Kalashnikov Concern Registers the Shape of AK-47

According to Russian newspaper “Izvestia“, Kalashnikov Concern has registered the shape of the AK-47 rifle. The company was recently granted exclusive rights for the 3D shape of the iconic AK-47. They’ve registered the rights for 21 product categories out of 45 possible. The mentioned categories include such products as firearms, paintball guns, airsoft guns, knives, perfume, keychains, night lights, toys etc.

In other words, now if anyone wants to make a product shaped or looking like an AK, which falls into those categories, he won’t be able to do that without permission from Kalashnikov. As you can imagine the market is already flooded with tons of such products. So the companies will have to either remove these products from the shelves and cease the production or license them at Kalashnikov Concern. To my understanding, the registration is valid only within the territory of the Russian Federation.

Some paintball and airsoft stores have already received official letters from Kalashnikov stating the company’s ownership of the copyright and prohibiting sales of AK-47 look-alikes. As of now, there is no official explanation from the company. This news also sparked a debate among lawyers. Some of them question the legitimacy of registering the shape. They say what if someone applies to register the shape of the car, will the patent agency approve that, too?

As you can see, this is a pretty controversial matter. So let’s wait and see how this situation develops.





Hrachya H

I was born and currently live in Armenia, where I work in a family business of leather goods manufacturing. Being a retired sergeant of my country’s armed forces and a lifelong firearms enthusiast, I always enjoy studying firearms design, technology and history. Also my knowledge of Russian allows me to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact me, feel free to shoot me a message at TFBHrachyaH@gmail.com


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  • TDog

    Darn it… Mozambique’s gonna need a new flag then?

  • Drew Remington

    Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It’s the world’s most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn’t break, jam, or overheat. It’ll shoot whether it’s covered in mud or filled with sand. It’s so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people’s greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.

    • andrey kireev

      Sounds like something out of Lord of war lol

      • J.T.

        Because it is.

    • mikee

      Very optimistic comment! AK’s do fail for a variety of reasons. Been there seen it!

      • iksnilol

        it was a quote from Lord of War.

        • mikee

          Pardon my ignorance – “lord of war” is a game? I’ve been fortunate enough to use the real McCoy (Startrek…I think) on a number of occasions.

          • iksnilol

            Nah, pretty famous film. From 2005, loosely based on the true story of Victor Bout. Stars Nicholas Cage.

          • mikee

            Thanks, not much of a film buff! Too much to do.

          • mikee

            Most reliable AK (from my experience) – former East German MPiKM. Excellent quality – jams – none.

          • iksnilol

            HEHEY, EAST GERMAN AKM’S, that’s my jam!

          • Carlos Velazquez

            In an interview, the director claimed that the movie is supposed to be an anti gun movie to bring awareness to arms proliferation. But every gun lover I know likes the movie.

          • iksnilol

            Well, the film does have a point. Arms are very easily available to organized criminals/dictators.

    • RSG

      You must not have ever trained with an AK. Even Russian made AK’s fail.

  • Max

    AK47 was developed after a horrible war by a country (not a company) that despised private property as a rifle for all the working people, blue print and factories were given away and build free of charge. It’s truly a symbol of rebellion and fight for freedom for many nations. And because of that AK74 silhouette is futured some nations flags. And now you greedy bastards capitalize on this. As a russian I think’s so wrong on so many level.

    • Jason Culligan

      I don’t see how it can be legally enforced. The weapon has been manufactured by major manufacturers like IWI and Norinco for decades and was designed 60 years ago by a man who is long since dead. It would be like a lumber company turning around tomorrow and copyrighting all forms of crosses as a family relative made one years ago.

      • XaqFixx

        Mikhail Kalashnikov died in 2013 – not exactly “long since dead”
        IANAL – however I agree that this copyright attempt is laughable and won’t stand in court.

        • int19h

          This is not a copyright (or a patent). This is a trademark, so far as I can tell. Trademarks have very different rules.

          Still, though, I doubt they would ultimately prevail in court.

      • Bierstadt54

        Russian courts. I have no idea what will happen.

      • LGonDISQUS

        Red cross sign is patented and they do sue. Seceral game companies have had to yied and change the exact style of the healthpack logo.

  • Jason Culligan

    Good luck enforcing that. I wouldn’t be surprised if other firearm manufacturers in Russia take a legal case against this as most Russian assault rifles share a similar aesthetic design philosophy.

    As the article said, it’s only enforceable in Russia anyway. Seems like the only people it will really affect for now are game developers who want to sell their games in Russia.

    • The protection (only in Russia) is limited to products that look like the particular design and not like generic rifles even of similar design.

  • EC

    I don’t see this going anywhere, for pretty much the same reason why Colt has no legal claim to the “look” or “silhouette” of an AR-15. Even HK’s “trade dress” tiff with GSG is a bit sketchy as well.

  • Badwolf

    Relax people… only the shape of an AK47 is registered. So the shape of an AK74 should still be fine.

  • Hellbilly

    This is akin to a tire company registering the shape of a circle. Good luck with that. Their lawyers will be extremely busy (and wealthy).

  • micmac80

    Apple patented rectangle with round corners , which is far less specific than rather iconic AK look.

    Private owners of Kalashnikov concern , want to make a buck like all others

  • BSK

    jajaja communisms future.
    Question,previus to this, there was many AK stile but not “Kalashnikov” rifles, are those rifles AK47 for the Russian law? Example, can we call to the type56 ak47?Or can we call ak47 to the Zastava ? Its has 3 “holes” in the handguard instead of two like ak47.

    AR15 is the rifle of the free world and free people.

  • Badwolf

    Shape of an AKM, Type 56, …..

  • Mozambique finally gonna have to upgrade to an AK-74 and a shovel.

    • MrBrassporkchop

      Damn beat me to it.

      • survivor50

        Yeah… first thing that popped into my head… Going to be some PI$$ED off natives…

  • Arie Heath

    I question the legality of this. It’s like a company trying to trademark a tire or something like that.

    • Green Hell

      Well, stuff like Coca-Cola glass bottle shape is trademarked, that’s where they got the idea, probably.

  • Big Daddy

    I’m registering the shape of my butt, it’s mine and there is no other one like it. You cannot use it’s shape in anyway without giving me MONEY.

    This has to stop.

  • Looks like patent trolling has arrived in Russia.

    • Green Hell

      Still, a woman failed to sue McDonald’s for not printing a warning about coffee being hot on the cup a few years ago, so we still have a long way to go.

      • Glockwork

        Please youtube:
        “Adam Ruins Everything The Truth About the McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit”
        before you continue to spread such misinterpretations. She successfully sued, but not the way i think you believe

  • Glenn Bellamy

    Fear not. This “registration” may be in Russia. It’s NOT in the US. We are taking about a trademark (trade dress) here–not a copyright or patent. US trademark law will protect non-functional trade tress that is recognized as an indicator of its source (i.e, one company, not many sources), but only to the extent that trade dress is not dictated by functionality.

  • F4GIB

    Poor article. Registered with whom? The US Trademark office. Granted rights by whom? I will bet that some US users of the image predate the recently formed Kalashnikov Concern.

  • kyphe

    I just read the full story and according to Russian law this allows Kalashnikov to take action against anything that is even similar to an AK due to the ruling of “degree of confusion” basically could this item be confused with an AK. SO the VZ 58 for example could be affected.

  • Rick M.

    I doubt any country is going to take this seriously from a Russian Patent/Registration system. China alone cranks out more of these Rifles for sale to any country that will pay them, and you can bet they won’t ask to use or pay anything to Russia for the design.

    • NightRavenGSA

      Well we all know how religiously the Chinese respect patents/trademarks/copyrights

  • Cal_Grimalkin

    I’m suspecting that some good lawyers will be able to fight this in the courts……. The AK shape has been in the public domain long enough without any claims by anyone that Kalashnikov Concern will have a hard time making this stick…….. This would be like “Colt” coming out and claiming complete ownership of the Iconic Peacemaker, or Winchester claiming an exclusive right to the Lever Action rifle………

  • Wes James

    Proof yet again- if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bullshit!

  • Wolf Angel

    Man my SKS outline is in trouble now…

  • Jones2112

    In your article you say the following…

    “To my understanding, the registration is valid only within the territory of the Russian Federation”

    I don’t really see how this will affect anything other than in Russia…