Saturday, July 14, 2007

Counterfeit Kalashnikovs

It turns out that the Russians are shocked, shocked that one of their favourite brands and products is being knocked off in lots of places, and one of the main purchasers and distributors has been the USA, who, of course, believes in respect for IP.

We're talking Kalashnikov AK-47 machine guns, here. And the inventor is still alive.

Even General Kalashnikov himself is venting his dismay over proliferation without Russian profit. “I take them into my hands and, my goodness, the marks are foreign,” he said of the knockoffs the Soviet Union once championed. “Yes, they look alike. But as to reliability and durability — they do not meet the high standards of our military.”

Anyway, here's the whole ironic story in the NY Times. Maybe Canada's brave RCMP can go after these counterfeit death causing products.....consistent with their new zeal in enforcing antipiracy so that cute little girls don't die..... and so that the CACN will be happy....(Amazing, the resemblance of the content revealed by these two links).

Maybe the Russians should have respected IP sooner, and/or had better IP lawyers....

Then, the world might have been a better place ;-)

Given that the weapon has been around for 60 years (although it is constantly being improved), patent protection is out the question for the older versions, anyway. Mr. Kalashnikov himself says on a video on the NY Times site that "I am a child of the time when we didn't care about patents."

In Canada, oddly enough, the word "Kalashnikov" & Design was registered on November 30, 2006 as a trade-mark for vodka - another mainstay of the Russian export economy. The registration indicates that:
As per the applicant, the transliteration of the Russian characters is KALASHNIKOV. We have been advised that the word "KALASHNIKOV" has no meaning in English or French.
And oddly enough, there are two applications for "AK-47" & design for various beverages, including, oddly enough, vodka.

Anyway, back to machine guns. We must respect creators, as certain of my colleagues constantly remind the Government, the Courts, and the Copyright Board.

After all, we wouldn't want people being killed by counterfeit Kalashnikovs, would we? If we really respect IP, not to mention health and safety issues, they ought to be killed by the real thing....

More to come on counterfeiting in due course....



  1. What possible basis in law could these complaints have? Even if the SU had patented their design, these patents would have long since expired. I doubt they even took this simple step, so they have no recourse.

    Is it a trademark complaint? Calling these derivative works "Kalishnikovs" or "AK-47s"? If that is the case, they are way too late to the party. Those trademark rights are about as enforceable as Nylon(TM), Linoleum(TM), or Escalator(TM).

    Sounds like nothing more that sabre-rattling to me..full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  2. All's fair in love and war.

  3. primitives, u stole it and now blame soviets in everything once again, u are pathetic.