An ammunition manufacturer in Bradenton, Florida, will collect more than $15 million from the U.S. government after a judge ruled the defense department infringed on one of the company's patents.
Liberty Ammunition first filed suit against the government in 2011 once it discovered the U.S. Army had used at least some of its patented trade secrets to develop lead-free bullets for military rifles. The Florida manufacturer currently has nine patents and has filed for several more, according to the Bradenton Herald.
Liberty Ammunition is known for selling ammunition to the U.S. military, foreign military allies and U.S. law enforcement agencies. It also markets personal defense and hunting rounds through a number of distributors and dealers.
Following the court's December 19 decision, Liberty CEO George Philips told the Herald
that he feels "totally vindicated" by court's decision that his company is in fact the inventor of the bullet, called the "enhanced performance round."
In the decision, U.S. Federal Court of Claims Judge Charles Lettow ordered the government to pay Liberty Ammunition a lump sum of $15.6 million in addition to a 1.4-cent royalty on every bullet it buys and receives until the patent expires in 2027.
Image source: Getty Images.
According to court documents
, Liberty Ammunition owner PJ Marx met with defense department officials in during the development of the ammunition to try to sell his design to the government for military use. The filings point out that each person signed a non-disclosure agreement, barring them from sharing or copying any of ideas that were being presented to them.
The Army eventually decided to partner with Minneapolis-based defense contractor ATK. Lettow's ruling found that the government infringed upon Liberty's design patent through its partnership with ATK, the Bradenton Herald reported
The department of defense did not immediately respond to questions from TheBlaze on Tuesday. It has until February 19 to appeal the court's decision.