Reply To: Kral Fires Up Their Copy Machines
Copying this from another forum. Not trying to stir the pot, just giving another point of view. Maybe some food for thought.
“I am a patent lawyer. Not really trying to rebut OP, just pass along a little knowledge.
First of all, there is nothing copyrightable about an airgun except maybe its printed manual or instruction sheets, i.e. words, or any artwork appearing on the package.
Patents would be the most clearly appropriate form of protection for airguns or guns in general. But they must be applied for and applied for in each country in which the product is made or sold, if protection is desired in those countries. And there must be something novel and not obvious about the design, which is not a trivial standard.
Because most guns are an assembly of features known from other designs, it is not clear that all or even most of them are patentable.
There is something called a “design patent” that only protects the ornamental appearance of a product, not the way it works or functions. These can be problematic for utilitarian objects like guns because “functional features,” whose appearance is dictated by its function, are not protectable by design patent.
Without a patent, there is no protection and copying others’ designs is perfectly legal, if not moral. The whole patent system is premised on TEMPORARY protection: once the patent expires, others are free to copy what is disclosed in the patent and this is regarded as a societal benefit. Competition through copying lowers prices (see, for example, the Chinese copies of various airgun designs whose patents, if any, would be long expired). Similarly, if no patent is obtained in the first place, the design is legally freely copied.
So, TL;DR, if the manufacturers of the designs don’t hold patents, there isn’t anything legally wrong with what Kral has done here and no need for licenses.”