears be trying to impermissibly backdate its untimely utility patent application based on a prior design patent application that Gibbz filed in early 2013 for an ornamental design directed to a left-handed T-Nut. This 2013 design patent application was not publicly available until earlier this year.

    Magpul expects that this attempted back-dating will be unsuccessful over the long run, and that Gibbz Arms will not be able to establish that its utility patent application was timely filed. The Gibbz utility patent filing includes broad proposed claims directed towards functions that are outside the scope of what is disclosed in its prior application for an ornamental design. Regardless, the pending claims in this utility application should not be assumed to be granted—the merits of the patent still need to be determined by the U.S. Patent &Trademark Office. Magpul fully expects that Gibbz Arms will not be successful in obtaining and maintaining a valid utility patent that will pose a concern for users of the M-LOK system. Magpul is also committed to taking whatever action is necessary, including challenges before the Patent & Trademark Office and in Federal District Court, to ensure that users of the M-LOK system continue to have complete freedom to operate without interference from, or the need to obtain a license demanded by, Gibbz Arms.

  11. Francis412 says:

    Maybe I need to “lighten up”, but one of my all time peeves is substituting a “z” where an “s” will do…

  12. Stickman says:

    Go home Gibbz, you are drunk.

  13. Sven Jonsson says:

    For the record, the Manticore Arms ARC LOK system was initially issued a Provisional Patent on April 5th, 2014. In late April 2014 Drake Clark of Magpul contacted me directly via phone to discuss a possible patent infringement issue by Magpul on our ARC LOK system patent. After discussion, we agreed that a lawsuit would not benefit either party and that the market itself would benefit from options. Drake Clark and Magpul have been nothing but courteous with us in this regard.

    Gibbz Arms has not contacted us in regards to patent issues or infringements or any other issue, nor had we even heard of their company until the article was posted on Soldeir Systems on March 1st, 2016. In point of fact, the ARC LOK system is functionally different from the design of the Magpul and Gibbz mounting systems in that the rotation limitation of the locking tab on the ARC LOK system is actuated by extended lugs machined or molded directly into the accessory itself, and not by the sides of the slot as is done by the Magpul and Gibbz mounting systems. This allows the ARC LOK system to work with thinner or thicker materials than the Magpul (and presumably the Gibbz) systems can accommodate.

  14. Matt says:

    This looks like it might be patent trolling. You can file a patent and completely revise the entire content of the patent later, while maintaining the date of the original application. This makes it simple to file something very generic (2013) and then update it later to something very specific (2015), and claim ownership of the idea. This has been happening a lot in the tech sector – I’m wondering if the idea has migrated.