Protecting Your Privacy
Your Account -()- Non-Disclosure -()- Patents -()- Samples
Your dealings with us are between us. We do not sell lists of clients or publish any information about you or what you have purchased specifically from us, unless you wish to be included in our "custom bullet makers" program. To be included, you must sign a release granting us permission to promote your business, publish your name, refer other people to you, and of course let them know what products you offer.
Your financial information is no one else's business. If someone sends us a request for evaluation of your account, we will contact you before releasing even an indication of whether or not you are a client, and ask how much you want us to tell the inquiring party, if anything.
Because we maintain records of the past 20 years or so of dealing with nearly every bullet manufacturer on the planet, including a large number of defense agencies, military contractors and individuals involved in work that they wish to keep confidential (including new product developments not yet released to the public), we can look up past work and help determine such things as estate sale values, insurance replacements, additions to items purchased years ago, warranty information, and so forth. But your information is no one else's business. We only use it to help you.
Our records contain information such as date of your orders, date and method of shipment, prices, catalog numbers of items you ordered, caliber (or at least the diameter), any returns or repairs made, credits and adjustments, payments received and method of payment, and some details about the items. But there isn't room to store much more than this for tens of thousands of items each year, and there isn't physical room to store all the samples and paperwork that we receive, for any longer than it takes to get the order finished and ship it.
Therefore, if you call and ask us to make another custom punch or point forming die "just like the last one", we'll need a new sample or spec sheet "just like the last one". Normally we either use up samples in testing, or send them back with the order. We can tell that you may have ordered a .2280 diameter point form die with a custom nose shape, but we probably do not have anything that tells us specifically about the shape. (If it is a stock shape, we have designations that we can record to tell us precisely what it was, such as a 6-S spitzer or a 1-E round nose).
One problem we've encountered with samples is that sometimes clients will send us a sample, but they'll say "make a bullet just like this except..." and then they will give us some exception dimensions, such as a flatter nose or a different shaped base. This is fine, and we can work with it, but the problem is that the sample is not really what was wanted...and if we were to keep it, and months later the same client called to say "make another just like last time..." but neglected to mention the exceptions, we'd be making the wrong thing even with a sample on hand.
Another issue that can cause problems with "just like last time..." is that people tend to forget what they sent months or years ago, and get an idea into their mind that does not match what was in fact requested previously. Close, perhaps. But not close enough! For all these reasons, we much prefer that a fresh, current sample or drawing or specifications be sent along with an order. After all, the goal is to get you what you want. You only have one sample to keep...we'd have tens of thousands, even if we did have room and time to maintain that kind of inventory of samples.
A large proportion of our clients have ideas that could be considered "trade secrets", or patents pending, or even patent applications not yet filed, for what they hope will prove to be new concepts in bullet design, of commercial value. Others are doing work for military agencies where confidentiality is critical.
On the other hand, Corbin does constant research and development of tooling and bullet concepts on our own, to be able to offer new business ideas to our clients, or to be able to suggest ways to efficiently manufacture similar ideas. We do not patent or protect our own bullet concepts, but make them freely available to our clients. You do not have to pay any fees or license such concepts as the Base Guard, our methods of building tungsten powder core bullets, rebate boattail handgun bullets, the Saber-tooth hollow point, or anything else we've made available over the past 30 years. They are available to everyone on an equal basis, without cost other than the tooling to build them or the materials from which they are built.
Corbin has been at the forefront of new bullet business developments for over three decades, and naturally, we see a great many similar or even identical ideas from different sources, independently developed. Sometimes the same idea that a client just revealed to us is something we had done years ago. Sometimes two or more people will have told us about the same idea in the same week, sometimes within the same hour! With so many sources of information, it is impossible to remember who first mentioned which specific variation, whether we developed it ourselves or did it for someone else, or whether perhaps it is one of the many expired patent ideas that do not turn up in the digital database at the Patent Office.
Because there is no way we can guarantee that the idea you are about to reveal to us isn't something we've done or seen before, and even after we see it we may not immediately remember having prior experience with it, there is no meaning in agreeing to a non-disclosure agreement prior to seeing an undisclosed idea. We may have disclosed it already. We may have jobs in the works that use that or something very much like it. How can we sign anything saying we will not disclose information about something we have not seen yet? So, we do not sign non-disclosure agreements.
In general, we agree that you should have these. But because our business is steeped in the very thing we are supposed to agree not to disclose, we can't in good faith sign such a document. Dealing with someone who might steal your idea, yes, by all means, insist on this additional level of protection. If you believe we will steal your idea, then by all means, do not deal with us! The degree of trust we need to have with our clients does not leave room for this kind of doubt. If, after all these years, we have not established sufficient credibiity to earn that trust, then nothing will suffice to establish it. We have never lacked for a backlog of work, or for original designs. (Check our competitor's web sites for dramatic examples of copying, if you want to confirm that our original designs have merit!).
Your best protection is the fact that we are still here after 30 years, and 99% of the world's custom bullet makers use our equipment. In the long run, character counts most.
Patents for bullet designs often -- usually, in fact -- are not a good investment. The reason is that bullet design is relatively easy to modify, tens of thousands of variants exist or have existed before, hundreds of designs have been patented before the modern era with expired and virtually forgotten patents which can be dragged out to invalidate some modern patents, and finally, there are very few bullet ideas that would translate into enough of a commercial advantage (market share) to repay the cost of both the patent and the potential defenses of it should others wish to infringe on the design.
Rather than pinning one's hopes on selling yet another "great" bullet idea in a market where the average idea sells well enough, and therefore discourages any mass producer from spending money for just the ideas, it would seem to be more practical to spend the time and money actually producing the bullet and selling the product itself! If others eventually copy it, the market share they might capture should be weighed against the cost of the patent and defense costs. Usually, a reasonable study will show that being first with the product, capturing the initial market and selling off the product residual market, is more profitable than attempting to market a bullet concept. (Some clients have spent years visiting mass producers, seeking a buyer, to no avail, when they could have been pocketing the profits from actual sales of bullets).
If you feel strongly about patent protection, by all means go for it. You can save some money by doing research "on the web" for "prior art", but remember that some of the ideas are too old, patents have expired (and thus cannot be re-patented ever again), and yet the data has not all be added to the database yet. So, you may get a patent ($3,000 to $5,000 in fees having been spent) and yet find out that the first time you try to defend it, the infringer proves it is invalid because there was actually prior art that you did not discover in your search. Now you have the patent cost, plus the cost of the trial, and you are actually behind the position you would have been in without the patent, having wasted time and money that could have been put into marketing and sales.
Firearms ammunition was once the "internet dot com" of its era, back when the daily use of guns was common, various wars were raging or about to be, and money was to be made in improving the process of muzzle loading. Today, firearms as a civilian industry has a smaller total gross revenue than a handful of decent fast food franchises, and the odds of getting rich selling a new bullet idea is roughly on par with winning the same amount on one of those fast food store peel-and-stick games. Bullet making is a solid, decent business opportunity, but not a potential road to wealth beyond your wildest dreams of avarice. Keep the numbers in perspective. You'll discover that marketing is superior to patents in most cases.
World Leader in Swaging
Technology Since 1975
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PO Box 2659
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