18 October 2009

This Is Getting To Be Bullshit

The H&K suit against GSG and ATI reminded me of something that's being abused.

Trademarks.

H&K's suit against GSG is essentially, "They make a gun that LOOKS like our gun!" and since you can now trademark the appearance, apparently, you can sue.

Companies have been trying for centuries to get permanent patents. Trademarking is allowing them to do so.

The GSG-5 looks a great deal like an H&K MP5, but in .22 LR instead of 9x19mm. The patents on the MP5 expired years ago. So, I can make a gun that works exactly like an MP5 as long as it doesn't look like one, but since form follows function, we end up with expired patents being forever because the design influences form.

Colt tried this on the M4 and failed. Their permanent patent loophole is their contract with the government for M16 sales, signed in 1967 with no closure date. Anyone making an M16 and selling to the USA has to give Colt money. They have to pay even more to use the Colt Technical Data Package, which if you wanna sell to Uncle Sugar, you have to have to meet specs.

The aviation/defense industry has been suing plastic model kit makers and flight sim designers over their trademarked designs for a long time. It's especially galling since the most egregious suer here is Grummann, and they don't even own the design they got famous for suing about, the TBF Avenger. The Navy hired them to design a torpedo bomber and held all rights to the manufacturing. Most Avengers were actually made by General Motors (TBM). I love the legal brief about how letting a flight sim include a flyable version of an Avenger would negatively impact future Grummann sales.

Future sales of a WW2 torpedo bomber?!?!

This shit has gotten out of hand.

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