German Police Won’t Have To Destroy Their Haenel CR223 Rifles

    German Police Won't Have To Destroy Their Haenel CR223 Rifles

    German police departments who had previously selected Haenel’s CR223 won’t have to destroy their carbines following an earlier ruling by Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court in a patent infringement case. We initially reported on the court’s ruling late last year. Haenel have now released a statement explaining their position feeling that media reporting around the case has not been as nuanced as it should be, noting that “without question, this reporting has led to uncertainty among our customers.”

    Haenel Selection & Rejection @ TFB:

    The initial press release from Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court regarding the ruling raised questions around the carbines purchased by various German state police forces, including Saxony and Hamburg.
    Saxony alone reportedly spent 9.2 million Euros on procuring and training officers with the carbines since 2020. On 5 January, the Ministry of the Interior of Saxony tweeted to say that “the police did not have to destroy their service rifles or return them without replacement.”

    In their statement Haenel said:

    Most of the CR223 rifles currently in use are not affected by the ruling and are therefore in no need to be recalled. With a few exceptions, both the Saxony and Hamburg police forces use a CR223 model that was manufactured as of April 2018 and has an altered version of the recoil spring tube which does not have the said [HK patented drainage] holes that the [Düsseldorf Regional Court] LG and now the [Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court] OLG have ruled on.

    Haenel CR223 (Haenel)

    Haenel’s 5 January statement notes that in “February 2018, Heckler & Koch had issued a warning to our company for an alleged patent infringement by the then CR223 model. Up to that point, Haenel was not aware of Heckler & Koch’s asserted patent.” As a result of this Haenel say they investigated the potential infringement of a patent which included drainage holes in the recoil spring tube. As a result “to circumvent any possible patent disputes, Haenel immediately changed the design of the recoil spring tube of the CR223 to not have said holes for water drainage, as early as April 2018.”  

    Haenel state that this change was “communicated to Heckler & Koch” but no further action was taken until 2020. Haenel allege that the matter was “only raised again by Heckler & Koch after Haenel was awarded the tender for the new standard assault rifle of the German armed forces in September 2020.” They hold that the MK556 rifle which initially won the tender “was equipped with a different recoil spring tube (without
    holes). Additionally to this, the version of the CR223 model from February 2018 was no longer available by that time.”

    Haenel’s statement concludes by reaffirming that:

    the ruling only affects the version of the CR223 that was delivered before April 2018. The current CR223 model used by the police forces were manufactured after April 2018 (with few exceptions) with no patent infringement having been committed.

    This would suggest that post-April 2018 production Haenel rifles will pose no issues for the company or the weapon’s owners. It also remains to be seen if Haenel will appeal the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court’s decision at the Federal Court of Justice. This can only take place if a ‘non-admission complaint’ is lodged and the Federal Court of Justice deems it grounds for the appeal process to take place.

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]