Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by valnar, Dec 10, 2020.
Another example is the micro 380 and 9mm pistols from Kimber, Sig, and Springfield Armory. The Kimber Micro, Sig P938/238, and Spring field 911 are all copies of the original Colt with was a licensed copy of a Star pistol from Spain.
I’m not a legal expert, but I deal with patents and copyright in my work. The short version (and not 100% accurate but good enough for this discussion) is once a patent or copyright expires the work is then in the public domain.
To complicate matters, some things are done under government contract and the work is a public good aka owned by the people of the country.
So once a copyright or patent expires you’re free to build on the work or use it. Of course some exceptions apply so it’s always advisable to consult a legal expert.
But for the sake of this if you wanted to and had the skill, tools and materials, you could get a set of AR or 1911 plans and make your own. Again restrictions such as California or other state laws may apply, and federal laws may apply if yo7 plan to sell your work. But that’s by you have to do research and make damn sure your legal advisor knows the laws well.
Beretta 92, cloned by taurus
CZ75, cloned by Tangfoglio, IMI, many others, and now in the $300 range for some imports.
Glock, not really cloned, but you can buy a "glock" without a single glock factory part. There are many that copy the design concept and tweak it enough and make it look different. Glocks aren't widely cloned because they're boring, and cheap, and most glock like firearms cost as much or more. I hear PSA is making a true clone anyway.
10/22 have been, still are
Contrary to popular believe, most Soviet guns are not cheap to make. Slave labor, and 100% subsidy is why those designs were made.
D/A revolvers have never been cheap enough to make good enough to sell, though S/W has been heavily cloned legally and not.
PP/PPK's have been liscensed or copied by numerous makers.
Uzi's have been cloned by a few.
Where I'm going with this, to be copied the design needs to be famous enough to draw attention, like the PPK or Uzi, or unavailable.
If neither applies, your best chance is making a better quality clone at higher cost, like the Bergara 700's, or making a lower quality model at lower cost, which is difficult for makers that cant push their own design.
I know there are designs I didn't name, but can anyone name a well established model that's not cloned or still in patent protection?, other than crazy expensive designs like Lugers (although they are), or FAL's?
One notable oddity among the oft cloned firearms is the CZ-75, though even in its case its some funky patent stuff. The original Czech patent was classified as "secret." That meant nobody could learn of their existence and nobody could file the same design in Czechoslovakia, but it also meant they couldn't file for patents abroad. When the design inevitably leaked out, companies could basically clone it with impunity.
Had they gotten patents internationally at that time they still would have expired by now, but cloning of it started ALOT sooner for the above reasons.
That one is an interesting one as well. Taurus has their clone of the 92 because they bought Beretta's old factory in Brazil along with all the machinery, etc.. The patent had already expired on the original 92 design, but they were (maybe still are?) making their clone on the original Beretta machinery. I actually prefer the frame mounted safety of the PT-92 to the slide mounted one on the Beretta.
Jamison sued and won. Winchester was required to keep manufacturing both the rifles and ammo and pay Jamison a royalty for every rifle and box of ammo sold for a specific time frame. All other manufacturers had to pay the royalty too, but they weren't required to manufacture them. Prior to the suit there were a handful of rifles made by Ruger and Remington in the WSM cartridges. After the suit both Remington and Ruger stopped making rifles in the WSM chamberings. Ruger came out with the 300 RCM and 338 RCM and Remington their Short Action Ultra Magnums instead. These were different enough to not be a patent infringement.
People often wonder why so many short magnums were introduced at the same time. The lawsuit is why. The WSM's really are better designed, but no one other than Winchester, or Browning which was under the same ownership, wanted to pay the royalty. The only other manufacturer, that I'm aware of who did was Tikka.
The WSM's are really great cartridge designs, but the lawsuit really hurt the round getting off the ground. If they had been picked up by other manufacturers and ammo made by others the rounds might have had more success. I'm fairly certain the time frame for paying the royalty has expired by now
The AR-15 design is still the sole property of Colt's Manufacturing LLC, and technically require a license to produce. However, reverse-engineering (with assistance of the 1995 data breach by the Army and Navy) has made AR conforming parts widely available.
And a note -
Copyrights pertain to the exclusive right to make copies of a creative works such as literature, music, art, and software code. Copyrights do not apply to mechanical designs.
Patents pertain to inventions, new and hitherto unknown mechanical devises that are useful. And, just because a patent expires, it does not mean the actual drawings for an existing object are free to the public at large, just the use of the underlying principles. When Rollin White's patent for the bored-through revolver cylinder expired, it did not mean anyone could make a Smith & Wesson Model 2 revolver. It just meant that anyone could make a revolver with a cylinder bore completely through from front to rear with a hole approximately the size of the bore.
Just because Glock or Colt's patents have expired does not mean you get to use Glock or Colt's drawings to make stuff, but as long as the shape is not trademarked or covered by a separate design patent, you can reverse engineer a "clone".
The CZ-75 had the misfortune of being designed and made in a country that, due the the "iron-curtain" and other political complications, was unable to sue to enforce patent and licensing infringements. And, due the the lack of the IP owner attempting to enforce ownership the design passed into public domain. To put it bluntly, the Italians stole the drawings from the Czechs, and sold it on to others.
I don't know that any patent really existed on those anyway, most of the design dated to the P38, I think the lockup, trigger, and decock anyway. i think the only reason they aren't more cloned (didn't Wilson clone it? I know there was a company years ago making replacement receivers for them) is because Taurus is cheap, police trade in are cheap, and they aren't all that great to begin with. If not for 80's movies, I'm sure they would have never been too popular. If not for the US contract, I don't think they would be any more remembered than the S/W second gens.
absolutely. A shame too, these are fantastic and once very cheap. They do get the legacy if not the cash though.
Patents run out. Trademarks are good as long as they stay in use.
There is also "trade dress". Colt sued U.S. Pt F.A. Mfg. Co. for looking too much like a Colt SAA and they had to change their name and roll marks.
trademarks do not (as long as they remain in current use). That's why Uberti, for example, can make an SAA, but cannot slap the Colt name or the Colt logo on it.
It's possible to trademark certain features of a design, so that it's effectively impossible to copy the product as a whole. (There's a reason why patent lawyers are so well paid.)
(Jim Watson beat me to this while I was still writing it.)
Now with Glocks and the 80% clone frames. I asked Polymer 80 a few months back if they had any plans on making a G48, or any Gen5 compatible frames. Polymer 80 replied that they do not have any plans to do a Glock Gen 4/5 compatible frame anytime soon due to Glock patents. The Polymer 80 frames are different enough so that they do not infringe on trademarks.
Maybe somebody will put up the article in the clear.
Ghost-Gun Company Raided by Federal Agents
ATF suspects Polymer80 of breaking firearms laws, a sign that law enforcement is looking closer at makers of DIY gun kits
That misfortune went both ways. Communist countries had no problems infringing on western patents and trademarks, and there was nothing the owners could do about it. I remember all the knock-off Disney comics in Yugoslavia when I visited relatives in my youth.
Brownell's recently announced that they are not going to make any additional batches of their BRN-10 complete rifles.
They made only about 2000 in the initial run, and have been happy enough to sell all but a hundred or so.
There's always more talk about buying reproductions and/or clones than actual sales. This has been a major issue in recreating historical arms. Everyone wants one, just not at the price an accurate one would cost.
But, no point listening to me:
Separate names with a comma.