Glock’s War on Replicas

HFC G26 Spring Airsoft Gun Pistol. $16.99 at AirSplat.com.

HFC G26 Spring Airsoft Gun Pistol. $16.99 at AirSplat.com.

Glock is continues to sue companies manufacturing replica or airsoft guns resembling the Glock pistol. Glock claims replicas violate their intellectual property and the courts have tended to agree with them. Trevor Bach at the Miami New Times reports

Wu says his company produces toys and has cost Glock absolutely no damages. The corporation’s real motivation with the suit, he contends, is to bully everyone out of the burgeoning airsoft market so Glock can make its own entrance. “Gosh — you’re a little late to the party,” he says.

Wu sees the case as a matter of his business’s life and death. A loss to Glock now, he says, would set the precedent that the entire toy gun industry is illegitimate — an idea he views as absurd. “What we’re trying to do is take a stand,” he says, “not only for ourselves but for the industry as a whole.”

Renzulli, the Glock lawyer, says Glock is the real victim. “This is not David versus Goliath here. It’s asking for compliance.” He also questions Wu’s characterization of AirSplat guns as toys. “If it’s such a great product,” he asks, “why does it have to be in the image of a Glock?”

Glock first sued Confino for his blank pistols in 2000, but Maxsell was only a codefendant in a larger suit against an Italian manufacturer and ultimately settled without paying damages. Then, in 2010, Glock demanded he stop selling another blank-firing gun, the Turkish-made Atak Arms Zoraki M917.
Glock has a trademark on the design of the Glock pistol. The description of trademark #76279422 is
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 has also successfully sued firearm manufacturers. In 2010 Glock settled a lawsuit with Austrian Sporting Arms and ISSC Handels GmbH over the design of the ISSC M22. ISSC was required to change the design of the M22.
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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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  • Rusty Shackleford

    I wonder if this is a “Pay a large sum to license or else” sort of deal, or If Glock really doesn’t want anyone to use its likeness no matter what. Glock trademark #76279422 is “The mark consists of the three dimensional overall configuration of a semi-automatic pistol having a blocky and squared-off shape as viewed from the side, the front, and the rear… 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.” Does that mean Glock is going to sue every polymer framed pistol manufacturer, or just the toy companies that can’t afford the lengthy court fees?

    • Scott Wiggins

      There are many polymer semi-automatic pistols out there, but what name do most people think of when they see one? Glock established itself on an innovative, quality product, but its brand recognition and distinctive design separates it from the rest of the pack. So it is in their best interest to enforce their trademark look, and everyone knows that a trademark (or copyright) is only defendable if it is actively defended by its holder.

      That toy is designed to not just resemble a Glock but completely apes the design. It is using Glock’s design to sell its product. Glock obviously isn’t interested in licensing the look of its products, so It’s an open-and-shut case.

      • Seth

        Said toy looks as much like a S&W MP or HK as it does a Glock, is Glock going to say all polymer framed pistols violate their trade mark? Actually there might be something to this, if Glock can build up enough precident and case law saying only vaguely similar appearing toy pistols violate their trade mark they might think they can sue every other polymer pistol manufacture for damages and a license deal or just force out the compition. That sounds like the Gaston we know:(

        • scw

          To be fair air-soft gun do indeed make their guns to look like a Glock to in order to sell their gun and thus make a profit. A profit that Glock could make themselves (license fee etc. Marui from Japan have been paying HK for some time now). There no reason to assume Glock would not mind that.

  • kingghidorah

    I hate lawyers.

  • Cymond

    I think Glock is making a huge mistake. These airsoft companies aren’t harming Glock’s sales at all. Rather, it is quite possible that they complement Glock’s sales. I LIKE the idea of having a real gun & a training replica. KWA makes their “PTP” series as the ‘Pro Training Pistol’ specifically for realism and training. It sucks that KWA had to discontinue their Glock lookalike models, using instead something with a generally similar feel.

    Edit: We’ve all seen that the appearance of certain guns in movies & video games can help promote the gun’s design. Seriously, I think the appearance of the MP5 in movies is one of the major reasons people want them so much compared to other 9mm carbines. And who didn’t want a Steyr AUG after watching Diehard?

    In the same way, the more people see Glock-a-likes, the more they want Glocks.

    • Garrett

      The worst part is, if you look at the lawsuit, it actually directly names the KWA ATP (Adaptive Training Pistol) as it being in violation. The ATP was specifically designed to AVOID being addressed with Glock’s trade dress.

      The lawsuit was filed about 2 months. Here is the link:
      http://assets.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/Glock%20complaint.pdf

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Gaston is a bit ah unusual so—–

        • Garrett

          Pretty much the design details of the KWA ATP are such that it doesn’t look like the Glock pistols, but that it will still fit into all Glock compatible holsters. All of the internal structure and design was directly taken from the previous generation, and uses all of the existing magazines too (Gas airsoft pistols require particular magazines with valves, gas route buckings, and feed lips. Each manufacturer uses a different design, which also compounds the complexity.)

    • Emir Parkreiner

      Making huge mistakes is what Glock does best. Just look at the .45 GAP, the Gen 4 recall, and the Glock 42. I wouldn’t be surprised if Glock is planning on entering the airsoft market since the only thing the public wants less than a unnecessarily large single stack .380 is airsoft.

      • Cymond

        I disagree with you regarding airsoft. Airsoft seems to be a growing trend in general, and may be replacing traditional BB guns for plinking and children. They are the ‘Red Rider’ of the new generation.

        Many of them have the advantage of being FAR more realistic than other airguns. Go look at any gas blowback airsoft gun. I have a KWA 1911 PTP Mk2. The most significant differences between it and a real 1911 (besides ammo) is that the springs are lighter (featherweight trigger, safety, magazine release, slide pull), and the muzzle is lighter (points faster). All of the controls operate in the same way, the slide cycles with every round, and even the disassembly is the same as a real 1911 (even the barrel bushing). It’s about as loud as a suppressed 9mm pistol. It fulfills a similar role as a 22lr 1911, except that ammo is cheaper and it’s easier to find somewhere to shoot safely/legally.

        • Emir Parkreiner

          I’m not criticizing airsoft. I’m criticizing the discernible lack of propriety found in Glocks recent attempts at innovation. The airsoft market is already over saturated with Glock derivatives. Glock entering the airsoft market now or filing suit against the multitude of possible IP-infringing manufacturers are endeavors equally poor in judgement. Regardless of Glocks future airsoft ventures, there is one absolute certainty: the needs of the consumer base will ultimately go unheeded.

  • MacK

    Maybe they should worry about their product quality control, instead of products that actually enhance their product placement in the market. Durr glock is durrrrr. (I have 8 so I think I can comment)

  • Pete

    I dont think this is smart in the long run. Airsoft guns is first of all great for certain types of training. Second. Some people, especially young or citizens of other countries, where guns are harder to get, start thier gun waredrobes with these airsoft guns. If they like feel of it, they are potentional glock customers. Third, Airsoft guns is used in movies and TV all the time. If the producers find it harder to fast and easy find these airsoft glocks they could very easily just pick up another gun. No more free advertising…

    • Cory G Oltjen

      My guess is glock wants to licence out there design to certain airsoft companies so they can make more money. A couple of companies licance out there designs HK, and some ar-15 manufacture.

      • mikewest007

        Nah, if Glock aimed at that, they’d do it several years ago. They’re just being idiots.

      • Garrett

        Surprisingly, only a handful of real firearms companies have licensed their logos, product designs, etc. to airsoft manufacturers. Madbull is a huge one that makes rails and accessories from Daniel Defense, Noveske, and PRI. HK has licensed the MP7, and HK416/7 to VFC (through UMAREX).

        Honestly, if Glock would stop its outright ban, they really could make a lot of money. I guess their marketing department doesn’t see toy replicas as a possible marketing venue.

        Then again, considering a lot of hate for airsoft that has perpetrated the real firearms world, I guess I don’t blame them for not understanding.

  • best spell caster

    Please i am begging you all, don’t fall into the hands of those scams all in the name of jamb upgrading, if you want to upgrade your jamb to 200 and above Mr Mike is the jamb officer to contact because he was the one who help my daughter upgrade her own from 160 to 230.you can reach him with this number:08073082462

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      One bit of advice. We don’t mind helpful guidance but this sounds a lot like a solicitation for a business which we don’t allow.
      I’m not griping at you just passing along the rules.

      • jamezb

        Phil it’s a spambot, It posted a copy/paste string of this same message near the bottom of the PAR-1 .223 pistol thread.

  • jamezb

    I have no problem with it. When a whole generation of airsoft kids, deprived of a Glock replica, go out and buy their first real gun ….and it’s a 1911A1 or Beretta, ….because THOSE are the guns they are familiar and comfortable with, – I will giggle endlessly at Glock’s having shot itself in the foot by harassing the TOY MARKET
    ..

    • mikewest007

      Those Glock suckers have no idea what they’re doing. Why are they even glockblocking helpless toymakers? Somehow H&K and Walther managed to work out exclusive deals with regional distributors in the US and EU, yet somehow Glock marketing can’t figure it out.

    • aaron

      This is ironic. Yesterday, my last customer decides to buy a Sig tacops and didn’t even want to look at anything else. Yesterday was his 21st birthday and a dolled-up P226 was his airsoft pistol of choice throughout high school.

      On another note, I’ve shot a KWA G18 with weighted slide. It actually feels more substantial than a real Glock. It isn’t quite as heavy and the balance isn’t the same but it feels like its built more solid and out of better polymer.

  • Ghost930

    Glock needs to spend their money and time trying to come up with something newer, better, and more innovative. As far as polymer pistols go, go shoot a CZ P09 or P07 way better pistol at 2/3 the price. For that matter FN FNP in any caliber is a more comfortable, and accurate pistol for the same or less money. Now if I could only find a duty holster for my P09.

    • YAY

      FN FNP feels cheap like the FNX, but I would take one over a Glock. The S&W M&P is where it’s at right now with poly pistols. They are such high quality, and feel like combat pistols.

      • Ghost930

        Not sure how a pistol “feels” cheap YAY. My FNP “feels” no better or worse than my Nighthawk T-4, and after arounf 3000 rounds it still shoots like the day I bought it, and I have never had it fail due to the pistol mechanics (bad ammo yes). As far as the S&W M&P, if you follow the police news, Texas DPS just returned their first 120 M&P’s delivered due to mechanical problems with the gun, and had to reissue some older Sig’s to an entire academy class. There is no “wonder” pistol out there. In 25 years of military, police, and competitive shooting, including six deployments to the Mid-East, I have seen them all fail. You pick the one that is least likely to fail based on experience and history. The one that “feels” the best is the one that is still shooting during the gunfight.

  • Fruitbat44

    Errr . . . isn’t their something in US law about copyright (and I got this off of http://www.tvtropes.org ) that if a copyright infringement isn’t challenged, no matter how silly it appears, then it is argued that the copyright holder isn’t interested in having the copyright?

    • Julio

      As Scott W says above: “everyone knows that a trademark (or copyright) is only defensible if it is actively defended by its holder.” Glock may not be interested in the airsoft/toy market, but they probably feel they can’t let infringements slide in this area without ultimately invalidating their rights in their home sector. It’s certainly bad PR, but it’s probably good sense nonetheless.

      • Cymond

        Still, they’re not defending a copyrighted logo/name, or patented design, they’re protecting a general appearance. Apparently they own the right to make anything with a square, blocky slide.

        • cbunix23

          You can protect general appearance with a design patent; that’s why a Coke bottle design can’t be copied by anyone else.

      • Cymond

        And by that logic, should we expect Glock to go after the aftermarket products, like Lone Wolf slides and Advantage Arms rimfire conversions? They’re clearly copying the appearance of Glock’s slide.

  • iksnilol

    They will probably be suing brickmakers next. Y’know, due to similar shape and all.

  • gunslinger

    reason #5496093 why i won’t be buying a glock.

  • BeGe1

    The protection of property, including intellectual property, is a fundamental concept behind our way of life and our constitution. Why should a company be able to take your design of your item that you made popular with your own effort and advertising dollars and copy it and ride that popularity to their own dollars without paying you a penny for it, even if it is a copy for a toy version? Heck, the one in the picture even made an attempt at turning their own name into a glock logo lookalike. Not even talking about “it looks sorta boxy, so we’ll sue them cuz we (glock) invented boxes”, these are near direct copies of a trademarked item. Heck, the specifically quoted case, the guy actually got caught doing it in 2000, settled out of court, and now did it AGAIN. No sympathy for him. Want to copy a popular design of someone else’s so that you can make money off it? Then get in touch with them and get licensing rights.

    • Cymond

      “and ride that popularity to their own dollars without paying you a penny for it” Glock pistols have a vast selection aftermarket parts and accessories, all of which are ‘riding the popularity’ of the Glock, and without paying anything to Glock, either. Just go look at http://www.lonewolfdist.com as an example. Lone Wolf makes barrels and slides which clearly copy the appearance of Glock parts. Is Glock going to sue them next? Of course not, because Glock knows that many people buy Glock pistols for the sole purpose of customizing them.

      Glock sued the rimfire lookalike from ISSC, but why haven’t they gone after Tactical Solutions or Advantage Arms? They explicitly state that their rimfire slides are for Glock pistols, and they intentionally look like Glock slides. Again, Glock won’t sue them because the availability of rimfire conversions actually supports the Glock pistol’s popularity.

      Look at this the comments on this post. These lawsuits cause far more harm than good to Glock’s business reputation.

      • BeGe1

        I’m sorry, but I fail to see where any of your points dislodge my points…or really even address them.

        So Glock chooses not to sue some. And???? Their design, their choice. Maybe they plan on suing some and hoping that makes others think twice so that they don’t have to sue more. Maybe they only dislike certain industry copies of their design but don’t mind aftermarket parts that copy part of their design. THAT’S EXACTLY MY POINT. It’s THEIR decision what they’re ok with as far as THEIR design goes. Maybe they choose not to sue aftermarket part makers because it fits their business model? Good for them. It’s THEIR design and they can make that decision to let those slide. They decide to sue others that make a copy for airsoft? Again…THEIR design and they can choose how lenient they’re willing to be when it comes to people copying it. Want to start a business that copies some Glock designs? Well, unless you’re willing to go get Glock’s permission and pay any royalties Glock demands, then you’re taking your chances that you’ll fall into one of the camps Glock doesn’t mind. Best of luck, but don’t cry foul when it turns against you…it was your own risk. That design was someone else’s and you took it and used it for your own gain. Maybe they’ll turn a blind eye if they don’t mind…but you’re hardly the victim if they don’t.

        As far as whether it does more harm or good to Glock. Again: and???? That’s for Glock to determine what risks they want to take with that. Again…because it’s THEIRS. I never argued that it’d all be good for Glock’s shareholder meetings. That’s Glock’s consequences to deal with. Just as it’s Glock’s design to decide what they want to do with. Has nothing to do with whether it’s Glocks right to choose to protect their intellectual property when and if they want to.

        And like I said, I especially feel no sympathy for this guy, who is now on his second roundabout with Glock after doing again the exact same thing he got sued for the first time.

        And lastly, I think you’d be surprised how many replica and aftermarket accessory makers actually do pay Glock to sell what they sell, or have Glock’s permission without payment under some other terms.

        • Cymond

          I just see a disconnect between suing some but not others. Both are infringing, but both complement & support the popularity of the Glock pistol. I don’t understand why some get a pass while others get pounded into submission.

          I was also attempting to address what others have said regarding the idea that “a trademark (or copyright) is only defendable if it is actively defended by its holder”. If that is the case, then Glock must sue or license the other companies I listed. Again, it looks like a double standard to me and it simply doesn’t make sense.

          • BeGe1

            They are actively defending it. That’s what this whole article is about: they are suing people. They apparently were suing people back in 2000 and 2010 too according to the article.

            Doesn’t mean they’ve managed to sue everyone that’s ever copied, doesn’t even mean that they intend to. Just that they are actively defending it rather than just sitting around doing nothing about any of it. What battles they pick is up to them.

            Heck, that’s another reason for Glock to bring this suit: because of the rampant copying every few years they have to find someone to sue to still be considered actively defending their design and still have rights to it, otherwise all the myriads of companies that are paying royalties to use the Glock design wouldn’t have to any more. And again, I have no problem with that. It’s their design that is so unbelievably popular for some reason. They should be making money off of it when other people make products based on it.

  • Sulaco

    I have read somewhere, can’t remember….anyway Glock is terrified of the civil tort system in the US. They feel (right or wrongly) that some ganger will waive an Airsoft gun with the red tip sawed off or painted over and cause a shooting with cops…gangs in LA have already let it be known that they are painting their guns pink etc to make cops or citizens hesitate…maybe something of an out growth of that thinking.

    • gunslinger

      maybe.
      but the “orange tip = toy guy” is also crazy. if i see what looks like a gun pointed at me, be it black, silver, pink, purple, camo, orange tip..etc. if it looks like a real gun, (i.e. i can discern if it’s plastic/toy/fake etc) then i feel threatened for my life.

  • Robert

    I don’t like Glock. They sell their pistols for 500 dollars new but should cost 350 instead. They barely machine the slide, provide inadequate serations, and the frame is plastic with steel inserts, yet they don’t pass the cost savings down to the buyer because… it’s Glock “perfection.” -_- How can they call an overpriced economy pistol perfection? Or are they refering to their marketing scheme? Because then it makes sense.

  • flatline2a

    Gaston is a cranky old coot ain’t he?!

  • Robert177

    I hate those orange tips. We need to outlaw orange tips.

  • Jacob

    As someone who uses airsoft for both its recreational use and as a training tool I can say that Glock is shooting themselves in the foot big time with not allowing anyone to release a licensed glock handgun. Since airsoft is a good opening into the firearms world for basic safety and simple how to training (how to eject the magazine, how to sight, etc) not having one of the biggest manufacturers of firearms on the market could hurt them down the road when the 12 year old today grows up and decides not to buy a glock because the 1911 or SIG feels more comfortable to him could make a small dent in sales. Glock is losing money on this too. Companies who are fed up with the sue happy nature of Glock have gone the roundabout way to to make licensed “glocks” I have a Echo 1 Timberwolf, which is a copy of the Lonewolf Timberwolf, a modified Glock. The only reason I bought it was because I could not find a legitimate looking Glock because Glock sues anyone who makes or sells a glock look alike. Glock would gain a huge market by allowing a licensed Glock onto the fields because airsoft games and events are like a weird fashion show where people can show off their kits that they have put time and money into and a licensed glock is something that the market has been wanting. There was at one point in time a way to get one by buying a slide and parts from Hong Kong and then praying customs didn’t confiscate them as they came through, which made a licensed glock sort of like a unicorn. If Glock would just release one they would gain revenue now and later as men used them as a cost effective way to train and as boys started to get accustomed to Glocks earlier and in multiple settings. Sorry for the cancer thread but I saw it and it has been a favorite rant of mine for a while

  • cbunix23

    If Glock makes no, or very little, effort to defend their trademark they can lose it, and then where will they be? Anyone else can make a replica whether it’s a firearm or an air gun or cigarette lighter. No thanks.