In the patent dispute over assault rifles between the Thuringian company Haenel and its competitor Heckler & Koch from Baden-Württemberg, Saxony’s Ministry of the Interior has made it clear that a judgment by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court will have no consequences for the state police. “Contrary to claims, the police will neither destroy their service rifles nor return them without replacement,” said Interior Minister Armin Schuster (CDU) in Dresden. The Düsseldorf judgment obliges the supplier to recall commercial customers. But that doesn’t include the police. It remains operational.
Saxony’s chief of police, Jörg Kubissa, said in the face of rampant rumors that the police would not simply return weapons because of a legal dispute between two companies. “Of course, the police are still able to use such weapons in life-threatening situations,” said Kubissa of the FAZ. There is currently no doubt about that. “I have no appointment, no consideration, no intention of handing over the weapons to anyone anywhere.” Nor have anyone asked him to do so.
Two years ago, after a tender, Saxony’s police ordered 2,300 CR223 rifles and 400 training sets from Haenel at a price of 9.2 million euros. 2200 of them have already been delivered. The medium-range weapon was intended to replace the previously used Heckler & Koch MP5, as the police justified the purchase at the time because these current operational situations with a terrorist background were no longer suitable. The weapon is mainly used by special forces.
According to the judgment of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, however, Haenel infringed Heckler & Koch patent rights with this type of rifle, which is why it can no longer be manufactured and sold in Germany. Weapons that have already been delivered must be taken back and destroyed. Haenel, on the other hand, announced that it would not recall the weapons, which were also delivered to the police in Hamburg in addition to Saxony. As justification, the company explained that, with a few exceptions, these rifle types were not affected by the patent infringement.