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Kalashnikov Concern To Protect Its Brand And Trademarks Worldwide

Kalashnikov Patch

Real steel makers, airsoft manufacturers, and video game publishers will have to pay more attention to what Kalashnikov Concern is saying these days as they are getting more serious in protecting their intellectual properties, such as its trademarks and brands worldwide. And why are they taking this approach? It makes good business sense. That’s how its competitors also do business --- ensure that their intellectual properties are theirs to use and license.

The Kalashnikov rifles are some of the most copied rifles in the world, many licensed through agreements between the Soviet Union and allies during the Cold War, and many also unlicensed. Even in airsoft, the AK is the second most popular airsoft platform that is bought by airsoft players after the AR platform.

Kalashnikov Concern is definitely moving into the airsoft business. Under its old name, Izhmash Concern, it announced five years ago that they will be developing rifles for airsoft, called “Strikeball” in Russia, though not much was heard after that until now. As reported here last week, the company has filed a trademark infringement case against the French airsoft company, Cybergun, in Russia early this month. It is also launched legal assaults on the Russian airsoft business, going after retailers that use the trademarks and or guns that are similar to the design of their real steel products.

Why the increased vigor in going after the airsoft businesses? It is to pave the way for their full entry into the airsoft market. In an interview with TASS, Kalashnikov’s CEO Aleksey Krivoruchko laid out their plans:

TASS: Will you begin to make strikeball weapons?

Krivoruchko: This is a totally new business for us. As far as we understand, this segment will boom, so we will certainly make strikeball weapons. We have finalized the first samples already. Very soon we will present them to the federation of wargaming. We have plans for starting the production of strikeball weapons this year.

As for the video gaming industry, in the same TASS report, Krivoruchko mentions that they are creating a partnership program:

TASS: As follows from recent reports you are about to venture into the gaming industry market. What has Kalashnikov been doing to this end?

Krivoruchko: As far as computer games are concerned, a partnership program is on today’s agenda. We are selecting partners to cooperate with. Protecting our copyrights in relation to our products used in different online games is another aspect of our activity. For instance, if in some games players can use the AK-12 assault rifle, we will seek a compromise with its developers regarding our copyrights.

Photo: Weapon of Peace 2016 (Photo Credit: Kalashnikov Concern)

While everyone may think that these actions are mainly for the Russian market, they are mistaken. In the same interview with TASS, Krivoruchko stresses the seriousness for Kalashnikov Concern to become a serious global player. Their products are already known worldwide and are sought after, even in the U.S., despite the sanctions put into place by the U.S. government. But first, they need to get their house in order and be serious in protecting their intellectual properties worldwide:

TASS: Kalashnikov has had several trademarks registered in China. Are there any plans to do the same in other countries?

Krivoruchko: Why, naturally. We have been taking measures to protect our brand and our trademarks in all markets, including China, Europe and the United States. The concern’s brand and trademarks must belong to us, and not some companies that have nothing to do with our products.

So expect to be seeing more of Kalashnikov Concern being more active in the legal arena in the following months and years. For the airsoft industry, this is something that they should also monitor and consider their options once the company starts asserting control over the use of its trademarks and weapons designs through lawyers. They do have options such as taking a license from Kalashnikov Concern to manufacture their weapons for the airsoft market; co-develop products with the Russian company; or become an OEM such as the route done by KJ Works, VFC, and King Arms in Taiwan, and some airsoft manufacturers based in China for other airsoft and real steel companies.

It would be interesting if Kalashnikov Concern will produce in-house the airsoft products they plan to release or perhaps buy or partner with another Russian company,  NPO-AEG, which already has a beachhead in the airsoft market worldwide producing airsoft guns based on Russian weapon designs.


Top Photo: Kalashnikov patch (Photo Credit: Kalashnikov Concern)