In 2001 Glock applied to trademark their pistol design. The trademark application was approved in 2009 (Serial Number 76279422). Glock’s application states that this design was not used by anyone before 1995, so this trademark must be for the third generation Glock which went on sale in 1996.
The description of the mark is this (emphasis added) …
The mark consists of the three dimensional overall configuration of a semi-automatic pistol having a blocky an squared-off shape as viewed from the side, the front, and the rear. The vertical lines at the rear of the slide indicate ridges. The stippling is a feature of the mark and not intended to indicate color. The dotted lines indicate features that are not claimed as a part of the mark. Neither the shape of the notch on the rear sight nor the circular shape of the interior of the barrel are claimed as a part of the mark. The shape of the trigger guard and the shape, location, and a position of the trigger safety tab are claimed as a part of the mark, but no claim is made to the shape of the trigger separate from the trigger safety tab.
Glock’s trademark comes down to one thing: a squarish slide (not fully square because the Glock does have slight bevelling) without any cutouts at the front or rear that would change its “squared-off shape” as seen from the front or rear.
Because a slide that has bee CNC machined into shape would naturally start as a rectangular block, I thought surely some recent manufactures have produced guns with squarish slides. Turns out they have not. Everyone has been very careful to add cut outs to avoid attracting attention from Mr Glock and his lawyers.
Was Glock the first to use a “squarish” look. Of course not. By 1982, when the first generation Glock was launched, guns of just about every shape and size had already been experimented with. Two much earlier guns with a squarish shape were the Colt M1900, design in 1897, and the MAC-10, designed in 1964. I am sure there are many other examples.
Glock sued Austrian Sporting Arms and ISSC Handels GmbH over their ISSC M22 pistol. They settled out of court and Austrian Sporting Arms was forced to change their design. Here are the before and after photos. Note the slide cutouts in the after photo …
So what is Maxwell Corp’s sin? They are importing a blank firing replica with a slide that has no much metal on it. No cut outs == get sued by Glock.
Unlike patents and copyright, trademarks don’t ever become public domain.