The long-running dispute between Heckler & Koch and Haenel enters the courtroom this week with the patent dispute case currently being heard at the Düsseldorf Regional Court. We first reported on the problems Germany was having in their efforts to replace the HK G36 back in October 2018. Since then we’ve seen claim and counter claim made by the two companies. Haenel’s MK556 was initially selected before a claim of patent infringement from Heckler & Koch flipped Bundeswehr’s decision.
The Bundeswehr Rifle Program @ TFB:
- Bundeswehr Narrows Rifle Choice: Heckler & Koch vs Haenel
- Bundeswehr Rifle Trial to Replace G36 Stalls
- Heckler & Koch Respond to Bundeswehr Selection of Haenel’s MK556
- Bundeswehr Withdraw Order for Haenel MK556
- C.G. Haenel Raided During Investigation into Bundeswehr Rifle Debacle
- Bundeswehr Rifle Debacle: Germany Set to Select HK416 A8?
The case began to be heard at Düsseldorf Regional Court on Tuesday, 12 October. Haenel reportedly consider the patent claim to be void and have also filed a ‘nullity action’ at Germany’s Federal Patent Court in Munich. This action is not due to be settled until sometime in 2023, which leaves the Düsseldorf court to decide whether to rule before or after the patent nullity action is settled.
A further case at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court is also underway which deals with Haenel’s exclusion from the Bundeswehr program. The Bundeswehr is not able to award the rifle contract to either Heckler & Koch or Haenel before a judgment by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court is made.
In July, Haenel reiterated their belief that there is no patent infringement on Heckler & Koch’s intellectual property within their rifle. Stating that variants of the carbine are already in service with German police units and that changes to the design were made in 2018 following an initial complaint from Heckler & Koch. Haenel hope that once the patent infringement case is settled, the Bundeswehr will be compelled to re-examine their findings and re-award the contract to Haenel.
Despite the ongoing delay to the service rifle program, the Bundeswehr have recently announced the selection of the ELCAN Specter DR 1-4X optic to be used in conjunction with the future service rifle once it enters service. Leonardo Germany has been awarded the contract to supply over 100,000 of the new optics.