Yesterday the interwebs went high and to the right over a letter leaked to the press from Smith & Wesson accusing some custom shops of intellectual property infringement over some of its handguns.
Smith accused Apex, Brownells, DP Custom Works, Blowndeadline and SSVi of “unlawful modification” of its M&P handguns and “unauthorized use” of its trademark in a strongly-worded letter that hinted at legal action.
Just a day later, Smith & Wesson and Brownells issued a joint statement backing off Smith’s claims and trying to make nice with the after-market parts colossus. Brownells has been showcasing its so-called “Dream Guns” M&P that portrays an otherwise stock handgun tricked out with new parts to make the pistol sing.
“Our decision to contact the companies that worked on the project was intended to protect the trademarks that support the M&P brand,” said Smith & Wesson president James Debney. “When a product bears the Smith & Wesson and M&P trademarks and is purchased new with our lifetime service policy, we want to be sure that the consumer knows it has passed our demanding quality standards. In our efforts to protect that promise and to preserve the brand that we and our customers cherish, we did not fully understand the intent of the Dream Guns® Project and we overlooked the opportunity to convey our enthusiasm for the creativity and innovation that Brownells and all of the companies involved have demonstrated.”
And Brownells accepted the apology with magnanimity.
“Yesterday I spoke with James Debney, President of Smith & Wesson, who called me regarding the M&P Brownells/Apex Dream Gun,” said Matt Buckingham, Brownells President. “It was a simple misunderstanding about the intention of the project. He made it clear that Smith & Wesson is excited to have their product featured in this fun and unique way. For our part, we are honored to include it in our Dream Gun lineup. Smith & Wesson is a legendary brand in this industry and we continue to be proud partners with them.”
The response from Apex was not quite so diplomatic, accusing Smith & Wesson on its Instagram page of bullying gun buyers and trying to control the handgun after it’s purchased. The post has since been removed.