Kalashnikov and the USA TFB Reader Fracsid and Steve ask: What is the relationship between Kalashnikov USA and Kalashnikov Concern?
The fact of the matter is that RWC company for several years has been the exclusive distributor of Kalashnikovs in the United States. After the imposition of sanctions the business of importing Russian-made weapons manufactured by the Concern was suspended. To date, because of the imposed sanctions, the company has no rights to continue to cooperate, and even to contact representatives of Kalashnikov Concern. These measures only cause regret and impact primarily American consumers. The contract with RWC signed in January 2014 for 5 years outlined delivery of up to 200,000 weapons per year. It is clear that RWC is interested in maintaining the US market share; that is why they filed an application for trademark registration. Previously, the company announced independent production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in the United States. It was also reported that they established a “Kalashnikov US” corporation. The decision to create “Kalashnikov US” and begin production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in the United States was made by RWC independently. There was no consulting between RWC and Kalashnikov Concern. For further action on the part of the Kalashnikov Group, including on the issue of similarity of the brand names, consultations are underway with lawyers and experts in the field of international law aimed at analyzing and monitoring the situation. The situation is complicated by the fact that the rights to produce Kalashnikov rifles were issued to a number of countries, including the United States, in the 1970s, and by the elapse of time they have lost their validity.
Since the 1990s the issue of protection of intellectual property and the trademark of Kalashnikov was not dealt with, and as the result, the brand found itself in a catastrophic situation from a legal point of view. At the moment, we have started the process of trademark protection, but it is a long process intertwined with numerous litigations. In the US, the trademark had not been registered, and due to the anti-Russian sanctions, the process of registration in the United States was suspended. It is worth noting that a similar situation exists around the American machine gun AR15, better known as M16, which is used as common stock by the US Army. The license to manufacture this rifle was issued to a number of countries, and despite the fact that it expired, it is still being produced in over 30 countries around the world. These issues are difficult to overcome, and one of the tools is the production of innovative products, which will be drastically different from competitors. Our company is already actively working on modernizing the line of produced weapons. Cooperation with RWC, as mentioned above, as well as any business negotiations are currently impossible due to the sanctions.
TFB Readers David & Gary ask: Does Kalashnikov Concern/ Kalashnikov USA plan on manufacturing the AK-12, PKM, Bizon or MP-446 Viking in the USA?
We are not planning it; due to the sanctions it is impossible. Although, if the sanctions were not the issue, it would be very relevant, since we know that many consumers in the US would be interested in such products. For example, in the new handgun, which Kalashnikov Concern is preparing to produce. In May, we will be able to reveal photos of our new product specially for The Firearm Blog.