Wednesday, March 5, 2014

GLOCK V. AirSplat: Complaint Against Unlicensed Airsoft Replicas

In the continual exploration of trademark protection GLOCK is striking out against Airsoft replicas of their handguns in a lawsuit against the operators of several business entities best recognized as AirSplat. From what we can tell AirSplat and associated companies are importing functional airsoft handguns with a GLOCK likeness along with utilizing the trademark names of their various for distribution and direct sales within the United States. In the complaint AirSplat claims to be the largest Airsoft Retailer in the country. Apparently, they are not giving GLOCK a taste of the action, which has lead to legal action in Georgia focusing on trademark infringement along with associated complaints against use of trade dress and related tactics associated with marketing and sales. 

WE G19 Airsoft Gas Blowback Gun Tan
In our naive notion of how business should be done, we would have assumed a company would purchase licensing to replicate a product and utilize trademarks. It notes in the complaint that AirSplat does purchase licensing for replicas of firearms manufactured by COLT, Walther, and SIG Sauer, however GLOCK is not one of them. As you can see in the photo above, they don't specifically state GLOCK, but there is definitely some similarity to say the least. Not to mention the distinct G19, Gen4, along with other distinct markings that scream GLOCK.

GLOCK G19 Gen4 FDE from Lipsey's 

In response too all infringement claims GLOCK is requesting all profits from the sales of the replicas, damages sustained by GLOCK which may be quite substantial, triplicate of the actual damages, any sum deemed appropriate by the court, attorney's and legal fees, interest, and the destruction of all replicas. Of course they want further infringements to cease. 

We think it goes without saying that GLOCK has a strong case. This could serve as a strong example to all importers who look to replicate the success of manufacturers through any replica whether it be a similar product or scaled down version utilized for training or leisure. It doesn't stop with handguns of course and definitely carries over into firearms accessories among any other product you may conjure up. Perhaps they considered licensing but were turned down or simply didn't want to hear the wrong answer. This is merely conjecture that may go in several other directions. In the scheme of things many different entities should be aware of this case to understand where they may be headed if they decide to take similar actions when looking to make a buck. 

The complaint not only dwells on the violations alleged to have been committed, but also provides you with a thorough overview of GLOCK and how their brand has been developed. You can view the complete complaint at the following link: Glock V. Wu et. al.