Magistrate chides ‘bloated filings’ in long-running gun dispute

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A federal magistrate judge in a protracted trademark dispute over the design of competing firearms took aim Tuesday at lawyers he said were slowing the case.

Gunmaker Heckler & Koch Inc. manufactures the MP5 submachine gun and sued German Sport Guns GMHB and American Tactical Imports Inc., alleging the defendants’ GSG-522 firearm infringed on its trade dress, copying particular design elements of gun parts. The defendants countersued, and nearly 500 filings have been entered in the case record.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana granted H&K partial summary judgment in December and denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Defendants filed a second motion for summary judgment, which Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker denied in an order Tuesday, agreeing with H&K that the motion amounted to “a second bite at the proverbial apple with no good cause.”

Baker wrote that the motion also strayed from a case management plan that he’d previously warned would be strictly enforced.

“Granting Defendants’ second motion for summary judgment would allow Defendants to brief issues that Plaintiffs argue the Court already discussed in its summary judgment order,” Baker wrote in Heckler & Koch, Inc. et al v. German Sport Guns GMBH et al, 1:11-CV-01108. “This would further delay this case – already pending for more than three and a half years.

“Ironically, Defendants assert that a second motion for summary judgment will avoid wasting judicial resources. Given the bloated filings in this litigation, Defendants’ suggestion that this motion will somehow alleviate the court’s workload is hardly persuasive,” he wrote.  

Plaintiffs have moved for a trial date setting before Barker. Defendants have opposed the motion, and a date has not yet been set.

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