Berlin (dpa) – With regard to patent infringements, the Ministry of Defense has excluded Thuringian arms manufacturer CG Haenel from the award procedure for the Bundeswehr’s new assault rifle.
The ministry announced in Berlin on Tuesday that the decision was taken after assessing all submitted documents. “The company has already been informed about this. The intention now is to award the contract to the Heckler & Koch company, ”he said. A patent law evaluation has been carried out by an external patent law firm. “According to the experts, the result is a patent infringement,” the ministry writes.
Suhl-based Haenel had surprisingly prevailed in the bidding process for 120,000 weapons against traditional Oberndorf supplier Heckler & Koch, which also supplies the current G36 assault rifle. This should be discarded after a dispute over accuracy after a long series of shots or under the influence of heat. Haenel was awarded the contract because the weapon was comparably good, but considerably cheaper. The company is part of an Arab arms company.
The ministry is now citing references to patent infringements, as presented in expert reports late last year. This concerns the warehouse for Haenel’s coat of arms and special bores from which water that has penetrated can escape again (“over the beach”). According to information from the German news agency, there are two reports on both subjects in the Bundestag’s secret protection office, alleging infringement of patent law. However, there is a third expert opinion in which doubts are expressed as to whether the boreholes are patentable at all.
Criticism from the opposition arose at various times on Tuesday. FDP defense politician Alexander Müller was relieved that a decision had now been made. “The Heckler & Koch 416 model is certainly a good choice for the troops,” he said. Doctrine should always have the issue of patent infringement on the radar screen for future tenders. Now conflicts are looming for years.
“Anyone who knows the contents of the confidential patent reports will not be surprised by the decision of the Ministry of Defense. The fact that the former winner of the tender has now been excluded from the process shows how error-prone the process of purchasing a new assault rifle was, ”said Tobias Lindner, the green defense politician. It seems that the courts will eventually decide which assault rifle the troops will receive.
“The exclusion of the small company Haenel in view of the patent infringements and the grant of Heckler & Koch strengthens Heckler & Koch’s quasi-monopoly position in the German market,” warned left-wing defense politician Alexander Neu. It is doubtful whether a monopoly position on the price-quality ratio of the new assault rifle would lead to an advantage for the armed forces and the taxpayer. “Ultimately, the reason for replacing the current G36 assault rifle from Heckler & Koch was its inadequate quality. And it is precisely this company that wins the contract again, ”criticized Neu.