Glock Settles Trademark Lawsuit with Austrian Sporting Arms

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Unbeknown to me, Glock filed a lawsuit against Austrian Sporting Arms and ISSC Handels GmbH and have just announced that they settled the case. This lawsuit and the settlement are very much the same as the H&K vs. ATI lawsuit.

The ISSC M22 pistol

From the press release …

GLOCK, maker of the internationally-famous family of GLOCK pistols, has settled a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Austrian Sporting Arms, Inc. (“ASA”) and ISSC Handels GmbH (“ISSC”). The lawsuit involved claims for trade dress infringement, trade dress dilution, and unfair competition based on ASA’s sales of a .22 caliber pistol known as the M22, which is manufactured in Austria by ISSC. GLOCK alleged in the lawsuit that the M22 has an appearance that is confusingly similar to the distinctive appearance and overall image of the GLOCK pistols. Without admitting liability, ASA and ISSC agreed to resolve the matter by redesigning the M22 to differentiate its appearance from the appearance of the GLOCK family of pistols, to cease further imports of the M22 until the redesign is complete, and to pay GLOCK an undisclosed amount. The specific terms of the settlement are confidential.

While clearly patterned after the Glock there are significant differences, such as the slide safety and the external hammer, and so I am surprised that ASA were forced to settle.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Alaskan

    thats just more corporate BS..

    Company Exec “rifles” through a gun magazine(say Guns N Ammo)..
    “OMG someone copied our design..we must get our floors of lawyers to shut down those capitalist pigs..how dare they try and make a profit off of a gun that looks similar to ours”

    *enter Lawyers*

    *money goes through hands and magically finds it’s way to a judge’s offshore IRA account*

    *Judge rules in favor of corporate entity..small business gets shut down and fed to the lions*

    Too bad there isn’t any descendants of JMB willing to take ALL the 1911 .45 companies to court..I mean the unmitigated gall of a small company trying to make a profit selling their design to a consumer…HOW DARE THEY!!

    /sarcasm

  • Alaskan

    if I had the money,i’d buy a few of the GSG .22LRs that look like the MP5 and a few of the ISSC M22s..they look great and they probably shoot just fine.

    So much for competition eh?

  • TWV

    The press release doesn’t say that ASA lost the case or that a judge ruled in favor of Glock. It said that they settled.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      TWV, good point.

  • SpudGun

    It is obviously a rip off of the Glock design, before I read the headline I thought ‘not another Glock story on TFB.’

    Why anyone would want to make a pistol that looks like a Glock is beyond me, but hey ho, each to their own I suppose.

  • CinSC

    Alaskan,
    without intellectual property rights there would be far less incentive to invest time and money into product research and development. Without research and development we wouldn’t have such a wide array of well-designed products available to us. If Glock can’t own the design and make money on it, they can’t operate and that means we don’t get the product.

    It may seem unfair for ‘BIG GUN’ Glock to go after some little manufacturer in court, but these laws incourage innovation – and that, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing.

  • Jason

    “so I am surprised that ASA lost the case.”

    ISSC didn’t lose the case. They settled it out of court. I don’t agree with Alaskan that any fraud was involved, but it was definitely a case of a much larger company coming down on a smaller company. ISSC most likely settled because it would have been more expensive to fight it out in court rather than modify the design.

  • dg

    Even if it is significantly different you can clearly tell they made it to look as much like a Glock as possible. I dont even like Glock, but im siding with Glock on this one. If a company is to lazy to acquire proper licensing before they manufacture a copy of a gun, then shame on them. But If I was Glock id just charge royalties on each unit sold and allow ASA to keep making em. Glock clearly isnt interested in a 22lr pistol so this way both companies win. But no matter how it breaks down I still have to side with Glock, this is a clear cut case of a copy. But then again I would never buy a Glock in a million years, yet alone a cheap copy of a Glock so…………

  • http://www.kaliber.hu gvass

    Intelectual property is an important thing.

    But, this gun is .22 LR, have frame-mounted safety, an external hammer, fixed barrel blowback design, separate slide/breech block. Nothing is common with glock.

    Except the squarish slide and polymer frame, but even the proportions are different. Patenting all “boxy” pistol slides is doubtful.

    I think the SW MP is more glockish, and wait, what is about the Diamonback .380?

  • Trango

    Glock has made a sport out of suing people. Hell they even sue major police departments, or attempt to, when the department drops Glock and goes to a competitor.

    Yes, intellectual property needs to be protected but this is Glock flexing its legal muscles on a weaker opponent. As gvass pointed out, there are plenty of other “Glockish” models on the market. Glock will take shots at these competitors but won’t fully engage because they too have legal muscle.

    Try as they may, Glock cannot stop the momentum of their competitors and “settlements” such as this are only small victories in the polymer pistol race. Glock’s lead is slipping fast.

    • http://maxarmory.com Vico Confino

      Reply Tango

      Go to: vicoconfino.com

      And the truth shall set you free.

      Reply appreciated

      Vico Confino

  • http://ianargent.livejournal.com Ian Argent

    Frame, trigger, and mag release look very similar to me; not to mention the take-down switch. If I didn’t know better I’d think it was an aftermarket slide on a Glock frame a la the Alliance Arms kits. And copyright requires active defense or loss of copyright

    Sorry, I’m gonna side with Glock on this one; with the caveat that I think that copyright law is a little too strict.

  • 4Cammer

    So, Glock was upset another company chose to make an ugly pistol?

  • Bolter

    Jason is right. This is a “trade dress” case, similar to that brought by Colt against Bushmaster some time ago regarding their “M4″ clone. Bushmaster had the cash to go the distance. My guess is that ASA had no desire to spend six figures plus fighting Glock’s attorneys – thus the settlement.

  • Sian

    @gvass I dunno, just take the frame on its own. If you had just that to work from, look at the trigger, the general shape, the checkering, the sidepanels, the fingergrooves, the mag release, the takedown lever.

    They should get smacked down by Glock for the trigger safety alone.

    The frame is a body double for a glock polymer frame in shape, style, and even individual features.

    And S&W paid a settlement to Glock already for the Sigma. No reason they can’t re-use bits they already settled for.

  • Ted N(not the Nuge)

    Looks more like an XD to me…

  • Nadnerbus

    I was once told that a lot of the modern post-Gock polymer frame pistols pay a royalty to Glock since the designs are so similar. This could be completely untrue though.

    Either way, if you are going to design a pistol with a substantially different operating system from a Glock, why would you turn around and style it so closely? You’re just asking to get sued. I mean, just a little bit of stylistic imagination could have avoided this headache. And if the style was intentionally close to get sales based on the Glock recognizability, then they probably were intentionally infringing.

    • David

      I know S&W has to pay Glock for every Sigma they sell, it is basically a replica of a Glock internally

  • Josh

    Alaskan:

    Too bad there isn’t any descendants of JMB willing to take ALL the 1911 .45 companies to court..I mean the unmitigated gall of a small company trying to make a profit selling their design to a consumer…HOW DARE THEY!!

    I would tend to think that by being THE U.S. military sidearm for so many years, and by being licensed to be manufactured (for the military and otherwise) by sooooo many different companies over the years, the Browning estate would have absolutely no cause for a suit for “trade dress infringement.” The design of the 1911 has been legally produced by so many different companies over the years that the appearance of it is not synonymous with one particular manufacturer. You can’t say the same about Glocks. Glocks are made by Glock, and all models of Glock look pretty much the same. As for the actual workings of the 1911 – the patents for those would have run out long ago.

    I don’t think you’re comparing similar scenarios.

  • Vitor

    Intelectual property is an absurd BS. Even pro-capitalism libertarian folks are already questioning it. It’s quite easy to spot the absurdity, just try to imagine implementing IP for food recipes or martial art techniques. Ideas are not scarce, they are infinetly reproductable. People don’t steal ideas, they copy. It is a big difference.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      There is IP and there is IP. Copyright is out of control thanks to Disney’s lobbying efforts, software patents (in the US) are a mess and the patent system in general needs reform. Saying that, patents are needed and so are trademarks. What constitutes an infringement and the length of IP protection is what should be debated.

    • http://maxarmory.com Vico Confino

      Reply to Vitor

      Go to: vicoconfino.com

      Your reply is appreciated

      Vico Confino

  • David

    Dammit, I just want a .22 Glock. I waited six months to get a .22 conversion kit for my G19 before I gave up and got a Ruger 22/45, which I love.

    Ugly or not, I shoot better with the G19 than with my Ruger SP 101 or GP 100 (gives me an excuse to practice more). I got marked down while qualifying for my CCW permit because the instructor counted only visible holes, and the Glock put a lot of rounds into the same place.

  • http://www.kaliber.hu gvass

    I could accept this sueing, if the product would be in the same market segment as the Glock. But this is a rimfire plinker! Glock never made such a gun (big mistake, I think). This ISSC M22 pistol will not hijack one customer from Glock.

    Glock also let slip away the single stack CCW market, Kahr’s pistols are also very similar to Glocks (externally, and some degree internally), and I won’t hear about any lawsuit.

    So it still seems big fish eat small fish situation here.

  • HerbG

    I’ll bet that the folks who make the Diamondback .380 are also in Glock’s sights. Its appearance is very similar to the Glock.

  • DJ

    I think this is a pretty blatant case of trademark violation.

    You can’t tell me it’s just a pure coincidence that their .22 pistol ends up looking like a perfect copy of a 3rd generation Glock frame. ASA is clearly trying to financially benefit by using Glock’s likeness (look at the finger grips, grip angle, logo placement, magazine release, trigger, take down lever, accessory rail, etc.).

    I’m sure ASA settled because they knew they would have lost if it went to a judge’s decision, as I think the evidence is pretty obvious. I just don’t know how anyone over at ASA thought they could have gotten away with this in the first place, but if they wanted to play chicken they just lost. I hardly doubt this is about money for Glock (they probably make more money licensing to video games), its about protecting their brand.

  • DJ

    I guess technically this is trade dress, not specifically a trade mark. The concept of using one’s likeness is still the same.

  • http://www.debunkers.org/ SPQR

    These kind of “trade dress” claims are bogus. Trade dress is supposed to protect the non-functional “trademark-like” external features of a product.

    It is not to protect a manufacturer from having copies of its design elements that are not protectable.

    We’ll need someone to defend their product to put a stop to this abuse of trademark law.

  • Alaskan

    If Glock(registered ™ of Glock Ges.m.b.H) had their “safe action”/striker fired trigger patented,I could see a lawsuit generated because of that.

    Two words for Glock

    EFF YOU.

    it’s about as stupid and pointless as the “M4″ lawsuit.

    Anyone sees a AR-15 carried by someone wearing tactical gear,they generally assume or refer to it as a M-4..even if it isn’t a select fire version that has a 14.5″ barrel.

    Like Wolcott said in Blackhawk Down:
    “That is the key phrase in scrabble, my friend, common usage.”

    a square,plastic(polymer) pistol that has a removable mag and doesn’t have a hammer is going to be referred to(at least by the general public) as a Glock…it could have been a Springfield XD or a S&W Sigma…

    Anyone who carries around a chrome oversized cannon? Desert Eagle (or Deagle if you play video games)..BUT it could have been something else..

    a 1911 style pistol? Forty Five is what they’ll call it..usually just 45..not a Para Ordnance LDA or a Springfield Operator or a Kimber..they just simplify it.

    Glock is just being a bunch of whiny pussies because they didn’t have it first..

    Well someone beat them to the punch and produced what they couldn’t..so instead of doing the capitalistic/corporate wolf thing and buying the company out or sucking it up and starting their own .22LR Glock..they resorted to being bitches..

  • Josh

    a square,plastic(polymer) pistol that has a removable mag and doesn’t have a hammer is going to be referred to(at least by the general public) as a Glock…it could have been a Springfield XD or a S&W Sigma…

    Anyone who carries around a chrome oversized cannon? Desert Eagle (or Deagle if you play video games)..BUT it could have been something else..

    a 1911 style pistol? Forty Five is what they’ll call it..usually just 45..not a Para Ordnance LDA or a Springfield Operator or a Kimber..they just simplify it.

    What you’re talking about is a person incorrectly referring to a similar weapon by calling it a Glock. That’s like people calling every facial tissue Kleenex. There’s not much you can do about a person incorrectly using a trademark name; in fact, it’s sort of a testament to the marketing and brand power of Kleenex or Glock.

    That’s an entirely different situation than a company that deliberately makes a pistol that looks nearly identical to a Glock. Any reasonable person who is knowledgeable about guns would have to say, after seeing this pistol, that it looks like a Glock. There are some slight differences, but the frame, the slide, the trigger, the trigger guard, the take-down mechanism – they all look just like a Glock. Now, there’s no way that you, or they, can claim that this was not deliberate. It is obvious to all that they intentionally copied these design features to capitalize on Glock’s good name. They decided (correctly, I’m sure) that if they made a pistol that looked like a Glock, it would sell better, based solely on the fact that it looks like a Glock, than an entirely original design.

    Do you think they would ever have made a pistol that looks nearly identical to a Hi-Point? Of course not.

  • Clodboy

    I believe the situation is somewhat different from the H&K vs GSG lawsuit in that the GSG5 main selling point was that it looked like an MP5, while for this gun it was the fact that it /handles/ like a Glock.

    Of course, the fact remains that in both cases, the small developers are profiting either of the reputation or the design elements that took H&K and Glock a lot of time and R&D money to build.

    No matter how stupid H&K and Glock may have been for not exploiting the plinker market for themselves (if they don’t want to cheapen the brand, they could atleast officially license someone else to make it for them), the law is on their side.

    By the way, has anyone checked out ISSC’s website?
    They also have a SCAR clone in the works.
    http://www.issc-austria.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=2 (scroll all the way down)

  • Ian Argent

    I plan to do this as a demonstrator when I get home – but take the picture above, blank out the slide and barrel extension, and overlay the frame on top of or side-by-side a Glock.

    Off the top of my head, the front rail is notched on this one, and the breakdown lever is vertical instead of tilted. That’s about it.

    This is a trademark fight, not a patent fight. IE – looks the same, not operates the same.

  • http://www.issc-austria.com Mike Weisser

    My name is Mike Weisser. I am the owner of ISSC-Austrian Sporting Arms, and while I am enjoined from discussing the specifics of the legal issues between my company and Glock, I want to take this opportunity to give you my thoughts on how and why we built our M22 pistols.

    We designed and built our M22 pistols to fill an important and unfilled gap in the US shooting market; giving shooters an opportunity to experience the look and feel of a centerfire handgun at a fraction of the cost of centerfire ammunition. The only way to appreciate our philosophy is to go to a gunshop, put an M22 in your hands, and then hold a Glock, or an XD, or an M&P. Then compute what it costs to fire 200 centerfire rounds at the range ($40 – $80) compared to 200 rounds of rimfire ammo ($15 or less.)

    At first glance there are similarities between the two makes, but there are also significant differences, chief among them being the fact that the M22 has an exposed hammer, as opposed to the concealed striker of the Glock. Firearms are one of the few groups of consumer products in which form and function are indistinguishable – bolt action rifles simply can’t look like semi-auto rifles, pistols can’t look like revolvers, etc. The truth is that nobody could ever walk out of a gun shop with a Glock thinking they had gotten the same thing that they would get with an ISSC M22, or vice-versa. We preferred to avoid a court fight not because we were afraid of losing, but because nobody in the gun business can ever predict how judges and juries will decide issues involving guns.

    I have the greatest admiration and respect for Gaston Glock. He developed a truly innovative technology which has changed the face of gun design and manufacturing worldwide. Every firearms manufacturer uses his techniques and technologies in one way or another, and every shooter benfits from his vision whether they own a Glock or not. I am pleased that he and I were able to resolve our difference without a lengthy legal dispute, and I know that shooters will enjoy Glock and ISSC products for years to come.

    • Mike Troastle

      Mike , I love the gun and how it handels. But I can not fine any extra magizines anywhere. can I buy them directly from yor company? If so how.

      Thanks

    • Richard

      Mr. Weisser

      I recently purchased an M22 because I really enjoy target shooting and I was looking for an affordable plinker. This fine weapon fit the bill to a “T” and I applaude you sir for it’s production. I taught my oldest Daughter and Wife to shoot with it and I Love how safe you designed this weapon. I look forward to enjoying it for many years to come. I realize you are a very busy man but I am having no luck locating extra magazines. I have put over 1000 rounds through this gun having to load 10 shots at a time. I was wondering if you have plans to make available replacement parts to the thousands of loyal customers who Love this gun as much as I do? I eagerly await your reply as I’m sure lots do as well.

      Thank you for your time and attention,

      Richard

    • http://maxarmory.com Vico Confino

      Reply to Mike Weisser,
      Hello Mike,
      Please see my response to John Galt

      or go to: vicoconfino.com

      Your reply appreciated
      Vico Confino

  • http://www.kaliber.hu gvass

    Hallo Herr Weisser,
    I think you should make the ISSC M22 is 9 mm PAK gas-alarm/or rubber bullet version, to make it viable on restrictive European/Russian market.

  • David Weller

    I’m glad to see Mike’s comments on here as much as I am that Glock worked with ISSC to find a (hopefully) amicable middle. Let me add some perspective as a person who recently acquired an M22 and also shoots Glock competitively: This is an excellent pistol to own, but it stands in its own right, not as a substitute for a Glock. Yes, some elements visually look like a Glock, but once you have one in your hand, you immediately feel a difference. The most noticeable with your eyes closed is that the M22 grip is smaller. 5-1/4″ for the M22, 5-3/4″ for the Glock small frames — that’s not a “hair smaller”, it’s definitely noticeable. Second is holstering – the M22 doesn’t fit into a Glock holster because the rail mounts extend too far downward (hint: It appears an XD holster will work, at least until somebody starts offering M22 holsters). Fit and finish are also nice, although the ‘snap in’ front sights are a bit disturbing — I worry every time I draw from the holster that I’m going to lose the front sight (not that it has, not has it shown the slightest sign of being loose, it’s just that I’m not used to a plastic snap-in sight).

    For those that are interested in some more details and pics, I have a longer range report posted on the Firearms Talk Forum here: http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f21/issc-m22-range-report-31121/

    P.S. for Mike — I think offering one magazine for your pistols was a very bad idea (apparently that change was implemented in the last few months). Please go back to two – I was disappointed to discover I only got one magazine with my purchase.

  • John Galt

    Here’s the facts some may not understand:
    Unless there’s a design patent still in force, then Glock really has no case, because there’s no utility patent in effect. So many times today Americans despise competition, whether doctors, lawyers, insurance, hospitals, drug companies, ETC., Communist Chamber, and in light of the recent ruling of a case in N. Ga. that was a total miscarriage of justice sanctioned all the way to the Supreme that eviscerated the Constitution, no wonder the little guy chose to settle, “how much justice can you afford”! Usually a suit is filed in the offenders’ home court, is that N. Ga., you don’t get to choose home court advantage?

    • http://maxarmory.com Vico Confino

      Response to John Galt

      Hello John,
      You will really be shocked about Glock trade dress if you go
      to the following: vicoconfino.com

      Your response is appreciated.

      Vico Confino

  • LEO SPEARS

    I PURCHASED THE ISSC M22 I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS PISTOL TO ANYONE, IT IS NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. ISSC REPLACED THE BARREL AND GIVE ME EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS TO USE THE FOLLOWING AMMO CCI 40GR ROUND NOSE. BELEIVE ME THIS PISTOL DOES NOT LIKE ANY AMMO. I RECENTLY PURCHASE THE RUGER SR22 WHAT A PISTOL, GREAT CRAFTSMANSHIP.TOP OF THE LINE WEAPON. I NEED A FIRING PIN AND SPRING FOR THE ISSM22,TRYING TO LOCATE PARTS IS COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE, THEIR OFFICE IN WARE MASS STATED THAT THE COMPANY HAS FAILED, ANY ASSISTANCE IS APPRECIATED BEFORE I FILE OF THE SERIAL NUMBER AND THROW IT IN THE TRASH. LEO E SPEARS BROWNS SUMMIT NC MAJOR USMC RET’D

  • Bernard

    I purchased the The ISSC M22 pistol in Feb. of 2010. I have had so many issues with this pistol. I can’t get any type of ammo to fire properly. Poor quality pistol if you ask me and a waste of money. Finally I was able to find that 30 and 40 grain Remington ammo works the best. I still have problems as far as double chambering or not chambering a round at all. I have put about 1100 rounds through this pistol and my mags are wearing down with no way to get replacements. I haven’t found a website that I can go to where I can get new mags which actually make the pistol usless at this point. I also have issues during firing. When I get to the last round in the mag my chamber sticks part of the way open, forcing me to eject the round. It’s only when I am down to the last round in the mag. I have not found anyone or anyway to file a warranty claim in order to get these issues corrected. If anybody has any idea or some know-how please let me know.

    Staff Sergeant United States Army Active duty

  • Richard

    Legacy Sports International is now the legal distributor of the ISSC M22 Generation II. There are some subtle differences in its apearance but at least you can now purchase extra magazines and file warranty claims. The gun has doubled in price from the $200 offered by Budsgunshop.com and the gen II has a Reno Nev. stamp on it instead of the Ware, Ma. and I think you can start looking for them on line at Gunbroker or the afore mentioned website for them. as for mine I have over 2000 rounds and I’m not gonna say trouble-free but after the break-in period and with regular cleanings it has proven to be a fine reliable pistol with 40 grn Remington Thunderbolts, or Goldens or of course CCI Minimags and Stingers, or even somewhat reliable with the 555 bulk pack from Walmart but I think that may be due for the largest part to the ammo.

    Shame on Glock for throwing their Legal weight around! The differences in this 22 (which glock will not produce their version) is extensive. Hammer-Fired, Single Action with external safety. NO ONE COULD MISTAKE THIS PISTOL FOR A GLOCK FOR MORE THAN A GLANCE…

  • bws001

    Take the slide off and tell me it’s not supposed to be a glock. right down the finger grooves.. That is infringement as far as I can tell