After recently celebrating its 65th Anniversary of the AK, Concern Kalashnikov has clarified their position on Intellectual Property Rights. There are many variants of the AK-47 on the world market along with other Kalashnikov platform rifles. We have recently seen the creation of Concern Kalashnikov as a unifying brand developed by the majority owned and Russian State managed small arms industry to best market AK firearms for export. Along with the consolidation for sales potential, they are also pointing out that legal considerations are being taken to best protect all aspects of their products.
The following statement best clarifies their position, "With a huge export potential and small arms produced for many years now, unfortunately, (we have) failed to obtain the necessary legal protection of intellectual property. This led to a situation where the company products must compete on the global market with similar products (often much lower quality), produced by other countries. Today in the world with more than 100 trademarks, violating the rights and legitimate interests of the "Concern Kalashnikov" and prevent promotion of its products"
This could potentially have interesting implications for many companies that are focused on manufacturing, selling, marketing, distributing, modifying, or any other aspects of business in promoting Kalashnikov platform rifles. Concern Kalashnikov is seeking trademarks for specific designations, such as AK-47 starting in Russia and then moving to the international arena for a more broad protection. They are also looking to stop production of similar products not related to Concern Kalashnikov or the Russian Federation.
Now we won't blather on about the potential legalities as the international implications of Intellectual Property Law can be very arbitrary when it comes to interpretation and more importantly enforcement. We merely thought this was an interesting tidbit on the part of Concern Kalashnikov when over six decades they seemed to have given little thought to the replication of one of their most recognizable assets.
Perhaps the bag of Roubles really slapped them in the face when they started seeing AK variants being sold for well over $2K USD, while they were just pulling in a few hundred for their factory rifles. They have been slapping on some bells and whistles in a modification effort, which they have noted has given further rise to upping the ante on their legal effort. Plus, with the amount of time passed, they may be only capable of best protecting new products, but we won't start pretending to be intellectual law professors. In the scheme of things it will come down to if someone else will be able to produce it, market, and most importantly will you be able to buy it if it doesn't come from Concern Kalashnikov. Our good guess will be that little implications will be seen for quite a while.